Capturing the extraordinary in the ordinary

The pandemic drove Tammy Page on a journey of discovery through Montgomery County

Photo by Tammy Page

Photography by Tammy Page

When the pandemic upended routines and expectations, Tammy Page grabbed her camera and began to capture the bustling lives of those unaffected by stay-at-home mandates: Montgomery County wildlife.

“I needed an outlet, so I took my camera out and I started walking a lot,” said Page. “Photography has been the perfect outlet.”

Months before, she had shoved her camera back in the box in frustration when her attempt at photography failed. Now, Page spent hours every day trekking the paths of Montgomery County. And she enjoyed it.

As a self-described “analog girl in a digital world,” it took a friend explaining to her the basics of digital camera basics before things with her Panasonic Lumix mirrorless camera to click.

Often choosing her walking times based on the sun’s position in the sky, Page captured moments that might otherwise flash by in the blink of an unnoticing eye.

When she witnesses something spectacular — like a blue heron about to swallow a freshly caught fish — Page, despite her amazement, has to act quickly. “Sometimes I’m so caught in the moment, I almost forget how to translate it into an image.”

One of her favorite parts about photography is the essence of life that comes across in the picture, such as the blue heron’s cloud of breath created as its body heat contrasted with the brisk morning air. “[The heron] is another living thing. We see our [human] breath, but not the breath of an animal,” she said, pointing out the extraordinary in the ordinary occurrence.

Every image that Page captures is as amazing as it looks: “These are unedited shots,” she said. “Where my heart holds photography is, this is my capture of that moment. I try to get everything right. Some of it’s luck and some of it’s magic and some of it is a little bit of patience in taking more than one photo.”

Photography was both a joy and refuge for Page during the pandemic. Finding her creativity and having a healthy outlet amid the lockdowns and isolation was important, she said. One of Page’s favorite parts of her photography is the discovery of nature’s simple moments that she might have overlooked before. “There’s all this amazing stuff that people don’t take the moment to tune in and see.”

Page said people sometimes ask if her photographs are actually taken in Montgomery County parks because they’ve never noticed the wildlife there before. “So many people are into their phones they don’t open their senses.” However, all of her photographs are taken in the county, with many taken at Lake Whetstone in Montgomery Village.

Overall, Page is grateful for the new perspective photography has given her.

“It made me look at places I had always known in a different view, and I discovered new places in Montgomery County and Maryland for the first time,” Page said. “COVID and a camera made me discover the small moments.”





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