When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
When I am behind my camera, I see things that others miss. I feel new and young and inquisitive. My world is more interesting, with colors so vivid it is almost too much to bear, and I am able to focus on what really matters, the fine details of the bigger picture.
When I retired, I upgraded my little Nikon Coolpix to this bad boy, Nikon D3500. The 3500 came with one lens that was adequate and allowed me to snap pics from 17-55 feet, but as I got used to taking photos and our travels expanded, I soon “needed” a larger lens. (18-400)
On a trip to Mount Vernon, Virginia, the historic home of George and Martha Washington, I found myself enthralled with the immaculate grounds, gardens, and the Potomac River. You can actually sit in rocking chairs on the back porch and just stare at the beautiful trees, river, and horizon. There are probably 40 plus rocking chairs set up just for visitors.
By now, Boo knows nothing means more to me on vacation than taking photos. He lets me wander and stop to snap as much as I want. Sometimes he will call out worthy subjects and point to interesting sights, as he did at Mount Vernon.
“Babe, look at the cool bird sitting on top of that huge magnolia tree.”
I love photographing trees and as I was snapping away, I felt something behind me as two rather ‘weathered’ ladies tiptoed up, whispering, “We saw it too. You’ve got quite an eye.”
I turned smiling, “Thank you. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”
“Have you seen one before?” they asked, still whispering.
“Oh sure, lots of times. We have them in Texas.” I whispered back.
“Ohhhhhh my, that’s rare. They are usually only seen in this region. Do you use a journal or keep track online?” One lady asked.
And that is when I realized that they thought I was a Birder. Before I had to admit I was talking about the tree, the bird flew off and two more with it that had been hiding in the tree.
Impressively, I snapped photo after photo of the birds in flight and was able to follow the birds across the sky, all the while not having a clue as to what kind of birds they were.
The ladies stopped and burst into an applause. Then waved fondly as they moved on down the path.
“Good luck!” they called.
There is something about a large camera that makes people think you must be taking important photos and you must know what you are doing. On my first ever trip to Mardi Gras, I went with my Sittn’ Ugly Sistah, Ginger, to her parents’ home in Eunice, Louisiana. Our friends, Mary and Cynthia went too and the three of them really schooled me as to Mardi Gras etiquette. Once we got to downtown Eunice, I was behind my camera soaking up the colors, sights, and action.
People would stop and ask, “Will you take our picture?” They never seemed to worry about seeing the picture or wondering where it would go, they just wanted to be photographed. Couples would dance by on the street and pose, waiting for me to snap. I gladly obliged. I could almost hear the band and smell the gumbo through my lens.
I love photographing pets, and I could make a large coffee table book just on the pictures I have of our cat. She’s very photogenic, if I do say so myself, and she is a subject that never gets old.
On a beach trip to Galveston, Boo broke speed limits and raced against time to get me to ‘the best place in Galveston to capture a sunset.’ He googled the location and even carried my tripod, while helping me out onto the pier. In Maine, he carried my camera backpack all the way on our three-mile hike around the pond.
In Glacier National Park, he sprinted through the rain with my camera under his shirt just to make sure the camera stayed dry. At family gatherings, he’s constantly asking, “Did you get that?” He’s happy to see me happy taking pictures. Even Uncle B, Boo’s brother, is supportive. He gave me his tripod and is always sending me photos he knows I would appreciate.
When your heart jumps every time your camera locks focus- You’ve become a photographer.
My heart jumps when I photograph my grandkids. In fact, my favorite subjects are the people I love. My second favorite is nature. Any raindrop, insect, flower, tree, or animal; all gardens, mountains, oceans, and clouds. My mind actually sees things within a frame. It’s as if my vision is a camera lens.
Most of my photography is what the professionals call a “happy accident.” I accidently get a beautiful shot and I’m not sure how it happened. I’ve taken classes, yet sometimes I feel intimidated by people with seemingly more knowledge, bigger vocabularies, and fancier equipment. But, as with writing, there are a lot of people who talk about it, think about it and plan to do it, and there are those of us who do. I’m taking a chance, embracing imperfection and enjoying my photography more than I could ever explain. It simply fills my soul, and that’s all I need to know.