It was a beautiful late evening and with everyone fed and safely locked in the office/studio, I faced a stark choice for the subsequent hours.
The lazy person in me looked longingly at the sofa and the remote resting on the arm rest and thought about the next couple of episodes of true crime documentary that lay waiting for me. They would present an excellent way to pass the hours to where we could apply the ointment into Fluffy’s eye for the night and then hop off to bed.
But the camera guy in me, looked beyond the remote to the nearby table where my A7 sat waiting from earlier in the day. Wandering around the yard earlier had given me some lovely cat pics and of course the cardinal taking off at the end of the wander.
On another day, the sofa would have won, but I grabbed the camera, checked that I had left the SD card in it and then gave a quick check on the battery level.
Moments later I was in the car, pulling off my driveway and heading to the eastern shore of Lake Parker to watch the sun go down. There was no time pressure, as I was early and so red or green lights along the way mattered not.
By the time I pulled in near the fishing pier, the sun was still pretty high in the sky and I was in a chilled mood. I stepped out of the car and just breathed in the moment. Surely this was living. I felt alive and happy to be so.
As I reached the end of the pier, I had greeted a couple of fisher men and we all agreed how lovely a moment it was. I began to shoot, noticing firstly the shadows cast across the skies by some low lying clouds as the sun made its decline.
But by the time I had finished 45 minutes later, my head was pounding from a headache. Not just a random headache, but one brought on by my willfully staring into the sun for such a prolonged period of time.
I commented to the same guys how I had completely burned the eyes out of my head and they laughed in agreement that it wasn’t such a wise thing to have done. Adding to the feeling of absent wisdom was that I had essentially been pointing the lens of the camera at the sun too for the same period and the user manual must have at least ten references within it that doing so will likely cause damage to the sensor.
The camera was ok. And over time, my eyes rec0vered too. A drive home and a couple of ibuprofen and by the time I went to bed, I was right as rain.
The images at the end of the blog show the lovely progression from blue to yellow to gold to orange and red and I hope you like them. Moorhens, alligators, herons, and osprey played their part in making it an evening to remember. Enjoy!
As I sat on the sofa later, I began to think about what drove me to disobey all the rules and throw caution to the wind. Clearly my passion for trying to get the shot over-rode any degree of common sense that is left in this old brain.
This same abandonment of sense has brought me within a few feet of huge alligators, slip-sliding on wet rocks, balancing expensive equipment and props perilously over water, and risking arrest in places I have been or things I have been shooting.
But not once have any of these stopped me. Within a week of breaking my wrist on the rocks, I was back out again shooting. Sore, yes. But still carrying and lifting, holding, and catching … all in the name of getting a photograph or two.
We each have moments when we moan and lick our wounds. Moments when we gently rub the bruises and apply soothing creams.
But we also have moments when temporary disabilities and concerns vanish and we focus on something that is at hand. Something that demands our focus and drives us forward.
In my mind, this is the higher power within us. A power we each have that allows us to extend ourselves beyond what might feel like a limit and helps us achieve our goals.
When we team up our higher power with a general disregard for rules and limits, we can achieve almost anything.
We step out of the box that society wants to keep us in and shake off the shackles of common sense.
Common sense and following the rules will ultimately lead us through a life that is common and obedient.
An exceptional life happens only when we allow our higher power to over-rule the guidelines and steers our aim towards the exceptional.
Yes, occasionally we will fail, regardless. We will get that headache and still not get the shot.
I can’t even count my failures in life. There have been so many. And I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have sailed too close to the wind and ended up only with a shaking head at my own stupidity or recklessness.
And yes, maybe there will come a time when that 15 foot alligator at Circle B will take me for breakfast while I am trying to get that perfect angle.
But you know what? Fuck the rules. The shot is worth it.
… just a thought!