Secret Muse

When my scheduled Friday experimental shoot with Jax got cancelled, I sat there at a loss for a while and wondered what to do. I had been looking forward to my Friday evening up to that point and suddenly now I stared into an emptiness.

It was a gorgeous day outside, albeit a little chilly for Florida, so I was very reluctant to just let it go to waste and sit down to a movie or something.

Morgan agreed to take over the evening cat duties and I grabbed a couple of cameras and headed to Cypress Point on Tampa Bay. It’s about an hour drive on a Friday evening at this time, but I didn’t mind. The skies looked promising and stunningly clear blue stretched in all directions.

The sun was still pretty high in the sky as I got there, and so I relaxed with a milk shake for a few moments before heading onto the beach.

I had brought my A7 with the 11mm lens attached to it and I also brought my A77 with the 300mm lens on it; so I was ready for both wide and zoom shots as the situation arose.

The A77 is the crop sensor and now that I have the full frame A7, it has barely seen the light of day. It does take a great picture, but my bias has already shifted to the exceptional clarity of the A7. But as you’ll see in the eventual images below, it does take a pretty good shot and deserves its place in my arsenal.

I wandered along the beach waiting for the sun to to drop, passing by people with cameras, children in the water, pretty ladies sun bathing, and studly guys sucking it in for all they were worth.

I had the A7 on a tripod and the A77 in my hand. So I looked every bit the professional. Someone commented to me as I was taking a shot in zoom about what a fabulous camera I had and after I thanked him, I smiled on the inside with the knowledge that the one on the tripod was worth twice as much.

Zoom lenses certainly impress people … size matters. Actually I recalled the last time at Circle B when I went out with the 500mm and the number of people that made wonderful comments to me about my set up. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot get a decent shot with that lens. But hey, if I am ever just going out to impress the ladies, I will be wiping the dust off that big boy.

Anyway, last night at Cypress Point, I found myself taking a lot of people shots with the zoom. There is a wonderful anonymity of stealing a shot from someone when they don’t know. I know that sounds a bit paparazzi-like, but the real advantage is that you are shooting people doing totally casual things. Not a pose in sight.

I must admit though that in many instances I felt like a creep. There are several tutorials on YouTube about shooting in public like that and how to discipline yourself past the “creep” factor. But, so far I haven’t been able to master that one.

There was one young lady in particular that caught the attention of my lens and I took a lot of shots of her, using her as a prop against the falling sun. She was certainly very pretty but it was her demeanor that really caught my attention camera-wise. She seemed pensive. She was alone and just staring off into the sun and I imagined a sadness on her, right or wrong.

Most of the shots of her were taken from behind as it gave me the chance to try to outline her head and face with the rays of the sun. That and the sun glasses perched atop her head, gave me lots to work with.

Anyway I have added some of these, along with some neat shots from the wider lensed A7, here at the end of the blog. I hope you enjoy.

In retrospect, I was annoyed at myself as I drove home for not having approached her and offered to email her some of what I got. I felt she would probably like them.

But a combination of my own insecurity and the possibility of freaking her out to where she felt she was being stalked, stopped me from doing so. I think if she was with someone, I would probably have made the approach but it wasn’t to be.

As I drove home, my mind wandered on to how she had unwittingly become my muse for the evening. Her posture, her solitariness, her profile, and even her glasses … they all worked together to give me idea after idea.

And I had a blast.

So I began to think about incidental paths that occasionally cross and how they can affect others without us even knowing. She had certainly spun mine in a positive direction, whereas I had no impact on her experience at all.

Humans are a highly social animal and one-sided interactions such as this, can be fully absorbed by one person and become one of their life’s experiences.

It is why people can develop a crush on someone without that other person ever knowing. It is why we can cause offense to someone without ever targeting them. And it is why we can unknowingly put off a vibe to someone that makes them think we have no time for them or even dislike them.

Many of these conditions are experienced in one-sided exchanges and the impact can not just be significant but it can be life-altering.

I remember twenty years after university meeting a lady again for the first time since, where she confessed to me that she waited for me to make the first move those years ago, but I never did.

For my part, I hadn’t the slightest inkling of her interest and harbored a secret crush of my own on her. And so both of us left our words unspoken and time took us on separate journeys.

I also had the experience of someone coming up to me a number of years back telling me how a simple conversation of mine had transformed their life and made them abandon a destructive path they were on and they had now found their calling. Yet, for the life of me I can’t even recall what I said.

So, saying something or not saying something, can have equally profound ripples in the lives of others.

(Now that I have written those words, I am more annoyed at my silence last night.)

In any event, the point that I am really trying to make with this blog is that everything we do (or don’t do) in life has an effect on others. While we cannot obviously be on top of each and every interaction that we have, being a bull in a china shop is also not the right approach.

We humans don’t function well in solitary mode. It is why solitary confinement is one of the most egregious punishments we inflict on prisoners.

As John McCain wrote “the most important thing for survival is communication with someone, even if it’s only a wave or a wink, or to have a guy put his thumb up. It makes all the difference”. Note how he doesn’t refer to words expressed!

We need to understand that we communicate to those we come into contact with in many other ways besides words. And when we communicate to people it can create a change in their life’s path or even our own.

So being conscious of smiling or frowning at people is an important step in self-awareness.

Many of us carry perpetual frowns from whatever stresses are going on around us and then these are read by others as anger, unapproachability, or upset. And they leave us alone because of what we have inadvertently communicated.

At the same time we can’t go around smiling at everyone all the time. Apart from the possibility that the men in white coats will come along and lock you up, there is also the possibility that some weird old guy with a camera will hit you up for your email address.

It is all about balance.

… just a thought!