Yesterday Kevin and I joined our Wood Buffalo Photography Club for an outing. Even when you have no idea what to expect there is always something fun to photograph. Keep your eyes wide open and mind alert and there's lots of things to shoot. Look around for the things that speak to you and try a shot - take a moment to look beyond the obvious. In my case, I'm always scanning the tiny details of the world around me, like a photographic "Where's Waldo?" Hunting for a great photo opportunity can be a fantastic thrill!
Have you watched "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"? I think it has to be my favourite movie of all time. Things inspire me, resonate with me, and speak to me all the time, but this film has really stayed with me. There's a thought-provoking scene where an exceptional photography opportunity is intentionally passed up so that the moment can be truly savoured and enjoyed.
There are many times inside the mind of a photographer where you see this epic shot but you don't have the right gear (or any equipment at all) and you feel this pang of regret over a missed opportunity. But my philosophy has long been that not every moment is meant to be photographed and the camera can, at times, be a distraction from the life/moments/beauty before us. And in those moments where I am kicking myself for not being ready to photograph anything at any given moment, I take a deep breath and a mental picture, drinking in the perfection of the moment. It's an interesting juxtaposition of seizing and savouring moments and opportunities - and I loved watching that unfold in this film, letting it affirm my own philosophies.
Today I went on an unplanned adventure. The plan started as an outdoor run, which turned into an impromptu bike ride through our fantastic trails, with no plan except to sweat. I packed bear spray and a water bottle but that's it. Almost immediately I began to think about all the things I should have considered bringing - bug spray, more water, a snack...and a camera. I considered turning around but knew that it wasn't the time for photographs (but a sandwich would have been nice).
This rain and humidity has made our great outdoors lush and alive with activity. The trails are lined with wild rose bushes bursting with pink blooms, a forest floor blanketed with white flowered bunchberries, delicious smelling clover, dainty bluebells, towering yellow dandelions and white daisies, trumpeted red and orange honeysuckle, and a myriad of other blooming delights! I rode along to hear the loud, triumphant songs of sparrows, chickadees, and sapsuckers - and I interrupted more than one magpie convention. Butterflies fluttered and bugs of all sorts went whizzing by. I had the misfortune of one fly firmly attaching itself to the back of my throat, not to be convinced to be swallowed nor expelled but the derailment was only temporary and I continued on in my exploration, zooming past bizarre mushrooms and the predictable dumps of poplar fluff. Beautiful, intriguing, and peculiar sights to photograph - just not today.
I am convinced that those who live in harsh winter climates have a special appreciation for spring --- (ahem, when it finally arrives.) We get tiny glimpses, little teases, bizarre blips and chaotic flip-flops in our weather before the season truly changes. I have learned, in my photographic journey, to roll with the wacky weather and certainly not to expect an inspiring moment to repeat itself. I have had one too many experiences where I told myself that I'd get the same scene tomorrow only to discover that the moment was a once in a lifetime moment. This isn't to say that every special moment should be photographed but it most definitely should be savoured.
Each spring, I patiently investigate my flower beds for signs of reemergence - for the hopeful sight of buds on branches and growth breaking through the ground. I look forward to the moment when the buds turn into blooms on my tree so I can breathe in its intoxicating fragrance. Ah, patience.
Last week the blooms presented themselves - a little late this year but appreciated all the more - on a gorgeous day, ending with the most delicious evening light. Moments to be savoured - and photographed.