What a good time I had the last few days, getting up bright and early then
running off to watch the sunrise. After the busyness of Christmas and the
New Year, it was rejuvenating to take a break...that is if you love the brisk
cold, winter mornings and taking pictures. Mostly, I practice with my
camera and learn new techniques. Just when I figure out how to do
something, another variable perplexes my mind and offers me a challenge.
(Reminder to anyone out there who loves doing the craft of photography:
the picture is the end result but getting there is the fun part. If you are enjoying it don’t get discouraged, just keep diving in.)
As I drove this morning over to an ionic Lighthouse to take pictures at dawn, I
grew excited traveling across a local bridge and seeing the beauty of the sky.
When I arrived well before daybreak, I noticed a slew of cars and a half
dozen photographers who seemed to have their territories staked out. Each of
them had all their gear, tripods, filters, and mega cameras. For this
photographer there was a momentary hesitation as I pulled my bootstraps up
and jumped out of our Jeep. Honestly, not since I watched the Westminster
dog show on TV, or attended the Red Sox baseball game, have I seen equipment
like that all in one place. I was a bit intimidated. It’s only been a few months
since I’ve grown comfortable with using a tripod regularly and shooting 99% of
the time in manual. That’s a lot of progress and I was about to show it off.
Not that fast, though. These men were hunkered down in the best locations at
the Lighthouse, and they were not about to be giving up any space for me.
If you have read any of my other blogs you would know that I am not a
feminist or a man basher. I rather enjoy being treated like a lady, but I am
not above a good challenge or hard work. I like to have an impact in whatever I
do. That’s just my personality. Over the past years I have somewhat sorted
out which medium I enjoy in photographing. I am not a "people" photographer
but I love landscape, wildlife and gritty streets. I am an outdoors-woman. That
said, I hardly ever see other women doing what I do, only the gentlemen.
This past summer I would camp out for literally hours, watching an osprey
nest. I would go for whatever spare time I could... I even built a small area
under a tree to protect myself from the sun. My “gone fishing” summer with
birds was pure delight. Every time a bird soared into the sky I thought my
own soul would jump out of my body, heaven bound. One evening as I was
standing near the ocean with my camera, watching, and waiting for the
juvenile birds feeding time, I heard a sound nearby. As I looked, a man and
woman approached with their cameras. He had the biggest camera I think I’ve
ever seen, hers was quite impressive too. They had them mounted on tripods
and both of these strangers even dressed their cameras in camouflage. Pretty
cool! Mine was held in my hands as I leaned over the water balancing
myself...it was also set to auto, as I was clueless about manual, then.
We struck up a conversation as the man helped the woman, showing her how
to adjust her speed and f-stop. I gathered he was a kind photographer mentor.
I suggested they move closer to where I was to get better pictures. I jokingly
said, “are you from National Geographic?" and she said he was. No way! She
then repeated herself assuring me that he was with National Geographic. We
talked about their travels that day and the other wildlife they had seen. They
introduced themselves but I didn’t catch their names. He did offer me his
business card, which I declined, saying to him, “God Bless, you are so
trusting.” I didn't really get it... really, National Geographic? I went home that
night and looked up all of their photographers: the one whose picture resembled
this man was named Steve McCurry, but I am not sure if it was or wasn't
I would love to see the pictures they shot that day!
So back to my original thoughts…Today the high ground at the Lighthouse was
all taken by the “big dogs”, their prime property claimed. I moved down to the
beach low ground, near the rocks and water. They were somewhat in my line
of view and I had to adjust my lens to keep them out of the frame. I had fun
playing with motion and space. I was able to watch them from my vantage
point. I saw their very serious endeavors to catch “the best” photograph EVER!
When I was done I waved to a woman who stood near the path I was on.
She wasn’t all geared up but she’d been enchanted by the sunrise and had a
handheld camera. I then moved up to where “the guys” were. One
elderly gentleman (with a Patriots hat on) smiled at me as we began
conversing. I asked about his lens filters and fancy equipment. He was sweet and
shared generously. The others moved to and fro, as though it was not a
common morning sunrise but “their” sunrise.
I found myself needing to check my own ego, throw it out into the ocean and
thank the good Lord above for another beautiful day and for His gift of wonder.