It wasn’t until I quit the restaurant business, back in the Jurassic period, that I realized I was a morning person. I love to wake just before dawn and watch the golden orange light slide down the trees and across the grass. Listen to the birds wake and begin to sing, one species at a time. Maybe see a deer or an otter. I like to have a great cup of coffee, observe and listen. Mornings are when my mind is calm and most alert. It’s also a time of gratitude.
It’s also perfect for photography. Dawn and dusk have the best light. Colors are warmer and softer. Shadows are dramatic. And wildlife is most active. Even if it’s a cloudy or rainy day, keeping a camera handy is a must. I never know when a photo opportunity may present itself. Clouds are great for shooting water, flowers and portraits. Mist, fog and rain give an ethereal, painted quality to shots. Clouds and dampness can bring out color. Even in winter – the air is clear and snow is beautiful.
In the Roadtrek, I carry as much camera gear as I like, such as a macro lens for the miniscule and for portraits, a wide angle for sweeping vistas (also good for close up shots, believe it or not), a telephoto and an all manner of attachments and tripods. I bring two camera bodies, plus a point and shoot camera. I also have my iPhone just in case. Of course, I don’t carry all of that on a hike, I have to choose each time I go out, but often, I carry a pack with an extra camera and lenses. And I always have my binoculars.
A good photo doesn’t necessarily happen because of the most expensive equipment, but because of the eye of the person behind the lens. I have seen amazing photos taken with 3 megapixel camera phones. I’m not a professional photographer; I only started shooting a few years ago and I take pictures purely for my own pleasure. However, I have taken photography classes and my background is in art (hence the career in restaurant management and then sales).
I do show once in a while and feel very blessed if a viewer gets a hint of how I felt. It’s about sharing a moment.
If I go out at the right time, with a camera and a basic knowledge of composition, and if I am observant- there is a good chance I will get a nice shot, no matter what type of camera or gear I have. Occasionally, I have been in such incredibly photogenic spots, that I think a monkey could take an award winner.
This week, I’m camped at Grand Isle State Park out in the barrier islands of Louisiana. It’s mid February and the weather is lovely. Warm days and cool nights. I’ve woken before dawn, yesterday at 3:30 a.m., which is way too early, even for me.
I am alone, it’s quiet and I don’t understand why no one else would want to witness this special time, but I’m glad of it. This is the kind of place that fills my soul and heart. I feel visceral senses of wonder, joy and unity about the world around me, and a powerful emotional thankfulness.
These feelings are something I can’t capture, because a photo is only a two dimensional visual. I don’t have the smell of the ocean, the breeze on my skin, the sounds of surf and birds, or the warmth of the morning sun. But when I look at my picture, back at home, when I’ve had a less than stellar day, I can remember. And feel grateful again.