“I should have stopped it down”, was the first thought that ran through my head when I woke up this morning. No, it wasn’t a reaction to my dreams, but to my activity last night before I went to bed. Last night there was a full moon, the first clear one since I got my new camera, so I set up my gear on my front walk and took unsuccessful pictures of the moon. I knew I could not get the same results I get with the digital super zoom on my older camera, but I thought I could surely get something better than the pictures of the glowing sphere or white dot I ended up capturing. If I had stopped down the aperture I would have had different results.
This morning’s “Eureka!” moment drives home the fear I’ve had lately that there is something wrong with me. I think I have been infected with an idiopathic bug that has infiltrated my brain instilling mind control. I no longer see things in fluid motion, but in short still-frames governed by the rule of thirds. I came to this realization last night around dusk as I exited the interstate near Hattiesburg’s convention center and saw the full-moon framed perfectly over a grouping of huge American flags flapping in the breeze. *click* I had no camera nor free hands so I took pictures with my mind, taking note of each vantage point as I passed. *click* *click* *click*
I should have realized my illness on a recent birthday trip to New Orleans. Standing outside of the Hotel Monteleone and looking in at the fashionable people sitting around the carousel bar I suddenly went colorblind and could only see in monochrome. *click* Men and women holding wine glasses were veiled in low light emitted from the incandescent bulbs of the carousel and framed in the tall arched windows of the historic hotel. *click*
My vision then changed to black and white as I watched a horse and buggy emerge from dense fog, backlit by the headlights of the car behind it. *click* The driver was wearing a tall hat and holding a whip, all silhouetted against the fog. *click*
And last night, after taking too many overexposed pictures of the moon, I dreamed I was framing shots of whatever it was I was dreaming about. So when I woke up this morning it is understandable my first thought was of an f/stop.
In the photojournalism class I took in college I learned the technical aspects of apertures and shutter speeds, but that was a lifetime ago. It’s hard for me to remember what I wore to work on Monday, let alone technical jargon I don’t use every day. So I’ve been studying. I’ve been reading and asking questions. Me! I don’t study. I rarely even read directions, and now I find myself doing research on how to take pictures in adverse light and adjusting white balance. This is crazy talk.
I would feel differently if it were something I really wanted to do, but I am not a photographer nor do I care to be one. My oldest friend and travelling partner IS a photographer. She knows how to capture essence. I know how to take snapshots. She can pull out the soul of her subject and put it on display for all to see. I can take pictures of birds. She can put a RAW file through Adobe Lightroom and come out with a 24” x 36” canvas suitable for framing. I can adjust saturation and brightness in Windows. So why am I wasting my time?
Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like it is a waste of time, and trust me I know how to waste time. The logged time on my Sudoku app reminds me daily of how much time I am capable of wasting. If I’m studying lenses and light at least I am studying. Sitting in my backyard with my camera aimed at the bird feeder and a shutter release cable in my hand has to be better than lying on my couch watching QVC. And cheaper.
It is not my intention to make a career out of photography; that is not something I even have a desire to do. However, anytime I can learn to do something new and do it to my own personal satisfaction I am one step closer to living a contented life. And that has to be a good thing for everyone around me.