Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Moments Captured, Part One

"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." (Eudora Welty)

As you know, writing is a love of mine; a passion I look forward to pursuing more after I've retired.  But there's another artistic avenue that I've also had a love for - taking photographs.  All of my adult life I've enjoyed  snapping pictures while on my "adventures" (big or small) or when I was with family or friends.  Even though I never owned a really nice camera, I always managed to take some memorable pictures.  And when I was single, those pictures became my "companions".  I filled dozens of albums with them; my apartment walls were covered with them.  I think they helped me feel less lonely when I was alone.

Now I'm no longer alone.  I did buy a nicer camera a couple years ago.  And now I don't take photos as often!  Silly!  So today I thought I'd rekindle the photographer's passion in me by sharing some of my most favorite pictures.  These are all pictures I've taken which have a special appeal to me:  both for the subject, as well as the nature of the picture itself.  Today I'll share photos of people; tomorrow of places.

"My portraits are more about me than they are the people I photograph." (Richard Avedon)

I wonder what these pictures will reveal about me? I hope you enjoy!

My Six Favorite Photos - People

Doug P. fishing at Rock Creek (1999)
  • I took this photo while on a summer fishing trip with my friend Doug Potter.  Doug did his best to try to turn me into a fly fisherman (I mostly just hooked myself, or lost the fly).  But I did enjoy being the trip "photographer".  Doug took me to some beautiful places, like Rock Creek in western Montana.  I love this picture because I captured both the beauty of the place, and the graceful action in the movement of the line as Doug cast it.  I can hear the ripple of the water over the rocks
Izzy in the Springtime - April 2009

  • My favorite picture of our little chihuahua Izzy.  We were out working in the yard and she came out to "help".  She jumped into the middle of the ground cover, circled three times, and them plopped down like a princess in the middle of it all!  I love the colors in this photo, and it captures Izzy's personality perfectly.  She's always happiest when she's "included", and part of "the gang"

My playful wife - Thanksgiving 2010

  • This is one of my favorite pictures of my wife.  She'll ALWAYS be "the prettiest girl in the room" to me, and you can see why in this picture.  It was a sunny fall day and I just took her outside to take pictures of her.  She was my "model" that day, and I was the "paparazzi".  I love the colors and textures of the leaves in the background.  But most of all, I love the playful look in her beautiful eyes.  The picture captures her saucy, sexy personality vividly!  "A picture's worth a 1000 words"?  This one sums up in a nutshell why I fell head over heels in love with her!

"Fun in the Sun" - ZFL boys (1998)

  • This picture is proof positive that sometimes great photographs are just serendipitous ("happy accidents").  I took this at the Oregon coast when me and some long time friends were there for our fantasy football draft (I was the "Commissar" of the Zonker Football League for a long, long time.  Kept me "busy" in my bachelor days!).  After the draft, we all went down to the ocean to wade in the water, and I snapped this photo of my friends Larry, Doug, and Steve J. as they sunned and laughed.  The angle of the sun turned this into a striking silhoutte, and the gleam off the ocean waves is stunning!  Even though you can't see their faces, you can see details of each guy that remind me of their individual personalities!

My five sisters - Thanksgiving 1999
  • Of all the pictures I've taken at family gatherings, this is my favorite.  My family doesn't always get together on Thanksgiving, but we had in 1999.  My sister Mary (the one in the middle) had come back to Oregon for the holidays (they were living in Alice Springs, Australia at the time) and so we were all together:  cooking, eating, laughing loudly, and enjoying each other's company.  I love the picture because it captured all five sisters smiling happily - a nice sight!

My Valentine (2010)

  • A 2nd photo of my wife (I know she probably will shake her head and say "Why two pictures of me? You're crazy!"  And I'll say..."Yes, I am...about you!").  This photo is the one I've blown up and have in my bedroom and see most often.  I took it on Valentine's Day morning.  We were enjoying a getaway at the Weasku Inn along the Rogue River.  We had gotten up and gone for a walk along the river's bank and when we returned to our cabin, I turned and snapped this picture.  The look on her face has enchanted me ever since.  So much is expressed in it:  A tiny bit of exasperation?  Yet patience too.  Playfulness?  Yet also a calm grace and stillness.  Look at her eyes.  Am I "taking a picture" of her?  Or her of me?  And look at how the trees, and her head, both lean at the same natural angle...how the light glows around her head.  A perfect picture!
"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs." (Ansel Adams)

So, as I look back at these photos, what have I learned?

I guess the simple lesson is that our eyes and our heart seek out what we love.  That in each of these pictures I don't remember "thinking" about how to "capture" that moment.  But somehow a part of me connected with what was beautiful there in it.  And in the willingness to be open to it, and guided by something other than me, was given a great gift.

It doesn't take a fancy camera to take a great picture.

All it takes is Love.

(And remembering to turn your camera on!)

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