March 24, 2014

It's Just Different

My husband and I are avid hunters. Nothing better than a good shot that hits its mark. Better still is that we don't need licenses or a specific season to hunt. We just need our Nikons, our tripods, various lenses and filters. We've also found that it is nice, but not necessary, to go on our little expeditions with a large soda and a bag of Bold or Traditional Chex Mix (reduced sodium, dang it!).

We spent six hours hunting on Wednesday and a little more than six yesterday. Both days were hazy and though we know better, we headed out at noon. The middle of the day is the absolute worstest (yes, I know) time to take pictures.

The drives and hunts were filled with joy and bits of adventure. We had some great conversations, a moment of contentious debate, even snuck a kiss in...or two. The weather was about as perfect as it can get, except for the haze, that is! Where is the north wind when you need it, huh?

I even caught my husband checking me that little rust colored blouse with just the right amount of "hey, the girls are here!"

We drove through the mountains on the east side of the valley. Hit a couple of our favorite spots and discovered a couple more. At each spot we would get out of the car, focus, click, click, click.   I occasionally finish first and go back to the car to read or to write; nibble on a little Chex Mix. I might just find a warm rock or downed tree to sit and be still. He is more adventuress, often venturing up the side of a mountain or down into a draw. If he detects the slightest sound that there may be falling water nearby, it becomes his mission to discover it. He is an explorer at heart.

We parked at several points where the entire north valley could be seen. Mt. Shasta, the Trinity Alps, the Sisiyou Range, Castle Craggs, the coastal ranges, south past Red Bluff and north all the way to what could possibly be Mt Bachelor in Oregon. On a clear day the photos would knock your socks off. We didn't even take the cameras out of the car. It was hazy and we were lazy! We just sat, immersed in nature and daydreams.

Six hours of being in nature. Witnessing the wild flowers and new green of spring, the rolling hills, steep granite cliffs and acres and acres of volcanic rock. Some of the creeks were dry rock beds, some had water rushing or  shallow streams gently making way to lower ground.

For every half hour of just "being" we have about 5 minutes of focus and click. The experience fills your spirit with an unimaginable juiciness of life; a prodigious love (and lust) for nature. I want my Nikon to record every marvelous scene, so I take this shot and that shot and another one for good measure. Horizontal, vertical; hell, I'd take it up-side-down if it would help keep the moment alive long enough to share the fullness of it.

This morning, I sit at the computer, hunched over.  The photos I took are flat, lifeless. Our eyes have the depth of field.  The spectrum of colors we see are so wide compared to the limited colors one exposure, at one setting can record; even on a Nikon!

But it isn't just that the image I see on the screen doesn't share the scents with you. It doesn't gently brush your cheeks with a hint of a breeze. There are no birds singing, no cows braying nor the knock, knock, knock of the woodpeckers, in that two dimensional image.The grace of the hawks and buzzards soaring in the thermals just at the ridges' edge is missing. You can't feel the energy of the people and animals and elementals who have passed through the very spot the picture was taken. You can't smell the soil or feel the warmth of the rocks.

This morning I deleted so many pictures that were lifeless, shallow and, quite frankly, boring, because there was no life in them.  As I deleted them though, I remembered the day, felt the feelings, smelled the smells. My gratitude for sharing such a beautiful day with my husband, for living in such incredible beauty fills my cup.

I am also deliriously happy that digital photography is a reality. Can you imagine having to wait for a week to get prints only to be disappointed with the results?  Wait, if I had them printed, like in the "old days," I could stimulate the memories again and again and again!

Help! How do I recover deleted files?  What ever happened to film and negatives????


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