We have a saying around our house, ‘no news is good news’. Probably, you have used it too. We say it to reassure ourselves that when things are quiet, it is preferable to the bad news one so often receives. In recent months we’ve had quite a few bits of sad news, involving serious illness or death among family and friends. I tell you that so that you will know that my writing today is not so much written in response to events, but with an appreciation of their absence!
Deep, collective sigh of relief. Thank you.
In between the mundane, everyday events unfolding, I’ve noticed that the photography challenge has filled substantial space in my small amount of spare energy. I didn’t really know what to expect from the exercise. Only 60 days into it, I’ve already been very surprised a couple of times at opportunities and outcomes.
At the moment of taking a photo, I’m never completely confident that I’ve ‘got it’, though sometimes I am reasonably certain. Later, in the relaxed scrutiny of the shots, I decide…most are not quite there; misplaced focus, perspective could have been better, missed the right light, didn’t frame things very well. So much can, and does, go wrong.
I am an amateur and I have an iPhone as a camera, what can I expect?
But that would not be the most helpful perspective. I have a camera and a brain and the will to seek, so, what can I expect? Certainly not any of the very best photos that happened this week! I ventured out each day inviting the magic to happen, and having faith in my skills that I could handle it. But this week was as if I had an invisible, omnipotent assistant helping me in ways I still cannot fathom.
Early in the week, I had a technical breakthrough with regard to manual focus. I had been struggling for nearly a year with certain lighting situations and upon reviewing my technique, I discovered a tiny, but vital, error.
What a great life lesson, eh? When things aren’t working, have another look.
You know the saying ‘luck is preparation meeting opportunity’? Never has this wisdom been more evident to me than this week. Twice, opportunities presented themselves with wildlife shots I’ve been trying to capture for two years. The first, two Port Lincoln Parrots perched in a tree that had all its leaves eaten by grasshoppers. There were two amazing things that happened with this one, firstly, that the parrots who are quite skittish, actually seemed to pause an extra couple of moments before flying off, and secondly, that the grasshoppers had denuded the tree. If the leaves were still on the tree, the parrots would not have been nearly visible enough to be worth a photograph!
The second wildlife photo that was a benchmark for me was one I’ve been trying to get for two summers. Dragonflies frequent our courtyard because of the water. I have tried and tried to photograph them but to no avail. They are even more skittish than the birds. I read that when photographing animals if you move very slowly and then stop in increments they will feel less threatened. And that is how I approached this dragonfly, as he perched on an onion stalk. I am learning the wisdom of quiet, and patience. But also I am seeing the results of an iPhone Photography course I took online last year.
The most important lesson of the course? Practice, practice, practice.
And finally, finishing a spectacular week, came this morning’s sight at sunrise. It lasted only about a minute and had I not gone for my walk, I would have missed it.
So there you have it, a ‘no news’ week, filled with tiny moments of grace.
My photo of the week may seem very underwhelming to you. But it evokes in me the moment I saw it at 5.15 in the morning. I wandered sleepily to the kitchen and turned on the light, and there, precisely laid on the counter next to the fridge and underneath the cereal cupboard, were the implements my husband would use to prepare his breakfast. The bowl, the spoon, and the knife with which he cuts the strawberries he enjoys on his cereal. The night before, after I had gone to bed, he had emptied the dishwasher, and had thoughtfully placed the items he would need in their place of use the next morning. It is the stuff relationships are made of; the little things sadly missed when someone is no longer there one day. He is not always this precise about things, but he is a very thoughtful, purpose filled person, and this was a tiny snapshot representing that part of him.
(The photo was edited using an app called Waterlogue, that I am learning to use.)