Along the way of my ‘365 photo challenge’ I have done a couple of sub-challenges. It helps me keep perspective, otherwise I wander along the same walks and routines and the ideas could get stale.
The first sub-challenge was to take 3 photos over three days that I could post ‘straight out of the camera’, that is no edits at all, only cropping–because Instagram primarily uses square format photos. I’m sorry if this disappoints all my peeps out there, but I DO edit the majority of my photos. A photo seldom looks like what the eye has seen, so I endeavour to recreate my memory of the subject/scene—what excited me about it in the first place, and usually that takes editing. Occasionally I take a photo, maybe once a week, that I feel meets my objectives and so I post it ‘as is’. The #sooc (straight out of the camera) challenge went well. Magic happened and I was able to do 3 photos, three days in a row, that I honestly felt needed no editing. Whew.
So, recently I accepted another challenge, the ‘yellow challenge’. This one, for five days in a row, is to take a photo of something yellow or with yellow as a major component. The morning the invitation came through to me, it happened that my photo of the day had been a stunning one, of a yellow leaf. So I took this as encouragement to accept the invitation for four more days. No pressure.
Day two was exceptionally windy…Nanook-of-the-North windy. It was also cloudy and I took a beautiful photo of the subdued hues of clouds in early morning, but no yellow. I turned right to continue my walk–still with the yellow challenge in my mind. My eyes fell on flowers and leaves and bits of yellow rubbish, but nothing I hadn’t recently photographed or that seemed worthy.
Caught in the grass was a tiny feather, white of fluff and yellow of tip. It was the rarest of the rare. I see feathers of many colours on my walks, and have photographed a few—pink, green, blue, grey, black and white. But never have I seen a yellow one. It was my little bit of magic for the day, for the challenge, for ME.
Despite the strong winds the grass was holding it securely. Carefully I bent down and plucked it from its lodging and placed it in my pocket. For the remainder of the walk, I smiled the smile of the cat who ate the cream. Arriving home I unloaded my pockets—key, used tissue, glasses, iPhone, macro lens and yellow feather.
Aaaaarrgghh, WHERE WAS MY FEATHER?
It was as gone as yesterday’s lunch. Gone. I turned pockets inside out, unravelled the snotty tissue—at least three times. It was nowhere to be found.
It was my treasure. My beautiful little bit of magic and I had let it slip through my fingers–probably quite literally. Despite all logic to the contrary, I decided to go look for it, IN THE ROARING WINDS. Silly girl. You will never find it. But I believe in magic, so I looked. I walked up the street and beyond where I had found it, searching in the grass, along the roadside, everywhere. Notta. I was so sad I nearly cried. How could this magic thing have happened and then it was as if it hadn’t? Why? I suspected when I could answer that question, the real magic would happen.
Fast forward 24 hours…
Every so often my mornings are turned upside down like a snow dome and I have to rearrange the timings of coffee, breakfast, and walking to accommodate some unusual errand or event. This was one of those mornings. The walk came at the end of all the other things, including a trip to the grocery. The fact that the wind was once again blowing a gale straight from the Antarctic was just like a layer of Vegemite on top of a cake. Not that great.
It was very hard to take photos when the branches were swaying wildly and at times, gusting so hard it threw me off balance. Thank goodness for warm houses on cold, blustery days, I thought. Photos are very much a by-product of my walks. I walk because it is good for my back and heart, but most especially for my mind. It is moving meditation for me. Though it was late-ish and the sun was getting high in the sky, I set out, perhaps to take a photo or two. Too much overhead light makes for bleached out colours in photos, but I am ever hopeful.
I was wearing sunglasses, which generally I find a nuisance when photographing, but otherwise the light was so bright I couldn’t really look around to see things, including approaching bicycles and vehicles! Bracing myself against the wind I walked down our street, analysing the patches of shifting light and possible subjects to photograph. And then for reasons I have no idea about I glanced to my right, in the grass. There. It. Was. Yellow of tip and white of fluff. I was stunned. I held my breath and slowly reached down to release it from the grass. This time I took nothing for granted. I deliberately held tightly to it, and did not look away until it was safely in my pocket. Deep down in my pocket. For certain.
For the rest of the walk I was cautiously jubilant, and truthfully wondering if I was asleep and dreaming I had found the feather again. What if it had been another mistake, and was not real? Occasionally, and carefully, I stopped and peered down into my pocket, the way a small child does when they are carrying a treasure in their tiny cupped hands. Is it still there? Yes, still there.
Arriving home, I repeated my daily ritual of unloading things from my pockets. Finally, I looked for the feather. It was nestled deep down into the farthest corner of my pocket and waiting for me saying…
have hope, patience, and perseverance;
all things are possible, in their own time.
The gallery of photos from my yellow challenge:
(Posted on the occasion of my 62nd birthday. It’s good to be alive. Thank you for reading.)