Twenty-eight degrees F (-2.22 C) here, and a slight frozen mist hanging in the air; seems perfect to go for a nature walk around a lake. So I drove out to my favorite park again. You know, the one that was full of activity and bright sunshine the last time I was there.
Not so much sun or activity today. It felt melancholy, lonely, damp. Few people were out, though there were more than I expected at the back of the park on the far side of the lake.
And there were birds. As I took my first step on the nature path I could already hear the chickadees calling, and soon they were circling my head. They expect a treat. I left them a few seeds on the railing of the first bridge and moved along. It was too cold to stand still, arm outstretched to feed them individually.
I was thinking about why I was lugging my camera. Before I left the house I debated not bringing it, considered the advantages of taking a walk in nature without it. But then I realized if I did that there would be something amazing and I’d regret not having it.
So early in the walk, with fingers already getting cold, I thought about all the pictures I already had, filed away in my archives. Pictures of this park, these birds, most under better light and conditions than I was facing today. So why was I still watching for something interesting?
People have asked me….”what do you do with all those photos?” I don’t necessarily do anything with them, except share a few of them here with you, or with family. If I’m at a family event I might turn the best of them into a book for my siblings to remember our time together. But only a few of them ever end up in anything I share.
Most of the time I just flip through them and remember.
Because, you see, I can remember what it felt like to stand where I stood when I took almost every one. The way the light was, the temperature of the air, unique smells and sounds, why I was out there, the shots I missed when I got the one I’m staring at now. The photos in my archives take me right back to the adventures I experienced when I took them.
I think it’s probably a lot like playing music. It’s more fun to be the player than the listener. Perhaps it’s more fun being the photographer than the one looking at the results. For me, it’s all about the hunt; sometimes for something specific that I have in mind, but more often the fun of finding an opportunity to catch something surprising or pretty, or arty or just cool.
So on today’s cold walk along the mist shrouded lake I didn’t find lots of great photos, but I found enough to make me smile. And really that’s enough to make cold feet and tingly fingers worthwhile.
Even if no one else ever sees the majority of them.