Last week Barb and I were hiking along the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 13 near Fulton, IL. As usual, I was carrying my trusty Nikon D90 and a pair of binoculars in case any wildlife presented itself. Suddenly, a huge eagle swooped up from the adjacent slough and lighted in a tree right next to me. It had no idea I was there and I had no idea it was going to appear. We saw each other at exactly the same instant and were each equally startled. I immediately shouted “Holy s#!t” and several other expletives in rapid-fire fashion. The eagle did the same in its own native tongue and leapt back into the air as quickly as it had landed.
With only milliseconds to react, I aimed the camera in the eagle’s general direction, held down the shutter release and captured 4.5 frames per second shooting in continuous mode. I hoped and prayed the auto-focus was enabled and that at least one of the frames would yield an acceptable exposure. For some reason I also continued to spew expletives. I blame the adrenaline.
Out of nearly twenty shots, one turned out ok. Pretty f#*%!&g lucky, don’t you think?
I’m happy to say that I’ve been reasonably prolific since “retiring” from the Art department at the local community college last June. “Retiring” is in quotes because it’s more like semi-retirement than full-blown “not working anymore” retirement. I’m still teaching a couple classes here and there–photography and graphic design.
But I have a lot of extra time to manage, and I’ve managed to fill it with a lot of picture-making. The first six images in the gallery on page one of this site have all emerged from the digital darkroom since I left the workforce. That’s one per month–not that I’m counting obsessively.
In addition to those six, I produced many other creations during this period–but they were deemed unfit for human consumption and have been banished to the dark recesses of a random hard drive. No matter how experienced you become, you never lose the ability to produce garbage. Knowing which pieces to display and which to discard is an art in itself.
That being said, I must confess to feelings of ambivalence regarding my very latest image. (See above.) I can’t make up my mind if it’s display-worthy or garbage-worthy. Sometimes I really like it. And sometimes I really don’t.
Oh, well. I guess I’ll just put it out there and see what people say.
I find it helpful to sometimes practice “normal” photography, without all the post-processing, abstract manipulations in which I usually indulge. Brings me back to reality. Makes me remember the basics. Here’s a turtle. No PhotoShop magic. Just a turtle.
Don’t forget to visit the gallery while you’re on the site!