"Thank you for families being there for each other. Thank you for time to heal. Thank you for dreams to hold on to. Thank you for knowing people who are engaged. Thank you for knowing people who are married and have happily stayed that way." SAB 12-30-1997
So you see why I've floundered without her? She just saw what was of value in everything. Sure she had her moments where Chapstick and good egg salad along with Biore strips and doughnut bites were the creature comforts that commanded her attention, but usually she saw the bigger picture and I am so grateful that she left a guidebook for her slow to learn Mom.
Because it snowed on my birthday and I didn't want anyone on the road, we celebrated yesterday. My Mom, my brother, my sister, my nephew and my niece took me to lunch. My sister brought a delicious coconut cake and although my brother never gets a break from his blackberry, he was as attentive as work would allow. It was a lovely way to celebrate yet another year.
On the way to Culpeper I had been trying... once again... to think through the mechanics of photography, and there seemed to be a subtle parallel to life that took shape despite my efforts to keep it strictly scientific. Yes Shannon... I do over think everything !
If the aperture on the camera is wide open, lots of light comes in, the shutter clicks quickly and whatever is right in front of you is bright and clear. BUT... everything in front of and behind your subject is thrown out of focus and this can be disastrous when there is more than one beautiful smile in the frame. That is what has been happening with my camera set on Automatic.
Of course, if I am willing to try a little harder I can switch to Manual and adjust the aperture and shutter speed myself and hope! With a tiny aperture, very little light gets in and the shutter speed is much slower. It requires planning and concentration, a little bit of breath holding and a tripod doesn't hurt.
Now the revelation. My camera is not limited to two settings... Auto and Manual. It has a myriad of settings that I'm just beginning to discover. If the camera is set to Aperture Priority, I can tell the camera how much light I want to let in and it picks the perfect Shutter speed...I have to think but I also have to trust the camera to be somewhat intuitive. Not easy for someone with a white knuckled grip on controlling the Universe !
After my birthday lunch, Mom and I ran errands and then went by the lake to test my new photographic theories. It was afternoon and the sun was behind clouds. The lake was frozen over except for a small band that ran like a jagged crack between shores. Far in the distance, Canada Geese had settled on the small patches of water. We could hear the murmur of their conversations while several domestic geese and crows chased an ear of corn across the frozen lake closest to shore.
I snapped several pictures on several settings but of course old eyes have difficulty with small screens, so I hadn't seen the results of the photos until this morning. The first one (above), had beautiful light but the birds are still out of focus. Others had the birds in focus but they were too dark. Others too light. I'll keep practicing but one thing became abundantly clear.
All too often we are so focused on what is immediately in front of us that we miss the magic that is going on all around. Or, we are so overwhelmed by the busy ness of life, we miss what is right in front of us. Like the camera, we have to make choices. We can open our eyes and catch quick glimpses or we can open our hearts and get still and allow a bigger picture, a fuller more detailed image to develop. Or... we can find a way to do a little of both.
I haven't made all the connections yet, I still have so much to learn, but what I'm starting to recognize is the beauty in both and the necessity to be willing to risk Manual settings.
The one thing I would ask, given the opportunity... I would genuinely appreciate an Instructional DVD and Manual (isn't that a funny coincidence?) for Life, the next time around !
"Thank you for a day with my family. Thank you for insights on life light. Thank you for coconut cake and candle wishes. Thank you for sassy geese on frozen lakes. Thank you for reminding me to breathe, life will unfold whether I know the plan or not !" JJB 12-30-2010