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Entries in camera (2)

Wednesday
Aug062014

Bouyant

Dawn broke with a peach sky out the window of our rented vacation home. It was hard to convince myself to get out of bed at that hour but I did it anyway. Grabbed my camera and quietly stole from the house, leaving behind 15 sleeping family members. The pink was gone from the sky by the time I got to the field where the Steamboat Balloon Rodeo launched, but there were already hundreds of early risers there to witness the bloom of these inflated rainbows and their wondrous bouyancy.

Sometimes being alone in a crowd with my Nikon as a companion is the most comfortable place I can imagine. I don't have to talk. All I have to do is walk, look, listen, and click.

Click.

Click.

I remembered, in this little gift of a morning to myself, that the camera in my hands heightens my senses. This practice has taken a back seat to my other duties lately and to the busyness that snuffs out spontaneity and personal creation. Here, as a quiet observer in the midst of a carnival morning, I had the luxury of introversion and silence. Click.

Click.

Balloons are not precision aircraft. They are a primitive, if beautiful, means of defying the laws that bind us to earth. They were breathtaking in their sheer unlikeliness, up there in the mountain morning. In the silence between the click click click I toyed with the idea of bouyancy. Maybe it's simpler than it seems to float. Maybe there's room for this sensation in my life: quiet, expansive, and weightless. And maybe the simplest way will be the most beautiful.

Wednesday
Jul252012

Orange Sky

 

The sky out my driver's side window was washed in such a fierce orange glow that I wondered for a moment if I had missed the headline about a new forest fire.  I was racing against myself to get to the cabin where old friends awaited our arrival.  I fumbled blindly for my iPhone so I could try to freeze the sky's furious drama without having to slow down.

My big camera spends a lot of time in my camera bag these days, silently rebuking me - transmitting signals that only I receive about how I'm not worthy or that the view in front of me is too simple or too obvious.  My iPhone happily shoots whatever banal scene I point it at, without judgement.

Over me the ominus virga of mountain rainclouds started dropping intermittent sprinkles and the road unfurled past the reservoir in a slick black ribbon.  I slowed down a little, mindful of my tires worn down by endless repetitions of this drive.  With one eye on the iPhone screen scanning past my driver's-side window and one eye on the rain-slicked road ahead of me, it hit me.

Look to the right.

I gasped when I turned.

The foot of a thousand-watt rainbow, perfectly framed in the passenger window, thisclose.  I moved the iPhone to my right hand and snapped.  Thank god for the iPhone, which doesn't sniff at cliches or make me second guess anodyne beauty.  

Then a directive rose from deep in my gut: pull over.  

Pull.  Over.

I didn't want to, but the directive pointed out that if you are thisclose to the brightest rainbow you've ever seen in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and you have a big camera in the back and you can't make yourself stop because it's too pretty, you're probably an asshole.  Or if you have the next four days with nothing time-sensitive to do, but you're in too much of a rush to pull over?  Again, asshole.  Not, you know, politician-level asshole or Wall Street banker-level asshole, but still.  Just stop the car.  Appreciate what's in front of you.

I may be self-absorbed and stuck in my head.  I may think too much, about the wrong things.  I may try too hard and have too little to show for it.  I may be the queen of white girl problems.  

But I'd like to think I'm not an asshole.

I pulled over, got out the big camera, snapped on the wide angle lens and gave myself permission to stop thinking and for once, just shoot.