Flickr page because it's more writing than picture, and because Leslie's right. Flickr, if you don't know, is a photo-sharing site that sees entirely too much of me. Of course, if I was a photographer instead of a writer by trade, I'd probably find some way to write stuff while neglecting my photography. I am indeed a moron.)
We went on a long walk the other day and we both brought our cameras. He's got my old H2, which is hella camera for a six-year-old, but between its past performance and his growing skill, it seemed like a good marriage. And it usually is. But this evening sucked for picture-taking. His battery was half-dead, my lens had a grain that I could see but not locate, all the bugs flew away as soon as we neared, a veritable throng of kids descended from seemingly nowhere making this noise, scaring away any remaining wildlife. The light sucked. Finally, out of frustration at his frustration (he looked like he wanted to murder the camera, but refused to just let it be and enjoy the scenery -- stubborn? just a tad), I mandated that we put the cameras away. (I wanted to keep mine out, but figured I should set an example.)
The evening opened up for us. The sky deepened to melon-orange and this vivid purply shade that was the exact color of an eye shadow my best friend and I wore when we were David's age and convinced it was exotic (I secretly still think so). The clouds, boring and grayish only a minute earlier, took on a bruised, brownish indigo look. I wanted to take the camera back out, but then he leaned on my shoulder. So we just sat. The most gigantic darner I'd ever seen landed a few feet away from us. We didn't care that it was now too dark to get a good shot. We just watched it. A cormorant appeared at unexpected places in the water at our feet, periscoping up right in front of us, diving and popping up almost a full minute later off to our left, then down again and up in thirty seconds, so distant now it was barely visible.
This is the only shot I took and saved that night. On our way back a tiny something streaked into our path. I thought it was a grasshopper at first, they're so abundant lately, but it was this young gecko, almost too small and fragile to pick up. We did anyway, because it seemed to have a baffling affinity for hiding under folks' feet. It clung there, making David's tiny hands look giant, until he relocated it safely to the brush. A half-dozen other people walked by, and he didn't even see them.
"This one's special," said a passing man, nodding to my son. I got a little choked up, so only nodded and smiled.
Taking pictures has helped me notice things I never did before. But sometimes, putting the camera away helps me really see them.