This evening, on my way into the kitchen to start dinner, I glanced out the window and noticed that the northwestern sky was banded with beautiful ribbons of pinks and purples, fading off into deep blue. Our house faces east, and we have a hill to our west, so good sunset views are rare from our house (though the sunrises are glorious, if you don’t mind waking up at 4.15 in the summers). My first thought? Take a picture!
I knew as I was taking it that it wouldn’t be that good. It wouldn’t show you anything like the colors I was actually seeing. But I snapped a few anyway, and the results are pretty much as I expected. It’s happened before.
Some of this is because of the limitations of photography. The camera just can’t capture exactly what the eye sees. But I know that’s not the only reason.
For one thing, I don’t really know how to use my camera’s features. I’ve figured out the automatic mode pretty well. And I’ve even played with the manual focus. I read the camera’s manual when I first got the camera, didn’t understand much, and promptly forgot it. Now that I’ve had this camera in my hands for about six months, I suppose I ought to go back and reread it. I write technical manuals for a living; you’d think I could manage to read a few.
Also, I haven’t learned yet to keep my camera (or its accessories) with me at all times. So when I see something great (like a fox kit running down the road, or the perfect red leaf, or a really nice sunset), I’m invariably left wishing I had a camera. Which I do. Just not in my hands at that moment. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve said, “Well, if that doesn’t teach me to always have my camera with me, I don’t know what will!”. And yet…
When I wanted to get a picture of that sunset, for example, I ran downstairs to grab my camera (see above), quickly put on the lens I wanted, dashed upstairs, pointed my camera at the hills, turned it on, and then… ran downstairs to get the battery. By the time I returned, that amazing color wash of pinks and purples and blues had faded quite a bit.
I have an awful lot to learn about photography. And in spite of that, and the fact that I don’t not have much natural artistic talent (unlike my husband, daughter, and sister), I keep on taking photographs because I really enjoy documenting our daily lives in pictures.
This is a recent love. I used to prefer to look at everything through my own eyes, but over the past few years (and probably not unrelated to the existence of this blog), I’ve come to appreciate capturing reality for the future by taking pictures. These days, in fact, I take a whole lot of pictures (sure, a lot of them are of bowls of flour and dough, but, still…). And I’ll keep taking them. And I’ll try to remember to keep my camera with me. And maybe I’ll read a book or two, or take a class. Then again, maybe I’ll just bake some bread.