Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesdays With Ellen

One of my golfing buddies recently shared how she always loved photography yet had let her camera sit idle for years...that is until a few weeks ago when she found the courage to take an intensive five-day workshop. You could see the inspiration appear across her face as she talked about the class then shared her next steps - to spend Tuesday mornings taking photographs. I didn’t hesitate to invite myself. And she didn’t hesitate to say, “sure!” I know, I know it was selfish of me but one of the things I’m learning living the creative life is the need to spend time with other creative people. And how to spot other creatives you know you’d enjoy the company of. When it’s a good match we easily feed off each other as well as rub off a lot of positive affirmations for our need to do things like leaving the house at 7am to take pictures.  And Tuesday with Ellen proved the rule.
I should share that I am a photo-holic.  I love to spend hours in the backyard capturing what my family calls, so lovingly while laughing, “mom’s pictures of bushes and weeds.” Sigh. Again proving the need to find others that understand the sickness. 
So Tuesday, before we even got into the weeds and before my second cup of coffee kicked in, we were welcomed by a number of deer at the entrance to a local park known for its birding. Then slowly we took the drive further into the dense forest before we turned into a parking area with vast marshes along a river on one side and tall pines and palms on the other.  We were getting out of the car and starting to organize our equipment when we heard an animal cry - it sounded so sad, like a lost child who couldn’t find his mother - waaa....waaaaa....bahhhh.  We looked at each other. Then looked around as the sound echoed  under the canopy of trees funneled in the morning air. Then saw the cutest little baby deer prancing around nearby. Is that little deer bleating, we asked?!? I grabbed my camera and only got this one (above) quick shot and then “bambi,” with one more bleat, pranced sideways into the dark underbrush. Hopefully he found his mother.
We then set off to take pictures. My goal was to get inspirational photos for use in my next series of paintings. Ellen was focused on the birds. So we made a great pair. I’d go one way, she’d go another and then we’d signal that it was time to move onto the next park. Our final stop had a number of those moments that make it all worthwhile.  It took me awhile to realize the best way to experience where I was was to stand still. So I did. And listened to the various song birds and heard the rustling in the underbrush and caught my favorite cardinal who came out to say hello then, as if by magic, a small movement caught my eye and I turned to see an enormous deer just thirty feet up the trail. She stopped and stared at me while I tried to quietly get a photo. Instead I turned on the video camera but just as I focused in she ran off. I could hear her breathing. It was heavy like a race horse. And I could hear the sound of her hooves on the ground. And just as quickly as all of this happened I was left standing there hearing only a few song birds and wondering about what I had just experienced.
So you see, you do have to just get out there. You can’t wait for it to happen. Life is so full of these moments. And all you need to do is stand in place and become a part of the world. Thanks, Ellen for allowing me to join you on Tuesday and here’s to more of the special moments we find when we just stand still and listen to the world around us. Java!
P.S. Here are a few of the photos from Tuesday...