Monday, April 14, 2014

What You Don't Take

You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take.

I know, a sports metaphor. Now what is a sports metaphor doing in a blog about art? It is doing quiet well, reminding you that even in art there are opportunities every day and the ones you let slip by are gone for good.

There is such a bounty of wonder here on the South Coast that we forget it isn't permanent. It is in fact very fleeting and if you hesitate for just one second it is gone forever.

Now being a photographer, catching slices of time is what I do but that's no reason for painters and sketchers and plein air guys to let chances lips by. Do you carry a sketch book with you every time you walk out of the house? Do you stop to take a long look at the plants or animals living in or around your house/ What about the people? They have a story to tell and it might just be the one that moves your art from ordinary to excellent. But it won;t do a thing for you if you aren't ready when the moment comes.

I drag a big, long heavy DSLR with me most of the time. I could make it easier and switch lenses, except I’ve never had much use for short lenses. I just don't see things in that way. So having the reach of a big, long, heavy lens is the price I pay for being ready.

A sketchbook would be much easier and if I could do oil sketches like Monty Rogers I'd do that very thing, but I can't. At one time, a thousand years ago I was a fair hand with pencil sketching and I am working at recovering some of my skills, but the truth is time, and arthritis have taken their toll and I might never get back to a point where I can do a reasonable sketch. But I have my camera and that allows me to both store images against a time when I might be able to sketch again and to use right now.

So are you ready?

Just think of all of the things you might be missing. Whale watching. Now I come from central Texas and when we say Whale Watching we are talking about a rich guy boarding a plane for Lost Wages. But here you can go out and get up close and personal with the variety that made Ahab so crazy. Now that is an opportunity.

The little hummers on my back deck seemed to have settled into nest building or have gone away o0n spring break but I have dozens of pictures of them form when they were buzzing around. How can you beat that? Step out on the back deck with a camera and a cuppa and sit wrapped up, cause it is chilly in these here parts and wait for the little clowns to come buzzing around the feeder.

My own clowns, the cats who own my house and graciously allow me to live there cause I have can-opener magic. Provide a never-ending opportunity to catch the little house-lions doing all of the things which got them taken in off the street in the first place.

Even the sky is full of opportunity, the sunsets are fantastic and the night is o clear that you can see all of the wonders of the heavens and never have to reach for a pair of binoculars or a telescope. In Garland on a clear night I could see mosquitoes and not much else, but here there are no nasty biting little devils and I can grab that camera and walk out and have a clear shot at the moon.

They tell me that there is going to be a total lunar eclipse tonight or tomorrow morning depending on how grammatically correct, (or is that meteorologically correct) and that it is likely to be a “Blood Moon” a red one get it and all you have to do is wait up until 2AM for a chance to spot it. When will you get another chance to see that?

The sky, when it isn't full of planets and moons doing their wonders is a bounty of birds. I have a new flight of pigeons in my front yard. The Long Sufferin puts out deluxe food for them and they swoop down and eat it like they hadn't just had some yesterday, (The last time the Long Sufferin put out bird food), so in addition to the mystery critter and the hummingbirds and the mole we are supporting a kit of pigeons. (If only Uncle would let me claim the lot at dependents I could make back some of the cost of feeding them.)

But the IRS not withstanding, they come and eat and now will let me walk out and get close so that I can take pictures and get my pigeons in a row or is that supposed to be ducks which I am sure are just waiting for the pigeons to be finished so that they can come and get on the gravy train.

Have I mentioned the sea lions or the sea men down in the boat basin at Charleston? Both have wonderful bristly mustaches which just beg to be recorded and then there are the boats. I know we had boats on Ray Hubbard but they were mostly Chris Craft made for pulling a ski rope and not much else and they guys on them were weekend wonders with deep sunburns and beer-guts wearing those tight spandex trunks and trying hard to impress the boat bunnies in their almost there bikinis.

Here you have real sea men and they work the boats and actually know what they are doing and can go out on the real ocean and fish for something more dangerous than crappie and they risk never coming back like the memorial in Charleston says and we have a Coast Guard station where the guys and ladies go out in boats and haul the less dedicated boaters out of the sea and don't expect any thanks even though they have to go out in weather I wouldn't send the dog out in and they get paid the same for staying on land and watching The Black List as they do for going out to sea in boats and saving lives but maybe that's only interesting for a guy from the land-locked west.

So you have a never ending supply of amazing things to use as subjects for you work and yet are you taking the steps necessary to be ready when one of those moments comes?

Do you even think about it and want to be ready or are you happy where you are and don;t really want to bother with anything that might require you to get up off the couch and go out and find something new and wonderful?

You are the only one who can answer that question and you are the only one who can do anything about it.

Back to the sports metaphor, this is the playoff season for the NHL and if you don;t know what that is you've spent far too much time on March Madness, the National Hockey League stars their playoffs and this is when all of the hurts and bumps and injures have to be shelved and the game face plastered on cause there is no tomorrow. And you can bet that these guys who do not make the millions of dollars the big-time pros do won't give a rat's behind about what's in their pay envelop. They will get their gear and tough through the hurts and go out and do it one more time because there is no tomorrow and no one wants to be sitting at home when the finals come around.

What about you? Will you be sitting or will you be part of the playoffs?

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