Monday, April 28, 2008

What Matters Most

When I began my adventure into the world of nature photography my wife and I had only been married for a couple of years. Life was much simpler then and I could pretty much go out and make images whenever I wanted to. Today, I have two sons and it isn't always as easy to get out and shoot when the urge strikes me. Sometimes a couple of weeks may pass before I can have a "one-man expedition" into a wild place to shoot a few frames.

Fortunately, I can go out and make photos fairly regularly in the woods, field and pond area that surround our home. The downside is that (bear with me here) I am usually accompanied by my four-year old, my one-year on my back, a dog and a couple of cats. In other words, it isn't so easy to concentrate and get into that zone that I crave more than a tub of apple pie ice cream; which for me, says a lot. This past Sunday, we had a nice rain shower and a mist settled down over the wet woods. The light was perfect and I still hadn't had a chance to get out and photograph the wild Pinxter flowers (native azaleas) that are blooming profusely this year. As I looked through my viewfinder I found myself being asked every five minutes, "Daddy look at this!" "Daddy look what I found." Grrrrrr......and then I realized what a fool I was being – as I usually do. I walked down to the creek and there was my oldest son holding up a crayfish claw that he had found in the creek. Was I too dense and wrapped up in my own selfish world to realize that he was trying to gain my approval and impress me with his knowledge of the woods? Boy, I can be a real blockhead sometimes.

As parents, we often try to hold on so tightly to the things that define us as individuals that we miss the really important opportunities to make a difference. Will I not end up with as many images as I once did in a given year? Probably. Does this mean that there is some other guy or gal out there gaining more exposure in the marketplace than me? Sure. Will I ever, ever regret the time spent with my boys?

Absolutely. Positively. Never.

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