Anyone that has had the luck or misfortune (depending on your perspective) to end up on my list of folks to send Shutterfly invites to knows that I take a lot of photos. Truth be told, if you're one of those people, you don't even get the full gamut of what I take. Sometimes I hold back from sharing some albums in an attempt to not bore/bog/pick a nice word here my friends and family with my happy photo-taking-trigger finger.
This isn't a new 'digital' age thing for me. Back in the days of film it was common knowledge that I needed at least one roll of film for each day of a trip - at least. Going digital simply helps me feel less guilt about development costs.
This hobby, ahh, who am I kidding, this obsession owes it's genesis to several sparks. I feel compelled to capture the moment in a literal sense - no matter how inadequate the frozen image may sometimes be in reality. I like the way I can trigger memories by looking over old photos, "Oh, right! I remember when we went. . ."
Sometimes, though, a photo can show you new things you barely noticed in the moment. Little nuances that only the cold-hearted eye of the lens can isolate. Sometimes it's even a detail the speed of life prevents you from seeing. Yet there in that frozen moment it's preserved - evidence of something bigger than a moment.
Over the last week I've taken two different pictures of my kids and a slide. The first was taken during Logan's swim class as he plunged down the water slide into the very deep end of the pool -- and the waiting arms of his instructor. Just after the big moment, he emerged from the water with an apparent swagger and some sense of pride for having survived it despite his then complete inability to swim in any real sense of the word. The image, however, begged to differ. (And for the record, although he swims fairly well today he still will not go on that slide again. On the other hand, shortly after emerging from that slide, he did have a new sense of confidence in the water - something that has indeed led to his new ability to swim both under water and 'on top' with a freestyle stroke.)
The second image was from this weekend. We took the kids to a nearby state park/historic village this weekend for a ride on a train, a hike down a few trails, some time in the old village and then some good old fashioned playground time. There were two slides - one with three 'lanes' and a lot of bumps and one big encased tube. Logan found the tube's penchant for static electricity amusing. He never did see his hair stand on end, but he gathered it was funny based on Daddy's reactions to it. Megan, not to be outdone, scurried up the ladder herself for a turn. I heard a lot of giggles as she came down - it wasn't until I was uploading the photos later that I saw a look that belied the sounds of glee.
Now, the thing about photos is they can't lie. Clearly she was not quite sold on the speed with which she descended. However, the next shot is pretty clear to me too - once passed the initial shock, she had a pretty darn good time with that slide. As I uploaded this image to an album, I started to reflect about what it was really saying to me. It made me think about all those things in life that we approach with some sense of dread and trepidation....and how many of those things end up just fine in the end -- sometimes even more than fine.
And this, these captured moments I did not expect to find, is why I can't keep my fingers from opening and closing that shutter. Sometimes in those photos you capture a moment - and sometimes in that moment you find details you never expected to find. Sometimes you find lessons about life.