Saturday, December 13, 2008

The First Man in the Moon

I knew my camera was on the familiar brown truck the night before last, and I was giddy with anticipation of receiving it. With snow in the forecast, I was anxious to start taking pictures, knowing that I'd actually be able to see my subjects in the viewfinder. I freakin' LOVE the snow, and love to take pictures of it. When the buzzer sounded informing me that someone was at the common door to my apartment building, I almost stepped on my cat in my hurry to press the button and let them in.

In less than five minutes, I was taking pictures. I could read the manual later (and have done since). Tetley, the aforementioned cat, was my first subject. Not totally willing, it didn't take her long to realize that this bloody contraption flashes in her face just like the other one. I managed to capture a few nice shots, even in the dim lighting of my flat.

The next day, I was at it again, pointing and shooting. With the promise of afternoon snow, I occupied myself indoors until the flakes began to fall. Sadly, there were but a few snowflakes that showed up to waltz amongst the cold raindrops that fell all day. I went for a ride on my bike, but the rain hitting my face was like tiny needles; needless to say, I didn't ride far. After coming home and warming up with a nice cup of tea, Tetley seemed a bit more willing to sit for a few portraits.

While I'm impressed with the quality of the images, I recently learned of a technique using Gimp, free photo-imaging software, to enhance photographs, allowing the user to enrich the color and add a soft Gaussian blur to accentuate the subject. I think the photo of my little Namaste' cat is probably one of the best pictures I've ever taken. Call me biased, I understand. I'll even agree.

I took pics of the quirky things I have here in my little abode. A whimsical PVC Buddha sitting atop a miniature mountain. Origami cranes my brother made for me sitting atop miniature mountains. A beaded ornament my mother made for me. One of two of my Hello Kitty alarm clocks. The giraffes who live on my living room window sill. And then, when I realized that the rain had stopped, I took my camera outside in the very chilly nightime dark. Except, it wasn't very dark. The moon was extraordinary, appearing 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than normal, according to Yahoo News. 'Twas worth the cold and discomfort to look upon such a sight. I've never had any success photographing the moon. Sure, I get a round, glowing circle, but I've never been able to capture any detail with the amateur equipment I can afford. Still, hands shaking in the cold, I kept pushing that shutter button, mesmerized by the magical light in the sky and hoping a little magic might appear in my computer when I transferred the images from my camera.

Glowing circle, circle, oblong circle, glowing circle, streak of fuzzy light, circle, glowing circle, man in the moon, circle, glo...wait! Go back...did I see what I thought I seed? Wahooo! One small step for man, a giant leap for amateur photographers who just want a moon pic with even a wee bit of detail visible. It probably won't mean much to anyone else, but it will remind me of the night right after I got my new camera and stood shivering in the freezing temperatures, snapping photos of the most majestic moon I've seen in a very long time. And these are the things that are more precious to me than anything material, including a new camera. Sure, the camera is a wonderful thing to have, especially when it paints these amazing memories of moments when I have been aware of just how miraculous the things in and of this universe truly are. But it's the experience itself that is special; of knowing that this moment will never, ever happen again. A camera just can't capture that profound feeling of being a part of it all, of being connected on a quantum level to that which is on the other side of the lens.

However comma...that doesn't mean I'll stop trying.

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