Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Becoming The Camera
When the cosmos speaks to you, listen
Not long ago, I was at a rodeo on Molokai. Looking for something to photograph, I was taken with how the red shirt on a spectator matched the red of the Hawaii flag next to him. Interesting shot, but nothing to write home about. Then, while I was still looking through the lens, a voice right next to me said, "Excuse me, sir." I turned to see a young cowboy. He was about to walk in front of me, which was very strange, as behind me was an entire parking lot with nothing in it. He could have walked behind me and I'd never have even known he was there. But, no, he was coming across directly in front of me.
Taken aback, I took a half step to let him pass. He moved directly in front of me and, as I watched through the lens, he stopped. Stopped...and his presence in the shot transformed a mediocre frame into a great frame. He leaned forward till his back paralleled the flags. He tilted his head just enough so the brim of his hat touched both the tip of the flag and the shadow on the wooden beam (which, by the way, looks like the state of Texas). He brought his arm up till the rope he was holding mimicked the line of his hat. Then, slowly, ever so slowly, he began to remove his glove. For 10 seconds, he just held the pose.
Shoot, Dewitt, shoot! And I did. Then, without a word, he moved on.
I knew I'd just taken a great shot, but honestly, I didn't feel like I'd taken it at all. Rather, I felt like some cosmic shutter button. Just another moving part of a camera someone else was controlling.
The young cowboy moved off without a word. Later, in front of my computer, I stared again at the composition of the shot. Just random chance? Perhaps, but in this case, I think not. There's far more going on in the universe than this little three-dimensional being can ever know or understand. I'll just try to do my part. Listen when I'm called, allow myself to be led, rejoice in being the shutter button on a bigger camera, and delight in the results!
P.S. Eventually, I "painted" the image using a Photoshop technique I learned from Photoshop guru, Jack Davis.
P.P.S. About a year later, I met the young man in the photo and asked him why he had asked to walk in front of me that day. He remembered being there, but had no recollection of my taking his picture. Maybe he was being led, too.
Dewitt Jones posts daily celebration images on his Celebrate Facebook page. Please come and post yours as well at (www.facebook.com/celebratewhatsright), or sign up for his weekly Photos of Celebration at www.celebratewhatsright.com.
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