2016—The Terror Of Getting Close
I haven’t taken many new photographs this past couple of weeks but I have had time to take a second look at some of the photographs I took on my early November trip to the Texas Gulf. I was so taken with “Beach Panning” and so mesmerized with the results I achieved that when I got home, I scarcely paid attention to the many other fascinating photographs I took there using more “conventional” methods. Now, I have discovered many shots that are interesting and these photographs reminded me that the method of capture was not so “conventional” after all—for me, anyway.
It’s critical to get as close as possible to your subject. And, sometimes, even a long lens and teleconverter doesn’t do the trick. But, almost always, your feet can get you closer. For me, however, my fear of heights often prevents me from venturing close because of uneven, steep terrain or even a mere half foot gap to traverse, especially if water surrounds the area. One day while on the Gulf of Mexico, we visited a neighborhood with a jetty made of huge pink granite slabs, lumpy uneven pieces of quarry rock surrounded by surging surf. Of course everyone but me easily stepped onto the jetty from terra firma with their tripods, cameras, and long lenses. I still wonder how people who aren’t afraid of such things are so sure that where they’re stepping is stable and won’t come loose to let them plunge into the unknown. It took some coaxing to get me there and I was petrified (pun intended) because I had to carry my tripod on my shoulder and make sure I didn’t step into the abyss and then I had to be careful to make sure my tripod legs didn’t disappear into a crevice when I set it down. All this with my knees shaking and my heart in my throat. This is not a situation to which I gravitate naturally.
Once settled in, though, I had great views and got some good photographs. The birds disregarded us and went about their business foraging for a bite of food before the sun set. This willet spent lots of time poking into the cracks and crevices for a tasty morsel. The setting sun is reflected in the water behind it. The quarry grooves are clearly visible in the granite. When I see what I have accomplished after pushing myself well outside my comfort zone, I am pleased with the results and I tell myself it was worth the fleeting terror I felt getting there.