Yes, that is my big fat (dirty) foot. (and I just now noticed that my shoelace is very nearly untied) You know what that means, right? It's time for another Photo Safari Report!
I'm sure you remember that I've said in the past that each of our hikes ends up having a theme. It's not intentional. We certainly do not start out choosing a theme and then trying to force the hike to fit it. No. We do not do that. The hiking theme is more organic, more natural than that. We just do our photo hike and then let the theme reveal itself to us.
This time, as it turns out there was a dual (and oddly opposing) theme. Or I suppose, themes. They were: 1) 'Holy Cats I'm an idiot' AND 2) "Holy Cats, we are so smart!" Like I said, opposing themes.
First of all we chose to hike some trails we haven't touched in months, so that was a nice change. We weren't certain about the condition of the trails but, as always, we were game to try. As always we left early, so the sun wasn't very high in the sky, the dew was still on the ground and the moon visible against the beautiful blue sky.
It was a wee bit cool out, which is a lovely change, the mosquitos were NOT chomping on us and there was not another human being anywhere around us. So, it was perfect.
Right away we saw wonderful things to capture. Birds, lizards, squirrels, dragonflies were everywhere around us. And some of them even, very thoughtfully, paused a moment for us to take our photos. But I seemed to be having a terrible time getting my camera to properly focus on these small things. I tried over and over, using every trick I knew. Was it my new reader sunglasses? I took them off, nope, still not working. I fiddled with the camera (I never really know what I'm doing when I fiddle with technical stuff). I even resorted to the turn it off and then back on thing. But hmmm. Still not working. Here is the one and only bird photo I got yesterday
I had this awful dread in the pitt of my stomach that whatever was wrong with the camera was my fault. Y'see a month of so ago, I got caught out in an unexpected downpour while I was walking back from taking photos at the beach. Immediately I tucked my camera under my shirt, hunched over it and ran like hell the rest of the way home. Once home, I took my camera as much apart as is possible, removed the battery and the card and let everything air dry overnight. The next day, tentatively, I put it all back together and it worked perfectly! YAY! BUT what if it was a delayed reaction? (yeah my brain works like that) What if I did irreparable harm to my camera? What if in fact, I had killed it? This camera, one of the most important material things I own, AND a gift from Tim was not working properly and it was ALL MY FAULT! The guilt was overwhelming.
I didn't want to be the party pooper of the hike so I said nothing about my concerns. Instead, I tried to be contented to take other kinds of photos. I could take perfectly fine, broader, wider, less detailed pictures. It was only the smaller, macro shots that were utter failures. See?
Finally, the umpti-umpth time Joy asked me, "Did you get it?" in reference to a very cool bird or bug shot that I didn't get, I confessed that I was having some difficulty with my camera. Joy offered to take a look. She has been taking photos much longer than I have and has much more sophisticated equipment. I felt confident that if there was an issue, she would find it and if it was fixable, she would fix it. But nope. There was no finding, there was no fixing. I sighed. Well I would just make the best of it. I would find a way to continue to take photos without my macro settings.
We continued on and I kept snapping away:
I felt as if I was finally getting the hang of this no macro settings thing when Joy mentioned that she had just gotten a great shot of a some bird in profile. Something about the word "Profile" made my brain move to the word, "Portrait". I suddenly remembered that I had been messing around with my camera the day before, taking multiple shots of the same exact thing with the camera on different settings. Y' know what I mean, right? The little dial on top of the camera that can be set on "sport", "auto", "night" etc. There is also a setting for "portrait" and the portrait setting was the last one I was experimenting with. I bet I left the dial set at "portrait" and of course, you cannot be in macro AND portrait all at the same time. What an utter IDIOT!
I checked my camera and sure enough, there it was. Portrait. I corrected the setting and up pops my macro option just like it's supposed to and all was right with the world once again. I showed Joy that it was now fixed. We were both embarrassed that neither of us thought to check the settings but my relief that I hadn't killed my camera was bigger than my embarrassment.
I started snapping more photos like crazy! Macro macro macro!
Happy Snappin' for the remainder of our hike.
So that was the idiot part of the hike. The smart part? It wasn't fixing the camera. No. It was something else entirely.
It was a wet hike anyway. We were on relatively dry land some of the time but practically swamping ankle deep at times in muck other times. But even we have a line we do not cross. And here was the line. Do you see the other side of the trail? And therefore the water running smack through the middle of it? Yeah. There lay the dilemma.
It wasn't a puddle that was could happily splash through and it wasn't a little stream that we could hop across, it was more like a creek. There was no way we were going to step into that water not knowing for sure how deep it was or what lay in it's murky depths. We would have had to double back a VERY long way or find a method to cross. We searched off trail in every direction and all we found was more of the same. Sometimes wider, sometimes deeper but still water. Dang.
We thought about turning back but we are not quitters. So we decided that instead we would find a way across. And of course we did. It some wandering through undergrowth off-trail for awhile but eventually we had it figured out. Unfortunately best option required crossing two of the "creeks" and creating "bridges" across them. Fortunately, out in the forests and preserves, nobody tidies up. There is deadfall and tree detritus everywhere which also means building materials. Ahhhh!
We gathered armloads of deadfall and placed it in overlapping layers across the narrowest and shallowest parts of the "creek" and quickly scurried across. Then, once safely on dryish land, we had to do it once again to cross the next creek. Ultimately, after clambering through brambles and yet more thick undergrowth, we arrived on the other side and were happily back on the trail. We congratulated each other and, flushed with our success, we carried on.
Part of our frond "bridges" below":
So there you have it, moments of stupid and moments of smart. One cancelling out the other maybe? Or just leveling the playing field. Either way, it was a great hike, we had a good time and I learned a thing or two.
I wonder what will be the theme of the next photo safari?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.