I’m a firm believer in the thought that creativity begets creativity. I know that if not feeling creative in one medium (drawing, writing, painting, sculpting – and yes, colouring), dabbling in something else creative will get the imagination going. I’m creative and when I’m not making something, anything, even if it’s baking a cake, I kinda go squirrely.
For the last few months, too many of life's stressors have zapped my well of inspiration. My creativity has been slowly drying up and I've stalled in many areas of my usually-productive creative world. As far as writing goes, determination to keep writing despite having to step back from projects had me writing every day using daily prompts (check out my other blog at www.lisamcmanus.com ). I have had little bursts of writing inspiration here and there, but my productivity for already-started projects has been zulch.
And yes, I know I have to keep perspective. Life could be a heck of a lot worse.
But all that changed recently. In January my Dad gave me something that has helped me get back creatively to somewhere close to where I used to be.
He gave me a camera.
But it wasn’t just about a camera. He not only gave me a diversion away from my recently stressful life (which I suspect was his plan all along), but ha also gave me a path to get me back to my creative little self. Photography was something I had dabbled in before but never had had the right camera to fully explore the creative outlet.
It turned out that that super-fancy Nikon D3000 would be just what the doctor ordered.
So I’ve taken to pounding the pavement with my camera in tow, focusing on the world with only one eye through the viewfinder. I’m an amateur; I’m learning. And while I’m learning I’m wandering, always on the hunt for more than just pretty picture as I stalk, kneel, and crawl on the ground trying to get that perfect shot. I know I look like a lost dishrag half the time. One eye is usually always devoid of makeup from winking it shut for each shot, the cold air at this time of year making my eyes water and my makeup run. My hair is always a mess from outside adventures, usually in the wind, fog, and morning mist and often at a beach. I can only explore in the morning before work now that it’s getting lighter earlier, and then if I can I get out for a lunch break from work and see what I can find. One knee is always dirty and my nose is always running. I’m always weighed down with my purse and camera bag; I have to get an all-in-one setup.
I know I look like a lost and rumpled bag lady carrying around all my bags and seemingly aimlessly roaming around, but I don’t care. I’ve been having fun pretending to be a photojournalist for National Geographic.
So one morning I was ‘on assignment.’ I had some time before work, it was light out and I had arrived downtown Victoria earlier than usual. It wasn’t raining which meant I could roam and not worry about destroying the camera – AND preserve my hair-do. I made my way to Beacon Hill Park with my camera around my neck ready for that perfect shot. The birds were chirping, the ducks were quacking and the peacocks were just starting to emerge. It was serenity at its finest; classical, spa-like music should have been playing in the background to add to the ambiance.
I found myself at the pond – the duck-friendly, fountain-spewing pond of tranquility, complete with a lovely picturesque bridge. I was at-one with nature, giving thanks to Mother Nature and all her creations.
"Ah - a lovely little bridge. National Geographic, here I come!" I thought as I lifted my camera, closed one eye, took aim and CLICK! 1, 2, 3 pictures I took, but then just as I snapped the third and lowered my camera, there was a SPLASH and I caught the tail-end of a...tail.
And in a flash – I didn’t actually need a flash, though (photographers humour) – away went my serenity and I was suddenly on safari. I was gonna get that elusive otter! I tracked and stalked and tracked and stalked. I switched lenses twice, an overhead seagull just 'missed' me, and I skidded and slipped on the shore of the pond. I followed the trail of bubbles the otter left in his wake as he skimmed just below the surface. Click, click, click. Photo after photo I took but he was a smart one. He'd come up for air again, see me there, and then dive back down before I could get a good shot of him (or her - I didn't check).
Alas, fifteen minutes of tracking left me with a zillion photos of blurry bubbles, an extra-blurry shot of him (he wouldn’t hold still and I didn’t have a long enough lens), and nearly late for work.
As I packed away my camera and hurried to work I realized the most important thing about my ‘safari.’ For a moment I was on an adventure and somewhere else, doing something entirely different and creative and focusing on something I could do, and in turn creating a story to share.
Thank you, Dad, for the camera.
And as for the otter?
I'll be back, Mr. Otter. I'll be back.
(If you're not too busy on your own safari, be sure to visit my photography site at www.lisalange8.wix.com/clickandgo)