Thursday, December 31, 2009


AKA "What I've Discovered from Taking a Photo Every Darn Day":

There are more interesting, alive creatures and plants right in the middle of an enormous urban area than I'd ever paid attention to before or even thought possible.

Sometimes it's just better to be in the moment and see what's happening rather than filter it through a lens and ponder it later. That is: sometimes it's better to create memories rather than photos.

Sometimes my photos are blurry or boring. That is reflective of reality as I experienced it that day and the less good mean I have to try better next time. So, the only editing that I will do is some cropping and slight rotation. Oh, and the pictures of the moon? They usually mean I had a terribly busy day and didn't have a chance to even touch my camera until well after dark.

I'm not sure I've become a better photographer through all this picture taking. I may have become a lazier photographer because I sometimes had just one chance to get a shot and let my camera do the thinking. I do think I sometimes have a good eye and am developing a better one.

The enhanced vision for butterflies that started when J. and I went to Santa Cruz's Natural Bridges State Beach a few years ago and saw the monarchs clustering really took off this year. Butterflies are everywhere and I see them...and how come I never knew the name, e.g., of the gray hairstreak before this? And now I'm developing the same sense for other insects. I've liked bees for a long time but I noticed the others besides honey bees and bumble bees more often and started wondering why I've had self-inflicted blinders on for most of my life. I have developed a keen interest in entomology that I don't see ever going away.

I have a powerful desire to know the names of things. I think this is a basic human desire but I'd never noticed it so strongly in myself before.

Field/identification guides are my friends. I prefer the book version but websites can be easier. I'm quite fond of this one, this one, this one, and BugGuide.Net. And I just got this and this one too--pretty awesome.

A flower is frequently more beautiful to me (or at least more interesting) when it has a bug on or in it.

J. is a very patient and supportive person (got me the camera and lenses to start with and, well, charges my batteries too). Walks with me are frequently interrupted by my exclamations of "Ooh, what is that?"..."Ooh, look at that!" and the photo shoots that almost always follow. That's just one example.

Even if I were to walk the same route every single day, it's now apparent to me that I would see something new each time.

The more pictures I take, the more possible shots I can think of. For instance(s), I'd like to photograph lightning (I tried and failed during our rare and solitary thunderstorm in June). I'd like to take a good picture of raindrops hitting a puddle. And a really good one of a hummingbird in flight...or a dragonfly on the wing...a nice shot of quail. And, and, and.... I think this means the experience will continue in the new year.

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