Opportunity, for a photographer, comes in many forms. In the beginning of my career, I wanted to take the camera everywhere. Today I know myself well enough to balance shooting. Professional photography, feels like it uses a different part of my brain than recreational photography did. Years ago, I read a study on professional athletes. The study had monitored their vitals while they worked out and observed that as soon as the athlete barely started to work out, sometimes just stepped onto a treadmill, their heart rates went up, their bodies started preparing for the workout before it started. Is it odd to say that is what it feels like to have my camera with me? I can do things but if I have my camera on hand, I am always a photographer. If my camera is within reach, I’m almost obsessively thinking about everything I see, asking, “is it worth getting my camera out for this moment?” But always, it isn’t till the camera is out that I know if it was worth it or not. When the camera is in my hand, I think differently. I’m organizing every angle of light, the world outside my lens blurs, my speaking, like my thinking, is concise, to the exact point. My husband, friends and family sometimes say I’m bossy. But the truth is, my brain just doesn’t work the same and it’s all about the shot. Not about anyone’s feelings, not about dangers, it’s about the light, the exposures, colors, compositions, it’s shooting. So I am careful. Recreationally, I rarely take my camera. I like that my friends and family like me and I don’t want them to disappear when I am making memories with them. Funny how a photo, recreationally captures a memory, but professionally it tells a story (true or not).
So a few weeks ago when I signed up to go on this amazing hike in the Everglades hosted by my friend Christopher (who works for the Florida Trail Association, which I joined, and highly recommend joining)! We would head a few miles south on one trail then due East, through the Everglades following not a trail but an old logging railroad until it met up with the Florida Trail a few miles later. Then we would head a bit more South to Roberts Lake (off trail but easier to find) hike around the lake, then back to the Florida Trail and a few more miles then back at the start. Confusing? How is this, we hiked a big Q shape where the bottom of the Q wasn’t on a trail. And I decided to bring my camera. The best shooting of the day was around Roberts Lake. The ground there, unlike most of the hike, was covered in water, and the swamp was just that, swamp. Yes there were alligators. And yes, snakes too. And a wonderful collection of other animals and plants. And yes, it was kind of scary to be walking around in the Everglades swamp, not being able to see what you were going to step on, or how deep you may sink into the mud and water, but it was beautiful.
I don’t know that I made any new friends on the trip. Holding my camera by default makes me way more serious. But fortunately most of the hikers were already friends (and family) that I know and love (and know me without a camera in my hand). So I believe they probably forgave me for any of my bossy/me first behavior that may have happened, and I suspect the hikers I didn’t know yet were perhaps distracted themselves by the beauty of the Everglades, or the direction of the compass when off course, or their cameras themselves. Some of these shots will likely show up as Wallpaper Wednesdays. But for the moment, here are two shots from around Roberts Lake, showing off the serious beauty of this giant park.