My fingers clutch around the camera body, its weight resting in my hand. My eye relaxed but fixed, I gaze through the eye piece and observe every detail in frame. My left hand slowly rotates the zoom ring, shifts slightly, then moves to the focus ring until the image falls into place. In through my nose I take a deep breath, hold it, and click. With a single shutter-snap, life is paused, captured forever.
Huddled up to a fence with my camera, my ears rang from the sudden cheers of the crowd. A jolt of energy raced within my body as I followed the action through the view finder, knowing every second counts. A quick twist of zoom, a touch to adjust a camera setting. If I muddle, I’ll miss the shot. A couple clicks and I wait a moment, watching the reaction of the child’s proud face now safe on first base. He catches a glimpse of his parents in the stands and beams a toothless smile. Click. Captured forever, the hit, the sprint, foot reaching for first base, and the pure joy of playing ball.
Nineteen years I’ve had proud parents, adult children, loving couples, newspapers, and Darlington School trust me professionally to capture an array of events for them. It’s true, you shoot your best pictures when you really love your subject, and I didn’t know these people that well, much less love them. However, I realized early on, that deep down I felt their excitement and truly loved being at these events. It was delightful to be that “fly on the wall,” taking in—with my camera—all the good stuff. Even “behind the scene” images became some of my favorites. These images are the fine details of what make an event. The child’s coach, because they are proud of their young athletes. The caterers delighted with their food displayed. The florists love of their creations. Parents beaming at their child. Adult children elated to celebrate their parents fifty years of marriage. And I was the one who—CLICK—froze these memories forever.
Being on the backside of the camera, I only have the memories of the events I was honored to work, but I will treasure the work I did and the people I met along the way. As I step away from the business, I find it fun to give tips or two to those who ask. My biggest tip of all: capture it for the memory, shoot it if you never want it to get away, picture it as if it were on your wall, and click it when you feel it deep within your soul.
Food for Thought: Photographs have no language, yet they speak volumes to everyone.