Sometimes Ya Gotta Improvise

Armed with my new camera, I made a point to photograph everything I could. At that time my family lived on around 30 acres with a small barn and windmill, and we had a great view of the sunset. One evening, I noticed that the sunset was going to be particularly beautiful, so I grabbed my trusty camera and started wandering around our property in search of the perfect shot of this sunset.

I spent maybe 10 minutes shooting through tree branches and high grass, before setting my sights on the windmill. I could picture the shot I wanted to get, the windmill silhouetted by the sunset behind it, with just the tops of the trees showing. From my viewpoint on the ground though, the angle wasn’t right, I wasn’t getting the tops of the trees or the most colorful part of the sunset like I wanted.

Sometimes ya gotta improvise.

I threw my camera over my shoulder and began climbing the fence that was next to the barn (in crocs I might add). I reached the top of the fence and the roof of the barn was about chest height, I shimmied up it, banging my camera around much more than was probably recommended in the user manual, and reached the wobbly roof of the barn.

Being sure to stay on the metal support rods so I wouldn’t fall through the thin metal roof, I slowly stood, trying to stay balanced, and took a glance at the windmill, perfect. I took a couple shots from eye level and it was good, but not what I wanted. I shifted the LCD screen down a bit and reached my arms up as high as I could, getting nearly level with the windmill. My view of the LCD screen wasn’t great, but I could make out the outline of the windmill, so I put it on the left third of the frame and squeezed off around 10 shots, moving the camera slightly with each shutter click, to have different perspectives to choose from.

I brought the camera down and took a moment to view the images I had taken. Nailed it.

At that moment, I felt like the king of the world, it was a simple photograph, but it was exactly what I set out to capture, and I had myself a moment of celebration atop that barn, which was interrupted by my mom, who had come out of the house to let me know dinner was ready and was quite confused to see me on top of our barn doing a happy dance. I safely dismounted the barn roof, and excitedly shared my new favorite pictures with her, I think she may have been more excited than I was about them.

Today, that photograph is the logo for my Dad’s company, which I think is so cool, knowing my art is on trucks, trailers, and business cards, very cool.

A few days later, my brother, sister and I were riding scooters and ripsticks around a slab that had been poured on our property, but hadn’t had anything built on it yet, just a big, smooth chunk of concrete. There was a bit of water standing on one section of the slab from a recent rain, and as I walked past it, I noticed that the horizon was reflecting off of that water like it would a lake, creating an almost mirror like illusion. I took a mental note of that and went on with my day.

That evening, I grabbed a water hose and completely covered a small section of that concrete slab. With my camera in hand, I sat on the ground and brought my camera to level with the concrete, which was now acting as a mirror of the sunset in front of me. Reflections of landscapes in lakes are one of the most beautiful things to photograph in my opinion, the sense of calm they portray, it’s something rare in nature, and although this wasn’t a lake that was deathly calm, I still find peace in this picture, and satisfaction that I was able to do my best to replicate that feeling. Like I said, sometimes ya gotta improvise.

At this point I was starting to gain confidence, in myself and my work, and I continued to seek out opportunities to photograph any and everything I could. As my senior year drew to a close, I was ready to take that next step as a photographer and creator, but I never could have imagined what was waiting for me in the next chapter of my life.

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