Winter has returned! We have had a decent amount of snow on the ground for most of the past week. While this has been to the delight of the household, especially the shorter residents owing to sledding and play opportunities, I admit that my excitement involved an itchy trigger finger that wanted to go exploring with my camera. We had one promising day of snow early last week. It was a gentle and beautiful reintroduction of flakes to us after a long stretch of very mild January weather. With all that lovely white everywhere, I immediately thought about a few shots I wanted to catch outdoors. And then I missed my chance. Big, fat, fluffy flakes had blanketed everything in cottony snow. It perfectly coated every inch of everywhere. Every part of the yard, every sled waiting patiently for action, every little twig on every branch. It was glorious! And I missed it. And then it rained.
Remember a few weeks ago when I snagged the photo of the glassy yard after an icy/snowy mixture had frozen our little world over? Remember that I said I knew I had to catch it right away in the morning because it would melt and lose much of its beauty? Well, last week I looked at all the fluffy snow piled precariously on my spindly shrub branches and first thought, “Oooooohhhh it’s so PRETTY! That needs to be this week’s photo.” And then I thought, “But it’s going to stay super chilly all day, so I’ll be able to catch it later.”
I was wrong.
Apparently, I have not taken the time to observe how my spindly branches handle this weight. Later that day, when I grabbed my camera and plowed out the back door to capture my prize, I stopped short because I was looking at … bare branches. Sadness! I was very bummed and chastised myself for not going out when I saw the opportunity in the morning. It was raining by the next day, and I ended up capturing our sweet, old girl instead, which was just exactly right in the end. Still, I was sad that I had missed that beautiful scene and decided I would watch for another opportunity to capture it, even if I had to wait until next winter.
You can imagine my elation when I looked out the window on Monday morning to the same beautiful view! I did not dawdle once Youngest had bounded onto the bus and was off for his daily educational adventure. As soon as that yellow beast (the bus–not the boy) lumbered away down the road, I grabbed my camera and ran outside. I was so excited to have a second chance within a week! It’s one of my very favorite winter scenes, and while we usually get plenty of snow, it’s not often light enough to coat each little twig just so. It’s something of a rare treat. Even just two short hours after capturing this, the snowfall had abated and the snow had settled into heavy lumps deep in the crooks of the branches. I’m so glad I caught the image of each individual twig on every single branch lined so delicately with thick pillows of snow. It’s just so pretty!!
Since that missed opportunity a couple of weeks ago, my mantra has become capture it now. I was super lucky to have a second chance is such a short span of time. But sometimes now is just not possible. The camera, when put away, takes time to pull out. I’m finicky about lenses. I need the light to be right–not too harsh but not too weak. I have learned, though, that waiting for the perfect moment also means I must stop at the perfect moment to take the time to preserve the moment. I do when it works, and other times, I focus on my must-dos and file my wishes away for a little later. While I want the photos for this project to be on a more professional level (ahem…not taken with my phone), it’s definitely a commitment to crack out the big camera and get the job done. Sometimes I will pull it off, like I was able to this week, and sometimes I will pick a different everyday moment to share, like I did last week. Flexibility.
For preserving the story of our life, though, I don’t always want to be flexible in that way. Big commitment with gear or missed opportunity–those are two extremes, and I have learned that I’m happier somewhere in between. This is why the vast majority of our day-to-day memories are captured with my phone’s camera. And that is just perfectly perfect, too. It’s also okay when only my memory captures a moment because that means I was fully in it, rather than watching it through my phone screen or from behind my huge camera. I’m still glad I had a second chance with this gorgeousness, though. I’m envisioning a photo display of the seasonal changes our shrub row goes through each year. In this digital era of gadgets galore, how do you prefer to document the daily details? Since my phone does do most of the heavy lifting for us on that front, I’m just thinking that a phone photo project might be fun. Something to ponder!