That’s The Way It Was Series
My camera seemed to be screaming at me… “SHOOT!! SHOOT!! SHOOT!! DON’T MUDDLE IT UP THIS TIME”!! It seems I might have a unique bond with my camera, and I have often felt like it was “talking” or at least communicating with me, but on this day it seemed to scream.
I was on a field trip with OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) through Casper College. We were at the Mormon Handcart Historic Site southwest of Casper, Wyoming, visiting Martin’s Cove. The class received the VIP treatment as we were allowed to ride on “mules” with drivers who very well informed. These are 4 wheel drive carts much like golf carts with a top over the seats and the sides are open. We saw several interesting historical spots and learned much about Martin’s Cove. If you get a chance, go explore it, but that’s not what I’m writing about.
I suspect many photographers have a unique relationship with their camera, but I don’t know of any who readily admit that their camera “talks” probably because they are too embarrassed. I have named mine “Cam”, not very creative but easy for me to remember. He’s of the masculine gender. Cam and I have interesting “conversations” from time to time. He’s also one of my greatest critics, but that’s ok as I can turn him off when I don’t want to listen — he does have an on/off switch. This time it was not a conversation but a demand.
As the “mule” I was assigned was driven down the path, we saw some American Pronghorns. Wyomingites know them as Antelope or some call them Goats. I thought I’d get the standard portrait type photo, which I did. Cam’s light meter indicated a braced shot at1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 should be ok. I took his word for it as I was in a hurry. Antelope tend to run off when I fool around with the settings for too long. Thus, Cam’s warning not to muddle it. The lens was at focal length 135mm. I made a few photos of this beautiful, large horned, buck who was just standing, posing, and peering at us with a questioning look, as Antelope tend to do. He probably was wondering “what are these annoying humans doing out here riding around in the rain?” Cam agreed.
Without notice the buck planted his hind legs, dug his hooves into the muddy ground, and sprinted off in front of me. That’s when Cam screamed, “SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT AND DON’T MUDDLE IT”. I was already viewing the scene through the view finder from taking the portrait pictures. Instinct or muscle memory or something seemed to kick in as I followed the buck and panned the camera with the scene unfolding in front of me, releasing the shutter button several times in the process. The buck quickly ran out of range. I whispered to Cam, “I think I did it”. (I don’t think anyone noticed that short comment to Cam.) Cameras can’t normally smile but I bet Cam did in its own way. I know I did.
The photo above is one from that short series of shots. His head, eyes, horns, and much of the upper body are in focus caused by moving the camera at the same relative speed as the antelope. His sprinting legs and hooves are blurred as is the background. The blurring gives the photo a sense of motion and action. This is what panning helps to create.
This day gave Cam and I one more fun opportunity together. I didn’t seem to ‘muddle it’.
And that’s the way it was on that cloudy, rainy day in Wonderful Wyoming.
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