The Joy of Picture Taking

    I paid one dollar for my first camera. (I was about twelve.) The negatives were the size of my thumbnail, and the black-and-white prints were less than 2 inches square. Light often leaked in and fogged the pictures. I loved photography, even as a young teen, and was thrilled to have a camera of my own. But to develop the pictures cost money and often I ended up paying for a set of blurred, streaked, unusable photos. That camera was more toy than instrument of art.

    My senior year in college, I acquired a real camera, a Yashica twin-lens reflex. I used it to take color slides which I shared with the children in my classroom when I began teaching. My husband didn’t take many pictures, but he liked cameras and for years kept us supplied with the latest in technology. When he passed away, I stayed with my tried-and-true film camera, years after everyone else had gone digital.

    But when my old Rollei showed signs of aging, I gave in and bought a Panasonic digital. I love it! Taking good photos is as easy as learning to use the dozens of menus in its little digital brain…well, that part’s not really easy. I haven’t yet learned all it’s programmed to do. But it takes good pictures. And when coupled with my computer, the sky is the limit as to what I should be able to do with my photos.

    Yesterday was February 1…as far as I’m concerned, the first day of the last month of winter. The sun shone, a good reason to declare a vacation day. Hank and I tossed the camera bag and tripod in the backseat and set off to see what the Skagit valley had been doing over the recent long stretch of rainy weather. The flat green farmlands of the delta are at sea level or maybe lower…we could see the waters of Puget Sound beyond the dikes. The soil is so saturated the rainwater can’t soak in, even though farmers plow drainage ditches across their fields, so the water sits atop the ground like a sopping washcloth on a countertop. Everything glistened. A good day for picture taking!

 Here’s a Great Blue Heron looking for something to eat in one of those fields.

And here’s one of the many eagles we saw, posing for photographers.

    This is the Lutheran church near Edison, with Mt. Baker watching over the valley.

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