Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Adventures of Camera-Dad

It’s happened. After years of heavy exposure to the vagaries of the chase, a virulent strain of the Photogiphus bacteria has infected my every chromosome. How do I know? Everywhere I go, I exhibit the symptoms of an ‘imagist’. Take yesterday for example:

Parent TrapJust outside the Girl Scout camp, the growing throng of parents chatted and cackled. For four days, the Moms and Dads had relaxed and worried as their daughters learned the fine art of bracelet-making and bug-killing. Now, just minutes from their offspring’s victorious march into camp, the crowd simmered with anticipation and regret. Not me, though. Bad as I missed my kids, I was too busy reading the room to get all misty-eyed. Drifting through the crowd like a seasoned pickpocket, I palmed my snapshot-camera and scanned the edges of the crowd. Thousands of hours spent documenting assemblies has taught me a thing or three about group-movement and I can’t help but employ my camera-sniper skills at every congregation. Finding a suitable perch by the front gate, I glanced around at the suburban faces and sized up my competitors’ lenses. Imagine how proud my girls must be when they march into camp singing, only to find their grizzled father body-checking a Grandmother to steady up his shot.

Feet CamI guess they’re used to it. The day my oldest was born, I spent the early morning hours riding along with under-cover deputies as they yanked sleepy crack-dealers out of housing project bedrooms. As far as she and her sister know, my job is normal - but what can you expect from kids who grew up with flashy news-units in their drive-way? Dignity? Not when their goofy Dad tends to wander aimlessly in Home Improvement Stores, lost in admiration at how the sunlight filters in through the garden section’s windows. Not when they’re late for piano lessons because their male chauffer fell in behind a screaming fire truck and followed it fifteen miles out into the county. Not when their old man turns even the quickest hike through the woods into yet another fuzzy photo excursion, jostling passing cyclists, just to get one more obscure shot Mom’s never gonna have developed. No, the best my girls can hope for is that Dad will stay on the beat, otherwise will have to satisfy his cinematic jones as only a hobbyist - and nobody wants Daddy videotaping the Prom someday.

Deer DuoNot that I have to be in public to befuddle my kids. You should see the expression on their faces when they see me at home, eyes pressed against the window in an hours-old crouch and muttering imaginary coordinates into the TV’s remote control. You see, a menagerie of wildlife meanders past our backyard creek. With a visit or two to the seed store, I’ve manage to persuade many of them to strike pose in exchange for a morning buffet. Sure, the kids dig it - but for some reason they’re not quite as into it as I. Whereas they favor more energetic pursuits, I’m happy as a lark to camp out at the glass for hours, with nothing more than a lens and beverage. That kind of thing’s normal enough I suppose, but I wonder if pipe-fixers think about proper microphone placement when they go bird-watching? Probably not, but I bet their kids are equally embarrassed by all that plumber’s crack. Anyway, I gotta get back to the view, I’m expecting some blue-jays around lunch and I don’t want to miss a chance to catch ‘em out of focus.

How else do I convince the wife I need a better camera?


Sue said...

"How else do I convince the wife I need a better camera?"

Tell her it makes her look thinner. And younger.

Bluedog Photog said...

Oh come on now Sue... you know the first thing she'd say then is, "why, do I need to look thinner?"

Stew, I've definitely got to link to this post. You've described me and many other a photog with this one.