My kingdom for a “real” camera

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

–Richard III, Shakespeare

As The Beach Writer I spend a good bit of time on the coast, and I spend a lot of my coast time walking. I need and enjoy the exercise, sure, but I walk because it helps me create. As I walk along the beach I see what I can see, and I think about what I can make of it.

Most days I snap an average of 20-50 photos with my iPhone camera, some of which I’ve posted here. I don’t fret about their quality. After all, they are snapshots, a glimpse of what I saw, a reminder of what caught my eye or tickled my brain that day. I don’t usually focus on what I can’t reasonably assume I can capture with the limited capabilities of my “camera.”

That changed last Friday.

I blame the pelicans.

Friday’s walk started out uneventfully. The day was overcast gray and breezy enough to wear a jacket, while not cold enough to stop me from walking barefoot and wading in the surf. In the beginning my husband was walking beside me but then something in the sand caught his eye for a photo and I heard the familiar “go ahead, I’ll catch up.” Soon we were separated by a quarter of a mile or more of beach, and that’s when they buzzed me on the left.

They being the pelicans. A pair of them snuck up from behind, flying no more than a couple of feet above the sand, and passed within 10 feet of me. They flew a couple of football fields ahead and then landed at the water’s edge. They were still there when I reached their landing spot and I noticed that just coming into view in the distance was an entire flock of pelicans mixed in with gulls, terns and skimmers.

The pair basically dared me to take their picture, allowing me to slowly walk within about a dozen feet of them and kneel down in the sand while clicking up a storm with my iPhone. But I wasn’t fooled. I knew I wasn’t going to get anything good. Maybe if it had been sunny I’d have gotten lucky with a couple of shots. But I have taken enough gray day beach photos to know that my iPhone camera can’t handle low lighting and doesn’t have a proper zoom function.

What I needed was the camera and lens that I used when I published the newspaper. That was a “real” camera.

“Where are you?” I asked my husband moments later, having given up on the camera feature and using the iPhone as, surprise, a phone instead. “There are pelicans here!”

Yes, I sounded 12. No, my husband was not shocked. We’ve been married a long time.

As we talked, a jogger approaching from farther down the beach startled the birds flocked ahead and soon all were in flight around, over and past me, making a beeline for my husband.

“They’re coming for you.”

I counted 18 pelicans plus the pair before I lost track. Easily more than two dozen flew past me, the most I’ve seen at one time and certainly the most I’ve seen that close. When I met back up with my husband up the coast, nearly half of the flock was floating just off shore, within wading distance, feeding on something clearly both tasty and abundant.

We watched them together until the wind picked up enough that standing still was undesirable, and then returned home without a single decent photo between us, but at least one shared thought.

It’s time to invest in a “real” camera.

Sunshine State of Mind

Ahh, sunshine. It lifts spirits, warms hearts, and helps everything grow. Thanks to Word Flows it now also graces my blog page.

Sunshine Award graphic

Thank you, Word Flows, for thinking of me and my love of the spotlight, but especially for your kind words about my blog!

Of course these things come with customs, so let’s get right to them.

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award.
  • Write a post about it.
  • Answer a few deeply personal and revealing questions.
  • Pass it along to ten people and let them know they received the award.

The Deeply Personal and Revealing Questions:

  • Favorite colour: Blue
  • Favorite animal: Labrador Retrievers
  • Favorite number: 27
  • Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Tea
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
  • My passion: Writing. It’s always been writing. It will always be writing. Unfortunately for my fitness level, my passion has provoked hours of sitting down indoors. Thanks to my relocation, I have taken to following my passion sitting down outdoors, in the sand near the surf. I am working on writing via dictation while walking on the beach.
  • Getting or giving presents? Giving
  • Favorite pattern: I’m a solid girl
  • Favorite day of the week: Friday, because on that day the weekend still holds all the promise and possibility I can imagine
  • Favorite flower: Lilies…all makes and models.

Pass It Along:
This is where the rule breaking begins, or, to put it in terms relevant to writers, where the taking of creative liberties begins.

I am not picking 10. I am not picking any arbitrary number. Instead, I have decided to pick according to a theme, which, when applied, led to me picking five.

Indulge me an explanation. When I think of sunshine, I think of creativity. And when I thought of handing out Sunshine Award nominations, I decided that I wanted to let that be an opportunity to give a shout out to the creative people who inspire me the most.

At first I thought of calling them my Algonquin Round Table, which in many ways they are. But that would imply that we all interact and fuel creativity in each other, when in reality not everyone on this list knows each other. Nevertheless, each of the people who write the blogs I’ve listed below are creative people who inspire me to write, and to keep writing when my own enthusiasm is running low. I don’t get to interact with most of them offline much anymore, but thanks to social media I get to banter with them from time to time, sneak a peak into their worlds and keep them caught up with mine.

I have known each of these bloggers for many years, a couple going back to my college days and the rest from my former life as a newspaper publisher. In the interest of full disclosure I will say that one is my husband, and the rest are friends who continually inspire me with their writing, sculpting, photography and offbeat perspectives of our world. Their blogs brighten my day, and hopefully will brighten yours.

  1. Oh Goody, another iPhone Photo Blog – I listed my husband’s blog first because, well, I do have to live with him. And because he is #1 of course! Jeff takes pictures of things we walk past together, and then shows me what I failed to see.
  2. Rabbitville Road – Rita is the queen of creativity as a sculptor, fellow writer, and Nana extraordinaire. She not only inspires me to build my career upon my creativity, but is also an excellent role model for blending personal and professional in a way that enhances both while maintaining the boundaries of each.
  3. Life, Times & Memories – Small town journalists have to stick together to survive, even if they write for competing publications, because they all answer to the same readers. That’s how I met Krystal, and though I still enjoy reading her news stories occasionally, I love her blog about daily small town living even more.
  4. Classic Film and TV Cafe – Kent knows what I should be watching, even before I do. Just this morning he posted the cure for my Downton Abbey withdrawal. He’s so thoughtful that way!
  5. Coyote Watches – When I met Bryan at college he was prince of the city. Then and now he reminds me that life is a game we are compelled to play, so why not revel in the wonder of it all?

Note to recipients above: You are not obligated to accept this award. Yes, I know it resembles a chain letter. You can break the chain, or cheat as I have done. The world won’t end and you still get to add the pretty flower graphic to your blog page…but only if you want to. 🙂