Tuesday, June 26, 2012

(still) Learning from the best

In the "in-law" lottery, I was very lucky.  My MIL and FIL were both kind and loving, not critical or judgemental. I enjoyed spending time with them.  

When Dean and Maxine retired they moved a few times around New Mexico and Colorado.  We would take a road trip to see them every year.  Our visits would include tours of the local surroundings. Dean would chauffeur us and Maxine would be our tour guide.  She would tell us every fact, folklore, tip and trivia about where we were going.  She would even tell stories about relatives and ancestors who had traveled or lived there before.  So interesting.  I have forgotten probably more than I remember and wish I could have some how recorded her narratives.

Dean was not only the chauffeur, he was also the family photographer.  He always had a love of photography and made sure to keep his camera near by.  He was the one who photographed the family when we would gather.  I watched him do this and took mental notes to use when I got back home since I was the family photographer there.  

When he was photographing us inside, he would position us approprietly, take a good look, sometimes adjust something on his camera, then bring the camera to his eye, and look a little longer then "click"  done.  Everyone would then resume eating (we were always eating!) or minding kids or whatever they were doing. Dean would turn around after taking the picture and look around the room.  If something or someone caught his eye, he would move to capture that.

We were often outside in the beautiful mountains and when he would take our picture, the procedure would be the same except when he would turn around, sometimes he would walk toward something.  I watched him do this and saw that he was looking intently at the scenery that was around us.  He walked slowly, silently, gazing at the landscape.  Then stop, adjust the camera, maybe take a few steps back or sideways never looking away from the scene he was witnessing, then slowly the camera came up to his eye and "click"  

We have boxes and albums filled with his portraits.  All thoughtfully taken.  We discovered many beautiful landscapes that he had taken through the years in these boxes.  Some are now framed and hanging in my house.  He was a talented photographer.  

He always shot film.  He did occasionally talk about getting a digital camera.  I knew the reason why he wanted one was so he could take more landscapes.  I also knew the reason why he never got one was because he grew up during the depression and could not see spending hard earned money on a new camera when the one he had was just fine.

My picture above was taken the same day I took the sunset shot I blogged about here.  After I was satisfied with the shots I had, I turned around and broke my arm patting myself on the back walked back to the car.  On my way I saw a pasture of cows standing perfectly still, staring intently at me.  Probably saying to one another "there's that crazy woman who went speeding by here so she could take a picture of that old building!"  

Above the curious cows was a pastel sky.  I thought "WOW!" (I'm a deep thinker like that!)

I surveyed the scene before me now.  I wanted a picture of that sky because it was so very different from the one I had just shot in the west!  The one in the west was brilliant gold and orange, it was on fire! Now, this sky in the east was a calm and serene pastel palette. Just like those cows! I wanted a picture of those cows! 
(great! now the crazy woman wants a picture of us! was what the cows were now saying!  yes, I speak cow!)

I took a few steps back, adjusted my camera, brought it up to my eye, took a look through the viewfinder to be sure then "click"

This one's for you Dean.

Do you have someone who influenced you in some way?  Tell us about it!  Show us how you were influenced by posting a picture in the gallery!

Dont' forget to add your In Focus shots too!  The June theme-Attraction to Abstraction is coming to an end!  Be sure to tag your shots "ATA" for In Focus comsideration!

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing."  ~Albert Schweitzer



Dotti said...

Such a nice tribute to your in-laws! And, yes, you were very lucky indeed. And then doubly blessed that your FIL loved photography, such fabulous inspiration for you. I love this picture. It looks like quintessential Texas to me. And the softness of the sky is to die for!!!

Extra big hug today, my friend! (wink, wink)

Kim Stevens said...

Oh I loved this story, very heartfelt indeed. And thank you so much for coming to my rescue!! xo

heyjudephotography said...

What a beautiful story, and a beautiful image. It's sweet that you remember how he used to survey the scene, so to speak, before shooting, and now you find yourself doing the same. Good job Linda.

terriporter said...

How wonderful to have someone in the family to inspire you! My mother-in-law did give me my first camera but it was one handed down from her father who I never knew. She never used it and so she gave it to me. It was an old film camera with the viewfinder on top that you looked down on to see what you were focusing on. It sparked my love for photography, so it was a treasured gift. And what a treasure that you found some of his photos and have them hanging for you to enjoy! Great story!

Anonymous said...

How lucky you were to have Dean in your life and such a great reminder to slow down and think through things. I'm not very good at that...I'm a quick shooter and I need to take my time. My grandfather was not a photographer, but he was a big art lover. He would spend hours telling me about each piece of art in his collection. He would tell me when and where he bought it and there was always a great story behind it. He passed away 6 years ago and I have some of his art and I cherish the stories behind them. The art is alive to me with stories of my grandfather and that is how I hope that my photography will be to my children and grandchildren.

Cathy H. said...

It sounds like he was a very special person! I love how you watched and learned from him! I was influenced into photography by my uncle. I'll just go ahead and say it right here, he was my favorite uncle, my hero and someone I admired!! He was the photographer in the family! Even as a small child I remember his camera hung around his neck at all our family gatherings! When he died he gave each of his neices and nephews a gife of money. I used mine to buy my first DSLR camera, my first and second macro lens, my camera bag and tripod! When I'm out shooting I thing of him so much and often wonder how Uncle Harry would take this shot!! Great post, Linda!

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