I am talking about your photographer world and your loving husband world. It’s the age-old case, the classic moral dilemma, the situation ethic, the ego vs. super ego, good angel on the right shoulder and demon on the left. What is a photographer to do when faced with this paradox that could end all of humanity (or at least his humanity)?
My wife and I were driving through the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington, KY last evening. There had been a storm that had just passed through and the sunset that followed was beautiful and there was dramatic lighting all over town. So in photographer world, there is a great need to park the car and start taking pictures of something… anything… in this lighting.
Unfortunately, we were road- weary from a long drive and wanting to get home. We had to make a stop in Lexington to drop off some precious cargo and we had just started back on the road. In the loving husband world, we were trying to get home to watch a) the recorded seven-hour US Open golf championship or b) the newest episode of “Madmen”. Both were equally important but not exactly in the same order for each occupant of this automobile.
Now I have had much experience in the past in dealing with these emotional- erupting,cosmic calamities. I am usually able to avoid them by focusing my telescope on the beautiful heavenly body sitting in the passenger seat and gauging the path of her orbit. It usually has to do with the level of gamma rays emanating from a face-melting stare that gives me a clue as to whether I should stop for that photo.
I am sure photographers have been faced with this unfortunate situation since the dawn of man, when Og would stop the family mammoth on their way to the in-laws for Thanksgiving and chisel out a beautiful sunset on the ol’ Kodak Kodastone.
One particular world-colliding event my wife and I survived had been on a trip to California. We were driving on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway on a sun-bathed day. We were heading to San Francisco. My loving radiant wife was a few months pregnant with our first child and had that other-worldly glow. We came upon a Winnebago that was moving at the speed of my ability to determine changes in my wife’s mood.
With some deft driving skills I passed the mammoth-like vehicle on the curvy road…only to find a spot to pull off for a once-in-a-lifetime photo. As I was putting my camera back in the bag, my heart sank as I saw that Winnebago drive slowly by. My wife had a loving, eye-rolling smirk…so cute.
Again I found myself behind this slow moving behemoth and after drafting him for about ten miles at about ten miles per hour, I finally made a move reminiscent of James Bond on an Italian mountain road. I waited until I knew I had put enough curvy black top between me and the Winnebago and pulled over for another once-in-a-lifetime photo. Much to my surprise, the Winnebago went lumbering by. My wife had lost the smirk… and the eye roll. Now it was just eyes without the roll.
I swore to my wife I would make this good and maneuvered my powerful four-cylinder rental around this bliss-killing sloth a third time. When I pulled off to take another once-in-a-lifetime photo, I did not have to see my wife’s expression…I knew. She said something about Shirley MacLaine not having as many once-in-a-lifetime photos. Meanwhile there went the Winnebago….and there went my wife’s glow.
I took this shot yesterday of the cupola atop the Lexington Theological Seminary. I only tweaked the contrast and exposure during editing. The colors are natural. My wife was supportive because she was already asleep.
This is not a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I am not allowed to take anymore of those.
If you like this photo, you can see more here.