Yesterday, I was listening to a wonderful song by Oscar Hammerstein / Richard Rodgers and performed by Julie Andrews –
Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things …
Yes, these would be favorite things for most and make anyone feel happy. For the photographer in me, there are a few other favorite things, that never fail to exhilarate me.
(Photographing grapes while they remain untouched by human hands and then tasting a few, fresh off the vines!)
The leather camera cover – A habit from the film days! I still use leather camera covers on my camera bodies. Sometimes, I end up paying a premium for these. My favorite covers come from ‘Gariz’ (Gariz – Australia – link opens in a new tab). The faint smell of leather polish hits that nostalgic string in my heart and makes me feel happy just while holding the camera. The comfort that my hand feels is the added advantage. After all, it is said, the more comfortable the camera, the easier it is for the photographer to connect with photography.
Image coming into focus, by manually focusing – Who wouldn’t love that? That gratifying feeling when the image slowly comes into focus, while I turn the focusing ring on the lens! Autofocus can never come close to that. I have replaced the focusing screens in most of my cameras to the ones from film days, with split image and micro-prism focusing aids. Now, that’s fun combined with utility! (Staying Focused)
The reassuring clicks – The sound from the lens getting locked into its mount, sometimes the clicks from the stops in various dials on the camera body and the aperture ring (though I rarely use it since for most lenses, I control the aperture from the camera itself), and even the mirror slap and shutter curtain sound… these all are some of my favorite sounds. In the still of forests, near the gurgle of a mountain stream, accompanied by crinkling leaves under my feet, or along with the distant chirp of the birds on a silent mountain top, these are a few sounds that I love to hear.
The bliss of slow shutter speed – Low light conditions and the need for a deep depth of field is not always met by high ISO. Reducing the shutter speed is required. The boost of confidence that I get from a sharply captured image while hand-holding the camera at low shutter speeds, makes me feel nothing less than a super-hero. Rock-steady hands! It’s pure bliss.
Compositions that excite – Some compositions always excite me – portraits of smiling kids or old people with a twinkle in their eyes, motion blurs of moving water, sunsets with their vibrant palette of colors, a sharp image of a beautiful butterfly, minimalistic photographs of old heirlooms, layers of low lying scattered fog with hills popping out on top, the sun rays streaming down through trees, beautiful wrinkles on the old lady who sits outside her house…
… Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver-white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things …
Different times of the year – The seasons change and so does the landscapes. Dry land turns a splash of wild green with the rains and then gets covered in haze. Seeing the same place in different seasons, experiencing the change excites me. The forest trail which was covered with new grass and wildflowers just a few months ago is now slowly and slowly getting colored with reds and browns of early autumn leaf-fall. Nature is beautiful. Same location, same angle, and yet an entirely different photograph!
Enjoying nature – Photography takes me to place and I end up enjoying nature. The gentle caress of the cool breeze on a mountain trail soothes me. The fine spray of water droplets on my face during a drizzle or on the seaside refreshes my soul. The fine sand massaging my feet, while walking barefoot on the beach, with the camera dangling on my shoulder… what more could I ask for? Walking past the tall grass in a field, the faint smell of foliage and the gentle touch by florets enchants me. Yes, the way nature touches me is one of my favorite things.
Being in the Zone – With the camera in my hand, composing the photograph, perfecting the shot… I get into the ‘zone’. I am totally in my own world. Just the camera and the photograph that I visualize is there. Nothing more. I lose track of time. I become deaf to sounds around me. Is this my way of meditating? This is what makes me happy. I enter the zone and there’s pure bliss all around. Just the feeling that I am going to photograph something makes me happy! (Quest for Happiness)
(Gentle breeze touched my face while I photographed the sun-rays falling on the ethereal mountains covered in fog. Capturing Sun-rays)
What is it that you enjoy the most? Sit back and think. Next time when you take out your camera and indulge in photography, enjoy each and every moment and sure enough, very soon, you too will be singing that these are a few of my favorite things!