Early Morning Adventure

I got up super early this morning and took the camera out. I am not one to get up early unless I have a good reason, and this morning I wanted to get to the creek before all of the swimmers and fishermen showed up. It is so peaceful in the early mornings with the sounds of the water and the birds. I even heard an owl and some frogs. And you can’t beat the smell of a creek. It brings back so many memories of fishing and swimming as a kid.

I arrived at the creek around 5:15am and it was still pretty dark. First, I walked around with my camera and an 18-55mm lens and scoped out the best place to set up. I did snap a few pictures of the clouds and the light reflecting in the water.

I picked a place to set up the tripod and camera to try some long exposure shots of the water flowing over the rocks and began shooting. I used anywhere from 1″ to 4″ shutter speed with a very low ISO to create the smoothness of the water. I switched over to my 70-200mm lens so I could zoom in on the “rapids”.

For long exposure photography, it’s really important that the camera doesn’t move while the shutter is open for extended periods. Instead of using a remote shutter release, I used the shutter timer for these shots. It’s a pretty simple trick to use if you don’t have a remote handy.

I had around 30 minutes of some great light for long exposures before I would have had to get the ND filters out of my bag. This was the perfect time of day for creating these shots!

This last photo is how the creek looks using “auto mode” to capture the scene. Still beautiful, but I love the smoothness the long exposure created.

While I was shooting this morning, there was a crane on the other bank looking for breakfast. The lighting wasn’t good enough to get a photo of him without using the flash and scaring him away. Maybe another time.



Monday Motivation

It’s Monday morning. Again. But it’s not any ordinary Monday morning because today I got up early to write. I’m sitting in a dark, empty cemetery, watching the sun come up and writing. Sounds morbid, I guess, but also very motivating.

It’s motivating because no matter how long you live, life is short. Even if you get 100 years, which is good by today’s standards in the US, it’s still too short to do, see, and be all the things that you want to do, see, and be. And if you have idle years where you are just coasting through, well, it’s even shorter.

I’ve done that. So many years I have done that. I have been that girl just coasting through. I haven’t done what I wanted to do or gone where I wanted to go. And I am nowhere near who I want to be. So many times, I’ve settled because going for what I really wanted seemed hard. It seemed risky, and I’ve never been good with risks.
But this morning I woke up early because I’m ready to take a risk.

Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to be a writer. It’s documented in yearbooks and other memory books from my childhood. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “writer” (after the brief time in my early life when I said “singer”). It’s why I paid attention in English class. Because, let’s face it, why else would you pay attention in English class? It’s why I love to read. I’m not just reading for pleasure, I’m researching for what I want to do with my life. I’ve put a lot of effort into this thing already, but then I just let it set idle. Why would I do that?

Because I was scared. Even in this day of blogs and the internet and self-publishing and all the other ways to get my stuff out there, I was scared to do it. It was too hard and too risky and so I just didn’t. I went to work as a preschool teacher every day instead. Which, by the way, is one of the riskiest things a person could do with their life. There are tears and snot and mysterious wetness and weird smells that come from these little people. And they have no filter. They tell you exactly what they think and they don’t feel bad about it. Risky business.

So this morning, I woke up early to write before work because I’m safe. I can do this. I’m sitting in the dark cemetery because it reminds me how short life is and it motivates me to start doing and going and being me. If you could ask the people whose lives these headstones represent what they regret from their lives, I think the most popular answer would be that they regret what they didn’t do more than what they did.
I could be wrong, but what if I’m not?