Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Grandfather's Eye (TJEd)

I know it’s supposed to be “she’s got her mother’s eyes”, but in my case (I hope), it’s closer to “she’s got her grandfather’s eye”.

My grandfather was a photographer. And a weaver. Okay, he was, technically, an engineer, but once he escaped his official career, he immersed himself in weaving and photography. He had “an eye” for photography, and an engineer’s meticulous mind. This was an absolutely perfect combination for creating his black-and-white Ansel Adam-style landscapes. Not so great when Grandpa wanted to take pictures of the grandkids. Kids just don’t sit still as long as valleys and trees and waterfalls do. I have several of my grandfather’s prints, and they are stunning in their beauty and composition and quietness. And, I remember, painfully, the day my three brothers and I sat for a portrait done by grandpa. Thankfully, his weavings were of landscapes, and not of children.

Today, it is snowing. This doesn’t happen very often in the Greater Atlanta Area, and my family has spent most of its cumulative life in Southern California in an area where it happened even less often. So, snow, for us, is a Big Fat Hairy Deal. Especially since we are only out in it for short spells, don’t have to work in it, don’t have to commute in it, and don’t have to shovel it. We go play in it for a while, we have a grand time, then we run inside for a hot tubby and a blazing fire. We love it.

But, there is just something about snow falling, and the rapidly changing landscape that impels me to grab the camera and start shooting. I suddenly begin seeing things in a different way, combinations of colors and shadows and textures that are just drawing me to see them. I shot off close to 100 photos in the course of about an hour, creating a visual history of the changes I was witnessing. Then, my camera died. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve the photos I had taken. But, there were still hours of beautiful light left in the day, beautiful children and giant dogs romping in the snow, comically timid cats delicately picking their way through the bare patches, bucketloads of beautiful, fat, wet snowflakes dropping and plopping from the sky. Without my camera, each passing moment, each gloppy slop of wet snow falling, is a moment forever lost in time, except in my own memory. I wish I could go back and catch each one of them, but they are gone.

Note: This was written on Sunday, while it was still snowing. I'll post a few pictures on My Page for anyone who would like to see them. Not all 100 pictures, I promise :)

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