The young man strolled out on the wooden planks of the pier on a calm and clear evening. He had just bought a new camera to fulfill a visual curiosity that had overcome him in the summer of 2008. He had had close to no experience as a photographer, and yet he felt compelled to capture some of what Cape Cod had to offer an aesthete. The sun was shrinking and he knew he had to hurry to capture the “magic hour” he had witnessed with his own naked eye a thousand times… but never for others.
He wasn’t wearing any shoes and the corner of the camera around his shoulder dug his rib. There were no clouds in the sky except the ones that pleasured the ones who looked west. The young man was looking for a fine reflection on the water not unlike a print he had on his wall in high school. It was of a rowboat and the mirror image of it on the grey water had fascinated him. His sister had given it to him when he was young and terribly homesick.
He paused for a moment and was for a moment bewildered, for he had found exactly the subject matter he was looking for after he had wandered only several lengths down the dock. How could this be? It was meant to be.
There was an old and disheveled, yellow dingy motionless on the port side of the pier just waiting to be plucked into a photograph. The lines that stationed it to the dock drooped into the glassy water like old tooth-floss. The dingy looked as though no one had touched it for as century, or it seemed to whisper something of the sort to him. Old algae and barnacle-ridden pilings held these lines out from the dock and gave the dingy the fortitude it would need in blustery weather. A cleat held it all together with a human touch in front of the young man as he reached his point of photographic execution.
He knelt down and adjusted what seemed to be a riddle of a device in hands with shutter-speeds, exposure, pixilation, and many terms he had no idea of how to handle. He sat in a quandary—he was a thinking man—and tried not to dither as the moment could be lost. Time never had so much artistic meaning for him. It was a very new, and all very real. There was an “auto” switch on the camera as well as a flash that might or might not have made his attempt to capture a moment so easy, but he wanted to capture this dingy in his own way. So adjusted a dial to “P” for program and spontaneously began adjusting his camera options, angles, and the way he stood on the pier while took his first “shots”.
By the time he saw the dingy as an awesome reflection on the water with lines, pilings, old salt-box houses, and a light-house in the backdrop, the young man was lying completely horizontal across the pier. He didn’t even know people were laughing and walking over him as they walked to and from their sailboats. He was in a perfect zone, and nothing stupid or extraneous could stop that.
He awoke from his mesmerized state and noticed his ridiculous situation on the pier and then became self-conscious for the first time in minutes—what a shame. And as he collected his ego he walked the several blocks home to view his pictures through the digital screen on his camera. He had no idea what to expect. But he expected his next photo-shoot would be much the same, and much, much, different.
-Mike Head (8/27/12)