Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blackberry Picking and Abstracts

What does picking blackberries have to do with abstracts? Perhaps a better title (certainly more informative;-) would be, "How to bring home some abstract photos by listening to your wife!" Hot on the heels of my last Blog entry (which also credits my wonderful wife with getting me into position to get some shots despite myself by insisting I take my camera, when I professed "lack of muse", and didn't want to bother), my wife is to be credited with again reminding me what every photographer (except this stubborn one!) knows; namely, that photographs are everywhere.

The context for this latest denouement (i.e., and my embarrassing inability to learn this one basic lesson) was a simple, lazy Saturday. The sun was bright, the kids were anxious for something to do outside, and my wife was full of interesting ideas. "Let's go blackberry picking!" she suggested, something we had actually never done before. I was delighted to tag along; indeed, because of the horrible "photographer's weather" (i.e., bright sun, few clouds makes for ugly contrast-ridden shots; at least in general), I had already consigned the day to be "photo free" and braced myself for an onslaught of the obligatory photographer's lament and pouting about "another day lost". However, as always, my wife was far wiser than I: "Hun, you never know what you could find. Isn't that what you always tell me? Why not take your camera." As on our recent trip to Florida, I relunctantly grabbed my camera bag, but was inwardly smiling with the thought, "Yeah, I'll take it, but I won't be getting any shots today!"

So we went berry picking, my wife and kids loved every minute of it, and we now have more berries than we know what to do with. As for me, I knew I was in a photographer's Shangrila the moment our minivan sauntered into the dirt parking lot of a local organic farm. While my wife and kids were gazing out toward the berry patches, my eye was drawn to old tractors, farmhouses, dilapited storage bins, deserted cars and trucks, vine-entangled old windows and beat-up farm equipment. "I'm so glad I decided to take my camera along!", I thought (Ahem!;-)

All told, we spent two hours or so at the farm; my wife and kids picking berries, and with me prowling around looking for whatever might catch the eye. The owners were very nice, and gave me permission to roam their property at will. They were a bit puzzled, though, about my subject matter. While I took a few stray shots of tractors and some closeups of hay, I spent far more time admiring one particular section of a half-ajar door (full of other-worldly realms of peeling paint and other mysteries) to a trailer just off to the side from where the owners set up a small table to greet all incoming berry-pickers.

My wife mercifully came to my rescue as the owners' quizzical glances soon turned to outright panic that perhaps the strange man bobbing his head up and down and contorting his body in odd angles while keeping his nose barely three inches from the door is, after all, just a bit deranged. "Please don't be alarmed," she jumped in to explain, "My husband just delights in finding interesting patterns and textures. He lives for doors like this!" (She could have rightly added: "Of, course, he can only do this when he remembers to take his camera, even if it looks like it's a 'horrible' day for photography!";-)


Gary Nylander said...

A great find but of course a great eye too !

David said...

What a wonderful wife you have!

She not only takes you out of the house, she takes you black berry picking, watches your children, and doesn't make you pick any berries.

You get to enjoy a day with your camera.

What's more she encourages your hobby and almost, apparently, forces the good upon you. You have a rare gem there.

I guess the moral here is to always have your camera and keep your eyes peeled (like paint!) for the great shots. (I couldn't resist.)

Andy Ilachinski said...


Not only do you have to keep your "eyes peeled" for photos, but - for you single guys/photographers out there! - you have to "keep your eyes peeled" for wonderful women like my wife! They're rare indeed! :-)