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Nov 23, 2015 by pippalou
Posted in category: Photography

An American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier wrote,"For all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been.'

As a photographer of little repute, I know all too well the sadness of the photo that might have been.

Among my specialties in the realm of might-have-been (mhb) photos is attempting to take pictures of moving subjects – you know,  the sort that put on a burst of speed and move off at the mere sight of a camera.  Not to mention the mere sight of me!

For instance, I may find a cute little squirrel, sitting on the ground, nibbling an acorn, and just as I push the shutter button, Poof!  it disappears in a flash up the nearest tree trunk. Seconds later, it's scolding me from behind the foliage of a high branch. The squirrel is gone, and so is my photo. Goodness, how sad.

Then, there's the airborne bird that flies, flaps, soars across the blue sky as I flurry into action like a headless chicken – hurry, hurry, take off the lens cap, aim the camera, focus, and...too late.  The bird is a tiny speck, dwindling serenely off toward the horizon.

Of course, a stationary bird seems to be much easier. While it perches on a branch or fence or what-have-you, I take my time focusing, setting settings, aiming for a really great shot. At last, I gaze through the lens, and – the bird has flown. I often wonder if they plot against me with those squirrels. I wouldn't doubt it.

I'm a proven expert at the might-have-been situation where I leave my camera at home on the very day I find that 'shot I've been looking for.'

I know what you're going to say – I should take my camera everywhere I go, with no exceptions. And I do...for a while. The trouble is, with my trusty camera by my side, I don't see a thing worth shooting, so I lapse. I start thinking, “What's the use? I've taken it along for the last three months without fail, and I never even remove the lens cap!”

So, the next time I go out anywhere, I don't take it, in defiance! Ha! Just try and tie me to my camera strap!  You can guess what happens – I find a stunning photo op and go home with yet another mhb photo. Will I ever learn?

Of course, I guess the really fabulous shot you take once in a while makes up for a lot of mhb photos... But, think for a minute. Just think of how many more fab shots you might have if you got the mhb ones, too!

No, no!!  We must stop – this way lies madness!  There is no solution. 

I must continue to ride the roller-coaster emotions of the photographer of little repute – occasionally cresting the heights with a superb shot, then swooping down to the valleys, where, with plodding steps and drooping head, I clutch my camera and whisper, “It might have been...”

And if that doesn't bring tears to your eyes, nothing will!

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