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,
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
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!