It had been a beautiful clear fall day on the mountaintop where I had been hunting all afternoon for turkey tails but now I was cloaked in a thick eerie mist as I sighted in on the great white shape floating before me. We are not used to such fogs here on the west coast. This was the sort of thing one expected in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia in the fall but here I was on the edge of Esquimalt Lagoon barely able to see 10 meters to where the birds floated and stood in the strange filtered light as I pressed the button again and again choosing new targets and making minor adjustments to my aim.
Suddenly a faint movement to my left caught my attention and a figure mysteriously emerged from the grey her shape distorted by the big lens and camera body in front of her, another photographer come to capture the swans and ducks in this rare filtered light of the west coast fall. We chatted as we waited for the birds to settle and move closer.
The weather, our cameras and lenses, and our reasons for taking pictures all fell within the gamut of our exploration and as the birds did move in and we took some shots to compare the results of pictures taken at the same time and distance. Of course, what you see on the view finder of a digital camera and what is stored in the data buried in the card for later enrichment of the final product is very different, and on first impressions the results were very different as well, but in fact each seemed very appropriate to the reasons we had described for capturing the images in the first place. My shot was very close up and vivid but probably lacked the fine detail for further development as a blowup or cropped professional piece. Her’s was more conservative looking, a slightly distant image but probably rich in detail and depth that would allow further revelation in a more critical medium.
A snapshot and a professional photograph, and this was my introduction to Heather Hess, Associate Editor – Art & Photography for the On Line Magazine for Evolving Minds – Life as a Human to which I am now a contributor. The woody fungi are valued for their interesting shape and colours and believed to have medicinal qualities in the fight against cancer.
All Images Are © Donald Stewart
Donald Stewart Artist Bio
Born Comox, B.C. Canada, Oct. 29, 1950 suffered an amazingly normal average teacher’s 3rd of 6 child’s upbringing; Cubs, Scouts, Sea Scouts, United Church, tons of family outings hiking in summer, skiing in winter, digging, gardening, falling bucking stacking trees year round, tons of free time to spend with friends in woods, on beaches and out on the ocean. Dad’s specialties Math, Biology, and P.E. all constantly before us for those interested. Mom’s French, History and English Lit. always woven into every experience one way or another.
End of grade 10 early left for a year in Europe with my parents and 3 younger siblings to immerse in lots of Museums, Castles, Historic sites, Art Galleries, Hiking, Skiing, Swimming, Youth Hostels, hitchhiking, essay writing, Math lessons, school work and adventure. We visited every country in Europe west of the Iron Curtain, except Luxembourg, as well as Yugoslavia. Spain was still heavily Franco-Militarized but we did it anyway. I had a small compact camera given me by a lady I had gardened for, for several years. The back opened a small window so that I could write directly on the back of the film using a small sharp stylus to scratch the paper backing for dates & key words. I shot mostly slides a few of which are still extant.
On my return I did Grade 12 in Terrace, B.C. with a heavy emphasis on Sciences but my Choir teacher suggested I would lead a happier, more useful life as a Music teacher so I enrolled at University of Victoria’s music program and 5 years later graduated in Education which proved to be a wonderful way to make a living. When my two boys were about 7 and 4, I realized that time was more valuable than money and started working part-time so that I could spend more time with them. Music, and especially singing, has always been a central part of my life. I did a few stints of full time after that but mostly worked 4 days a week leaving me available to go to their schools and field trips and just pull one or the other, or both of them, out of school to do other things. Kayaking, hiking, Provincial Museum, trips to visit my Marine Biologist sister, snow fort building, motor boating, wood working, grandparent visiting.
It was so good that I did that because my older son died at age 23 in a freak ski accident. Now that his brother is having children to be grand children to me I realize even more how lucky we were to have had those rich full years together. And if I occasionally wish I had more money I always think it could never have bought me what I had. So I settle for the $400 dollar camera rather than the $4000 dollar one and am content to take pictures that will never be professional but will make a wonderful record of my life and the early parts of my grandchildren’s.
Contact Donald Stewart at: email@example.com