Naked without your camera? Did you miss the shot of a lifetime? I did!

Have you ever been somewhere, and had that perfect shot present itself to you, only to realize you don’t have your camera with you? I recently had an experience that most of us can relate to.

If you will notice, there is not one of my images in the title of this article. I wish there was, but I will try without whining too much to tell you how this came to be.

What was going on?
I recently was on a short road trip with my wife to a neighboring state to do some not so glamorous shopping for some more presentable clothes for me to wear to my brothers wedding. When I was driving down the street from our house at the beginning of this trip, I remember thinking to myself, I should have brought the Alpha 550.

Since getting the “photography bug” I have gotten to where I rarely, if ever travel more than 10 feet from my house without some form of image capturing device. Whether it is my Sony A550 DSLR, the wife’s Sony DSC-W350 the Ipod Touch 4th gen or My Motorola Electrify cell phone camera. Those by the way are in order of preference if I am taking pictures, based on quality and ease of use. Unfortunately on this day, instead of turning around and driving back 2 blocks to the house, I kept going. Telling myself, “There won’t be anything to shoot today anyway.” It always starts that way doesn’t it?

Trip results.
The trip to the city was a good one, we were able to acquire several ‘outfits‘ that would make me more ‘presentable‘ in public, as my wife would put it, and she did.We had a nice dinner, then proceeded on our drive home. Part of the trip to our place involves a scenic drive through a very nice but small Iowa destination called Waubonsie State Park. If you get a chance to visit us in Southwest Iowa, this park will dispell the rumor that Iowa is flat. It also has some beautiful scenery, great hiking trails, equestrian riding areas and a lot more. The Park is located in the Loess Hills, which is a huge formation create by glaciers.. In the fall, when the leaves change, I challenge anyone to find a more beautiful location.

The Park (Waubonsie that is)
The state Park and Rec had recently acquired more land and expanded the size of the park. So I suggested we take a drive through it on the way home to see what all they had done. They had indeed done a lot of improvements to the park that will definitely make it a more appealing place to go, and we even planned a camping trip there later this fall.. As a avid RV traveler, and as a photographer the improvements have given the park a much more attractive appeal.

I Knew What I Was Doing
The sad part of this story is that I knew the park was on our way, and it is one of the destinations on my short list to spend a day exploring and photographing. I also was very aware of how picturesque this place could be. But alas I decided to justify not returning to get my camera at the beginning of our journey, for exactly that reason. I would get here soon enough, probably when the leaves change, was my thinking.

After driving around the park for around 45 minutes, we discovered a new road that tied the new and old lands together. It winds down and around some beautiful ridges and valleys, that range from pristine prairies, barren hillsides too steep to walk on and dense untouched forests.

The Set Up
On one particular section of this drive, coming upon a small prairie area, my wife exclaims, ” Look at the deer honey!”. Sure enough about 50 yards in front of us were two young white tail deer crossing the road off to our right. One a doe and one a stub buck. I slowed the car down to a crawl, and thought to myself  ‘This would make a very nice picture”. Not a great one, but a nice one. I already have some really nice images of  white tail deer, so a few more was nothing to really get too exited about. Around here they are sort of like rats in New York City, they’re everywhere, infesting the fronts of cars and pickups all over the state.

I approached the deer slowly, so as to extend our interaction with them. It was at this point I realized I should have brought my camera. I kept pulling closer and closer to the deer, but they didn’t run off. They just stood there watching us as we rolled right up next to them. The nearest one was 10 feet from my wife’s window in the SUV. The other only a few feet further up towards the front of the car. By this time I have mentally kicked my self in the head a dozen times for missing a really nice and very closeup shot of a couple of fearless deer. But I still wasn’t upset enough to write a blog about it.

Until my wife let out another exclamation, “Honey look at the raccoon!”. Perched on the hill, in a tuft of grass, directly between and a few feet behind these deer, was an adult raccoon, looking straight at us. Picture in my passenger window while looking from the drivers seat. One deer towards the front of the window, one towards the back of the windows and the fuzzy guy with the mask peering at us right up the middle.

The only image device I still had in my possession was the Motorola Electrify Phone. If you have ever tried to get a quick image with a cell phone you are already seeing where this is going. Right as I bring the phone up to snap a really cool image, the Raccoon dives back into the grass, the deer jump the fence and run into the woods, and I am sitting there with the biggest, dumbest looks of awe and frustration you have ever seen on any photographers face.

Yes, I missed a great shot, but it did teach me a very important lesson. Do not get caught anywhere without a camera.  Take it with you always and let it become a part of you. Learn to incorporate it into your attire. It must be available when you need it. That image may not have been Pulitzer prize material, but it definitely would have been on my top ten list of best images, if I had indeed, had been able to capture it. So I guess the moral of this story is always, I repeat, ALWAYS! have your camera with you. You never know when that awe inspiring, life changing image may cross your path, and if your not ready, you could miss it.

Happy Shooting!

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Is an amateur photographer and writer who enjoys sharing information with others. "Technical information sharing is a critical part of helping everyone become a better photographer. If you don't know it, you can't do it!" From Film to Digital, photography has changed a lot, but the idea of learning hasn't.

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