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Shot Of The Day

Whale Tail

Asking the Right Question

“Unless you ask the right question, Hawaiian people will generally not offer an answer,” declared the cultural expert. As I pondered this mystery, she offered more. “Because, they believe, you are only ready to hear an answer if you know what question to ask.” Trying to get the perfect whale shot in Hawaii, this truism met me practically on the road of life. “Why don’t they jump when I’m ready with my lens? Why do they jump in the opposite direction of my focus? Why do some capture the ultimate breaching whale shot and others miss it? Is it just dumb luck?” When I finally put my camera down long enough to really think about what I was doing and why I was doing it, I started to ask myself if the perfect shot was the point of this experience? It’s not like I was going to be able to do this again any time soon, or maybe never. I was in a boat in the middle of this stunningly beautiful place amongst animals larger than the vessel that carried me and I was more focused on the shot than the experience. Whales were jumping all around me but I was missing it because my eye was jammed into my viewfinder focused on one spot in the water waiting for a whale to miraculously pop up in front of MY eye for MY pleasure and glory. I was missing the shot and the point. I was also asking the wrong questions. When I stopped focusing on the camera and started to focus on the incredible creation playing itself out miraculously before my eyes, I noticed this rainbow storm in the distance. The whole sky was becoming more and more colorful, like someone was painting it for us to enjoy. Not neat and pretty and orderly like the rainbow I would paint, but artistic like nothing man would invent. Only, nobody was focused on it because it was behind the direction of the boat and we were all looking full steam ahead waiting for perfection to show up where we thought it should be — when all the time it was right behind us being painted in the sky. How often am I missing perfection because I’ve decided what it should look like and where and exactly when it should show up? Perhaps that’s the right question? And the funky whale tail? I had no idea that these creatures could have such unusual markings. This is one of the shots I took while totally engaged in the experience and just catching what I could with my camera. It has been merged with the rainbow storm picture to put a period on the whole lesson for me.

Posted: 12 March 2008