In this post I explain why I choose experiencing a great moment over taking a great photo. Please see my invitation at the end of this post and seriously consider sharing your story. I look forward to hearing from you!
Last year my family and I had the incredible good fortune to be on a whale-watching tour in Kuai. It was a dream-come-true. Eight of us perched on a yellow rubber boat that seemed too flimsy for hanging around humpback whales, but it worked fine.
Our guide gave us a great piece of advice, “Don’t bother with your cameras. Don’t try to take pictures. You’ll ruin it for yourselves. Just enjoy!”
We watched mama humpbacks with their babies. Because they are in the ocean, we were seeing a lot of exciting flukes and backs.
After two hours, our guide began to turn us back toward shore when a sudden explosion of water erupted directly in front of us. One whale had burst out of the water and seemed to stand on his tail before dropping back into the churning sea. It was breathtaking, a stunning end to our tour, and it lasted less than ten seconds.
I have the picture in my mind, and it will live there as long as I live.
Still, I sometimes regret the photos I never got, the pictures I’ll never be able to share. After years of wandering the neighborhood and wildlife refuges, I have plenty of mental snapshots:
*A morning at Oaks Bottom when I watched a coyote chase down a fat nutria, catch it, and carry it off into the bushes.
*The summer night I saw the great horned owl looking down at me from the top of the redwood next door.
*Dozens of ducklings trailing after their mothers every spring at Oaks Bottom and the Rhododendron Garden.
*The July morning I watched a mama raccoon lead her three little ones into the creek and teach them to turn over rocks and hunt for food.
*The very young coyote pup who jumped out of the bushes, cocked his silly little head, and watched the dog and I walk down the street.
*Every spring when the does finally bring the fawns out and show them off.
*Another July when I accidently confronted a mama raccoon and her babies on the trail at the refuge.
My head is full of delightful fleeting encounters. Maybe yours is too. Photographs are wonderful, but if you have to choose between a great shot and relishing the moment, choose the moment.
Then you can tell everyone about it! That’s what I do.
AN INVITATION: If you have a memory (with our without a photo) please consider sharing it here. Your stories are a gift only you can give and they are more interesting than you may realize. Send me an email or leave a comment here. We can talk on the phone or, if you’re willing, we can meet. I can’t wait to hear your story.