I need to start taking my camera with me wherever I go. I missed a ton of photo ops recently, several in one day.
This past Saturday morning, I took Psycho Kitty to the vet to get her yearly shots. She must be tricked into the carrier, which involves setting it outside near her food dish for a few days so she forgets about it. Then comes the luring with treats, a kiss and pat, and poking her inside before she realizes what happened.
I got to hear about it the entire way there, too. Once in the exam room, she clammed up. The doctor was very nice (why do I get a different one every time?) and the actual shots went smoothly. As he was preparing the flea treatment, she did something so cute I nearly died.
This unsocialized, play-impaired, half-feral kitty scooted over on the table, tucked her head into my hip like a frightened two-year-old, and stayed there. I patted her gently, spoke soothingly to her and WISHED LIKE HELL I’D BROUGHT MY DIGITAL CAMERA WITH VIDEO FUNCTION.
- Reason Number One: Moments. When cuteness / astonishing feats / a horrible accident strikes, it pays to be prepared.
After returning Psycho Kitty to the house where she promptly disappeared under a bush, I drove to Branson, MO to find the small airport recently constructed there, from which I will soon be flying to see Certain Someone. The town is located in the picturesque hills near where I live. It’s easy to find, but the airport was another story.
The views were spectacular. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Ozarks, but they are very pretty. Not on the scale of Yosemite’s craggy peaks, they are more like the gently verdant mountains of eastern Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
I drove and drove and drove, past town and all the way to Hollister until I missed the turnoff—damn tiny signs! Since the airport is privately owned, I guess they don’t have that much traffic, and figured they didn’t need anything bigger. The road winds in serpentine curves in and out and back on itself, and seems to never end.
I finally found it in deep within an exclusive area of golfing communities, after following an annoyingly slow pickup truck for several miles. The road is blasted through the mountains in spots, and you drive through walls of glowing, otherworldly yellow rock, half expecting to see Kirk and a redshirt appear. I promise, I’ll take my camera when I return.
- Reason Number Two: Scenery. You never know when you will happen upon something naturally spectacular.
While I was there, I thought I might as well go to downtown Branson and hit the flea markets. There were a ton of people there, as usual for a tourist destination in the summer. Cars parked everywhere, oblivious pedestrians strolling across streets and into the many little shops in the historic buildings.
In Branson, you have a mix of tourist crap and historic stuff. Everything is geared toward visitors. The people are very nice.
I found a flea market I’d visited during the 2007 ice storm, and a couple of others. I think one of them, in an old building that used to be a feed store in 1918 when it was built, might be haunted.
The entire building is decorated—floors, walls, etc—in conflicting designs. Anyone who has seen flea market booths with painted floors knows what I mean. Somehow it doesn’t make your eyes bleed.
At the back is a set of creaky stairs and at the top, a large room. I went into the room and immediately stopped. It felt funny. I wasn’t sure why, so I ignored it and looked around. In the back left corner, I saw an item that interested me. Standing in the corner gave me a very strange feeling, not sinister, but sort of a breathless, choky feeling, as though I needed to move. I could not concentrate on the item.
I left the room and went to another upstairs, but it was uninteresting. To test my experience, I went back and stood in the corner again. Same feeling, same need to move. Okay, time to go.
- Reason Number Three: Paranormal. What might my camera have captured had I taken a picture in there?
The proprietor said I wasn’t the first person to describe that sensation in that room. Ha! Vindication is mine. I knew something was wonky up there. He didn’t know why it was so, but he said “I believe in such things.” I do too.
Writers should keep a camera handy. Pictures can jumpstart your imaginative process. If you have a personal anecdote that goes with the picture, that’s even better. Digital cameras are cheap now; you can buy a decent one for under $100, with a video setting and autofocus. They’re tiny and go in a purse, backpack or even your glove box. No tricky film, no difficult settings; the instruction books help a lot.
If you have any suggestions for taking great pictures, please share in the comments.