Snaps and tales and puppy-dog trails

This tale is like nesting cups … one story inside the next.

Story 1:

For 14 years, I had a manual SLR camera, a Nikon, that was my right hand. It went near everywhere with me, around the state, the country, the world. I bought the camera with money my grandmother gifted me when I graduated from university. It as a substantial amount and after careful consideration of all possibilities, I decided that what I desired most was a camera. Through the years and travels, I treated it with utmost tenderness, care and respect. There was nary a ding for the love and the passion.

On Christmas Day 1993, my camera was stolen. This was in Japan. I spent most of Christmas alone (after a fight with my significant other) in tiny rural seaside train stations attempting to locate the thief and camera, with stationmasters' assistance, sobbing.

It was gone. My heart was broken, my right arm torn off. I never got over the loss. In the years subsequent, I couldn't look at, or for, another camera. Photography vanished from my realm. I spotily subsisted on the disposables and 12 years later finally purchased a failproof point-and-shoot, not for photography but for snaps of shifting abodes for my inquisitive sister.

Story 2:

This past December, my sister asked whether I'd be interested in a camera she has, one of many, that she no longer uses. It too is a Nikon, an FE, the sister series to my FM. I said yes. The camera arrived, with flash, strap and telephoto lens, well protected in a box about a week before Christmas. Though it was not intended as a gift, I waited until Christmas Day to open it, a symbolic gesture toward healing.

Story 3:

Last weekend, the dreary winter gray finally lifted, giving early glimpses to the coming of spring, sunshine and blue skies that for months on end we rarely see in the Pacific Northwest. Happy celebrants poured to the waterfront at Ruston Way, I among them. It felt the perfect occasion to take the camera out for an initiating spin.

It's like having a new member in the house. It takes a while to get acquainted … to know each other. Additionally, I've never worked with a telephoto lens (my prior lens was a 50mm) so there's definitely a learning process/curve.

Story 4:

Which is where you come in. I culled from the pile of "educational shots" those that capture reasonably okay my first walk along the waterfront this year, and in a good long while, my most favorite outdoors place in all of Tacoma. The sunlight stirred me from my hibernation. It was time to go greet Water. To see the dogs. The pedestrians. The changing of light and scents. There are docks for fishing or canoodling or a fine take-out sandwich from the local Magic Sandwich Maker or cold brews, clam chowder and burgers if you're willing to pay a pretty penny for the view. I wasn't but I know they're there for another time.

So take a tour through the experimental snaps from the "new" camera of the new season at the waterfront. (Among lessons learned: a telephoto most definitely is not like the standard lens and a light filter would be oh-so-nifty to have.)

The signs of winter against the backdrop of hints of spring … water and sky, visible…

Harbor Lights, an aging joint frequented by the locals where, I'm told, they make a mean cocktail …

This stopped me in my tracks. Am I the only one who sees an Asian watercolor painting of a woodsy mountain range against a sky of liquid drifting clouds?

Oh, looky! Puppy-dog trails! Life is good.

Rolling water. Hi water. I remember you …

Water coming my way …

Shadow and light. It's what speaks to me most in photography.

The antique firefighting ship. Best seat in the house! (If you squint, you can make out the moon just to the right of the scope.)

Now shifting to my favorite time of day as the light of dusk dances on the water.


Ah, there's my port of Tacoma … (I wasn't aiming for inclusion of the two geese in flight, they just barged in … đŸ™‚ … perfectly fine; on the right is Mount Rainier in her snowy gown.)

Water. Just water. I never forget where I am (or what it was like without it) …

As the sun sets and the chill nips, I close with my prayers at the shore. And like a mountain climber, I plant a flag beside a mossy brick to say "I'm here!" I got lucky finding a double shell intact and opened and a stick with a tiny notch to hold it. No sticks or shells were harmed or altered in the creating of the flag for a waterbaby.

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