This last weekend…Whoops! That was two weekends ago! My busy schedule of other projects that I needed to complete, one being a fun shoot of a beautiful girl and her horse, interrupted my writing of this blog. These interruptions to my well laid plans happen often. I can honestly say I am never bored! Photographers have many projects! Priorities taken care of I now must re-write the beginning of my blog.
My husband and I along with our dear friend Sonia, spent Saturday, June 25th at Lincoln City enjoying their annual ‘Kite Flying Festival’. We have endured the first half of this year of unusually wet weather. Our bodies deprived of vitamin D began to re-energized at the lack of clouds in the sky. The exposed blue sky provided a wonderful background for the colorful kites that flew as an opening act above the assembling crowd of people staking out their individual piece of beach.
Chilly winds, which is typical of the Northern Oregon coast, kept most under cover by way of jackets, blankets and beach tents. A few, mostly the young, could be spotted in their more revealing attire, exposed skin red from sun and wind, as they strutted and swayed in the human way of attracting the opposite sex. I hoped at that age I wasn’t so obvious as these youthful beings, but I fear might have been. Those younger still, also scantily clothed, in the way of shunned jackets and bare feet, ran and hopped about, kicking up sand and squealing with delight at the kites overhead. Many with hand-made kites of their own ran with a hand-held high clutching a short string attached to their kite, that soared and dived erratically behind them, their youthful energy fueling the warmth they needed. Dogs of all shapes and sizes greeted each other in their doggy ways showing signs of excitement in being in this festive environment Nearer to the waves, leash free, they
played in the surf then sprayed a shower of salt water droplets freed from wet fur, on to those close by. I observed all this as we set-up our spot among the throng of fellow beings practicing the
‘Art of Being’. How invigorating!
After staking out our section of sand, I ready my gear consisting of two lens, a wide-angle, and small telephoto, both great for using in what I refer to as shooting from the hip. A tripod in such instances is not practical. To capture excitement and wonder involving an event such as this, I needed flexibility and quickness in my positioning. After taking a couple of test shots to satisfy myself of my basic camera settings and I wandered off to integrate my camera and I with those of my subjects and objects, leaving my husband and friend to enjoy the festivities from their camp chairs and warm blankets on our little piece of beach.
Children fascinate me for they are the true artists in the ‘Art Of Being’, for their minds have not been molded with constrictions of responsible thoughts that plague adults. As I watched their expressions of wonderment and excitement, though tempted, I avoid singling them out to photograph, as it makes most parents uneasy and rightly so. Instead I observed what captivated them and with their expression in mind I attempt to capture an image that will get the same reaction of wonder and excitement from those who view it.
Walking the outer edge of a ribbon-made fence, set-up to discourage the masses from entering the area where they anchored the big kites , one kite-man caught my attention as he held an instrument up over his head. I soon learned he was measuring the winds as he announced they were at 16 knots. He kept checking his anchor and the taut lines leading skyward to a tethered bright red octopus kite dancing in the winds, its tentacles break dancing in time to the frequent gusts. A large colorful blow-fish swam the air currents only a few feet from the sand, dwarfing all that ventured near for a closer look. I did envy those who had video cameras as I attempted to capture the synchronized flying of six kites handled by six people to surreal music. It was a
beautiful sight to see but difficult to capture. I finally relinquished this effort and settled myself on a nearby drift log to enjoy the show.
“I see you are another Nikon-er.” stated a voice interrupting my semi-meditative moment with the synchronized flying kites. That was when I became acquainted with D. Deane Ingram, a fellow photographer who started his profession shooting the Vietnam War. He told me of his job travels all over Europe. How he and his German wife, Ingrid, finally settled in Portland until his recent retirement to Lincoln City. Still photographing, he proudly shared with me some of his work that he carried with him in his gear bag. Our conversation veered toward the digital world of photography and the pros and cons of being a pro-photographer in that field. It felt good to share my love of photography with a fellow photographer.
I ambled back to our spot only to find two famished people who had patiently awaited my return to enjoy the food we had brought with us. I placed my camera in my bag and settled down to eat, all the while scanning for more picture-taking opportunities. Our picnic consumed, a need for a restroom trip delayed, as Sonia and I giggled like young girls over an incident we found ourselves in. Our chairs had sunk deeply into the sand making it extremely difficult to get up. As we tried to hoist ourselves out of our seats her chair tilted as it went deeper into the sand on one side, nearly dumping her into my lap. John was of no help as he found himself in the same predicament. Laughter is the best medicine except when you have to use the bathroom!
As the events of the day drew to a close, we loaded ourselves with our belongings and trudged back to our vehicle. As we walked, a scene had unfolded before us requiring that I again take out my camera. Now I fully understood, the vigilance, of attending to the anchored kites. A kite measuring eighty-one feet long had broken away from its anchor on the beach. It had entangled itself in a tree and power line that edged the beach-front road. Six frustrated men worked to gently untangle the $5,000.00 kite from the tree limbs, wires, and its own tethered ropes. I did not envy their work nor the loss of investment if they were not successful in their endeavor. My need to capture this unfortunate scene satisfied, I was not surprised to find our vehicle with my husband and friend inside driving towards me. They, already loaded-up, had come to pick me up.
The drive home was pleasant as Sonia and I noticed places of photographic interest. My husband focused only on his driving and our destination, could not bother with the scenery we passed, allowing Sonia and I to relax and enjoy the landscape, knowing our eyes and reflexes are not needed to assist him when he is behind the wheel.
With my other current priorities taken care of and my blog completed, a little later than I had planned, I can now return to reviewing and reminiscing that day on the beach at Lincoln City Annual Kite Festival.
by Dee Browning