“You can take moon pictures with it.” Said my friend. That sounded such a cool thing to do. I had never taken a photo of the moon.
In fact, I had never even considered the possibility of taking a picture of the moon. For the previous eight years about 90% of the photos I had taken were wobbly one handed snaps of my son alongside associated toys, friends and relations. The other ten percent were indistinguishable blurs. They were all taken on my phone, at a time when phone cameras were not so good as they are now. I was quite busy at the time (mainly working and playing with Lego and trains) so on my way back from my friend’s house I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t need that moon camera as I would never have the time to use it. Having made that logical decision, I went online and ordered one.
The camera arrived. It was a bridge camera, with a serious looking chunkiness about it, and lots of dials that I didn’t understand. After taking some cursory snaps of the bathroom door to check that it worked, I began a campaign of scaring the neighbours by standing at the window with my camera whenever there was a pretty moon. I took some terrible shots, and was very pleased with them.
Luckily for the neighbourhood, after a few months I realised that there were an awful lot of other things that I could try to photograph quite conveniently. I live very close to Southampton Common, and could make it a part of the journey between dropping my son off at school and getting to work. The Common became, and still is, my go-to photography location. I haunted the swans on my way to work and was excited when the heron was there on my way home (never mind that he never sat still for a photo, I could aim my camera at him and get cross). My small collection of very bad photos grew by the day and I was delighted by it.
Then tragedy struck. I was with a friend and our children at an event of some kind in the city centre, with face paints, bicycle tricks, football kicking opportunities, a few bands, and lots of beautiful sunshine. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the clouds rolled in, the heavens opened and we were attacked by lashing of hail. The crowds scattered, desperately seeking safety. My friend and I ducked under an inadequate awning outside a restaurant, covering the three children with two ineffective emergency ponchos. As quickly as it had departed, the sun came out again, and we all went back to having fun, but my poor camera was dead. It never recovered. But by now it was too late for me to escape: I was addicted to taking pointless photos on the Common, so the mental debate as to whether to get another bridge camera or a DSLR began. The DSLR won, bringing another steep learning curve with it.
By 2015 the hard drive of my laptop was half filled with photos that served no obvious purpose. My husband had bought me a subscription to a photography magazine, which informed me that if I found myself in this situation I should consider making some use of them by joining a site called Dreamstime. I duly uploaded about five photos, got distracted by other things, and forgot about that idea.
Two years later, prompted by a pile of full SD cards and an increasing number of people asking me: “What do you do with your photos?” I decided that I really should give them a purpose in life. I vaguely remembered that I had once planned to join Dreamstime. Imagine my surprise when I found that I had a Dreamstime account and that two of my three accepted photos had been downloaded twice each. I took this extremely slight success as a personal invitation to irritate the review team by downloading most of my hard drive into their busy lives.
Two weeks later, I have about 280 photos on the Dreamstime site. As a happy side effect, I have freed up about five SD cards by deleting some unrecognisable rubbish. This all gives me a new reason to go and harass the wildlife on the Common once my son goes back to school in September, and look forward to those cold early mornings in winter when I can sometimes catch a sunrise on my way to work. I might even take a moon photo or two, for old time’s sake.
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