Thursday, September 12, 2013

Behind the Photo: A Kayak Story

The other day I posted this picture on Facebook and received a comment about how easy-going Charlie must be. Ha! It got me thinking, though, that we are bombarded with so many photos via social media and the internet every day that we kind of take them for granted. Don't get me wrong - I know there is definite appreciation in viewing awesome photos, but have you ever wondered what it took to get that photo?

I admit, sometimes it's just plain luck when you get a great photo; right place, right time kind of thing. Some people take classes to learn the technical aspects of photography, yet other people spend years learning the craft through trial and error in order to achieve great photos.

I think it takes a little of all three: Skill, practice and luck!

I've been taking photos all my life. Photography is a passion of mine. But I've never been formally trained in this art and I've only just recently purchased a *nice* camera, which I have yet to learn to use properly. Typically I carry my small auto-focus camera on trail hikes to capture a multitude of photos that will hopefully string together a sort of experience for my readers. I like this camera because it's lightweight and it's automatic. However, the lens has become scratched and my photos are showing this flaw more and more... it may be time to suck it up and use the fancy camera from now on. In any case, I'm able to capture some pretty good photos mostly through luck and lots of practice; I also take hundreds of photos and hope that maybe a handful are good.

So I wanted to share with you the story behind the incredibly cute picture of Charlie perched on the front of my kayak.

I've kayaked with Charlie before so this was not her first time. She's a high-energy dog with a short attention span and I realize there is no way I can expect her to sit still in a boat while watching the scenery around her. She LOVES being in the boat but often she'll spontaneously decide to jump out and swim after a leaf or stick floating by in the water. When I kayak with Charlie, I know she's going to be in and out of the boat several times. Typically I end up with more water in the boat than out of it. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure feels that way!

Because she ends up swimming alongside the kayak so much, she wears a Ruffwear Float Coat. Not only does this keep her afloat if she gets too tired but it's also bright orange, making her more visible to other boaters - a safety thing.

Charlie watching her new friend take our picture.

On this particular outing, a family friend was along for the paddle. Charlie LOVES other people and is very social, so the entire time we were out on the lake, she was on the front of my kayak trying to jump onto his kayak! She would crouch up there and tremble and whine anytime he got near us and she even attempted to launch herself into his kayak a couple of times. When he was behind our kayak, she literally tried crawling over the top of me to get to the back of the boat so she could keep him within eyesight.

She fell into the water several times and then immediately wanted to get back in the kayak. The handle on her Float Coat comes in handy for pulling her into the boat and I was fairly proud of myself for not capsizing the kayak in the process. But repeatedly pulling my 50 lb. soaking-wet dog out of the water and back into the kayak caused me to be thoroughly soaked and we had to stop twice to empty the water out of my kayak.

Charlie "saying HI!"

Charlie about to launch out of my kayak... my pants are soaking wet already.

Charlie playing water-fetch with her new friend.

Charlie clinging to the kayak while watching her new friend paddle ahead of us.

Charlie about to launch off the kayak again to catch up with her friend!

I wouldn't have had it any other way - we had an awesomely fun day. I accept my dog's behavior, and quite honestly she provided tons of laughter and comedic relief throughout the day. It's proof that there's a story behind every picture!

Enjoy your weekend!