19 April 2015

Triumphant Anxiety

Two facts: the batteries in my camera were low, and my camera wasn't in my room.

One fear: a bear would pass through the yard and I wouldn't be ready to capture it in photographs.

I woke up and flung my navy curtains wide. The biggest black bear I'd ever seen was in the back yard. Do I have enough time to grab my camera before it's gone? I debated for a moment and decided yes, I had time if I was fast.

The bear was still there when I got back. I started photographing, hoping the batteries would last, getting closer to the window so I could open it.

Then I saw the bear wasn't alone. There was a lion with a full mane lying on the grass. The pale tan lion was easier to get a good exposure on, so I shifted my focus. Besides, lion! I didn't have any photos of a lion in the back yard.

In my peripheral vision, I saw a group of about 7-10 kids taking photos of the bear and lion with their smartphones. The kids, 10 years old maybe?, were 10 feet away from the animals and getting closer.

"Stay back!" I yelled, "It's not safe!"

The bear and lion ran past the children around the side of the house.

I struggled to put fresh batteries in my camera and dashed downstairs.

The young group was still snapping shots. The bear had disappeared but the lion was lying down again.

Cautiously, I got within 15 feet of the lion and started taking photos. I eased a few feet closer saying, "Hello there," in a soothing voice.

"Hello," said the lion.

I put my camera down in surprise. "I didn't know you could talk."

"I didn't know you could talk," said the lion.

Suddenly the lion wasn't as big as before. He looked friendlier.

"May I take your portrait?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't know. I never look good in photos," the lion answered.

"Don't worry, I'll make you look great."

A year ago on TTaT: Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art

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