Dad’s nature photography
March 16, 2013
No tribute to my dad would be complete without some mention of his love of photography. Since I didn’t say a word about it in my post yesterday, I decided to continue the remembrance of Dad with a look at a few of his photos. I had to restrain myself in my selections for this post, as his photos are numerous (and that doesn’t even get into the hundreds of slides that are up in the cupboard pleading for my attention).
Dad was not a professional photographer, but he truly loved photography — the root meaning of ‘amateur’, a person who loves what they do. Thanks to him, I have a wonderful photographic record of his years in the RCAF, of his winters in British Columbia, and of all the things he loved — family, airplanes, mountains, ocean, animals, birds, wildflowers, nature of all descriptions.
I remember once when he found a snipe’s nest on a summerfallow field on our farm. He got his camera and walked slowly toward the nest, taking a picture at every step, uncertain how long the bird would stay on her nest. He got some fantastic pictures! That patience stood him in good stead, as you’ll see in the photos in this post.
After he retired, he and Mum went out for drives in the country nearly every afternoon, with Mum acting as his ‘spotter,’ looking for animals, birds, wildflowers. If Mum wasn’t up to going, he’d go out on his own, and, using the car as a blind, he got some great photos.
All but the last photo in this post were taken in 1997 or 1998, when Dad was ‘only’ 84 or 85, but the photography drives continued until he was 93 or so. (He stopped driving when he was 94.) For the beaver photo, he went back many times, until the tree was nearly chewed through, and happened along at the perfect moment. Although these are not perfect examples of nature photography, I think they’re a good testament to Dad’s avocation, nature photography.
As you can see from the picture of Dad at the beginning of this post, he generally used a camera with a telephoto lens. When he went into the nursing home in November 2009, at age 95, he was no longer able to handle such a large and heavy camera. I showed him my little Canon Elph digital camera, and he asked me “Will you get me a little camera exactly like yours?” So I did. He carried that camera in his shirt pocket daily, and took pictures of all sorts of scenes of nursing home life from the vantage point of his wheelchair. Occasionally, he’d be taken out for “walks” in his wheelchair, through the nearby park. He took the photo below on one of those wheelchair walks, at age 96.
Again, my heart is filled with gratitude for all that Dad was, and for the legacy he left — love of nature, care for others, joy in daily life.