15 December 2011


I am by nature a ponderer. Winters in my little patch, here in Montana, are the perfect time to catch up on my ruminations. Often the days are so cold it behooves me not to go wandering alone in the forest lest I run a cropper and end up a crispy critter. Lakota, of course, is ever by my side but I’m afraid he might not be able drag me all the way home. I do carry a cell phone but it often has no service. I also carry a GPS gizmo called Spot. Seriously, who wants to hang around in 10 to 20 degree weather waiting to get rescued? Not me. Pondering before the fire has much more allure.

This week I was thinking how much photography is like life itself. We all know that photographs are unique moments in time. As a photographer I know that you don’t ever say, “Oh, that’s cool. I’ll get it next time.” Without living to regret it. The trouble is there is no exact next time. Often there is no next time at all because the scene no longer exists. Even though I know better I have done it a hundred times much to my chagrin. My mother used to say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As usual my mother was right.

What got me to thinking about these things were a couple of photos I came across whilst I was working in my galleries this week. The first image “Kootenai Cabin” is of an old settlers cabin that I found on the trail that takes you down to Kootenai Falls. Fabulous falls if you’ve not seen them. I’ve got photos .... somewhere.

As I was admiring the image I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have it because that particular scene no longer exists. The power company has since come through and made what was once a lovely hiking trail into a road. None of the foreground exists today. That foreground adds immeasurably to the mood and quality of the image.

This next image “River Wreck” is of an old jalopy that somehow fell into the Tobacco River and got lodged in the grass along the banks.

This old guy was wedged into that grassy bank for a number of years. But, last winter was so big, the runoff so huge and the rivers so high this wreck just got swept away never to be seen again. It most likely now rests at the bottom of Lake Koocanusa.  I am partial to old things and I am glad I have this photo because no one will ever get another chance to capture it.

This last image “Winter Camouflage” is of a little gal I came to know as Floppy. She was a blacktail deer who came to visit for several winters. Because many of the same deer return each year to winter some I have given names. Floppy got her name because one of her ear tips was broken and flopped over. Floppy is not here this year and I suspect I shall not have the privilege of her company again but I will always have this extraordinary moment of her existence to remember her by.

What does this have to do with life? I think it demonstrates how we must not take a single moment for granted. Moments are unique and priceless opportunities. We must make the most of each one as it comes. It’s about not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow may never come and no moment ever repeats itself in exactly the same way.

I know I will always miss photos because I was too lazy, too impatient, too distracted. It will be the same in my life. I will miss making the most of many wonderful moments. The best I can say for myself is that I am aware and I will endeavor to make the most of as many moments I possibly can, with or without the camera.

The story of our lives is the sum of all our moments. By paying attention and being present for as many as we can we will be able to live a much more interesting tale. Missed moments are missed opportunities. Capture as many as you can.

©Kinsey Barnard


Michelle B. Hendry said...

Wonderful post Kinsey and so true. I have just been thinking about this myself lately. Very timely. Love that first photo - absolutely love it....

Walker said...

Thanks for stopping by Michelle. I know you are a pigeon for old buildings. ;)