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Age and pursuit?

 

Canadian Rockies at Sunrise
Canadian Rockies at Sunrise

I am at that awkward stage of aging where I sometimes forget about it, usually while in pursuit of an elusive photo with a rapid expiration date.

It wasn’t until I was forty-three when I took on the task of fatherhood. Another task I added concurrently was to not appear to be the old guy to my young son Scott. I went too much pain to appear to be fifteen years younger, activity wise, than the weary carcass beneath the weary smile. Oh granted, pretending to be younger made me healthier. Oh, except for the breaking and training of the horses, which made me less healthy, incongruently while making me appear more virile.

While teaching my younger boy Cody how to run barrels on horseback, my young, and green horse as horses do, freaked out and threw me. When you get thrown from a horse, for the sake of training of the horse, you must get back on or they learn a bad lesson. The horse wasn’t the only student in the arena; Cody must learn that as well. So after catching my breath a search of my soul for a bit of nerve, I climbed back on and fifteen minutes latter the lesson was over. A healthy rotator cuff had also met its end.

One day after hiking with a 3,000-elevation gain with my son Scott, a couple of hundred yards from the car Scott asked; “What are we going to do next dad?” With self-loathing, I replied; I’m going to go lay on the couch. I could have really impressed him had I climbed the other mountain.

One autumn while crossing Owl Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, after a fresh skiff of autumn snow, I saw a porcupine cross the road. Porcupines are a tough photo find, I hastily parked, grabbed my gear, and flew down the hill with all the enthusiasm of a twenty-year old after a hot girl on a Friday night.

With all the aplomb of someone whose muscle memory remembered their agility of yore, I deftly caught up to the porcupine then commenced to coerce a smile from the camera shy little beast.

When my portrait work was finished, was the moment the old man in me showed back up. I gazed up the hill I had exuberantly flown down and had an age appropriate groan. I then started moaning and groaning, slipping, and sliding, and falling. I sure could have used that muscle memory and agility of yore that deserted me following my pre-photo adrenalin, as I ascended the muddy, snowy hill. I didn’t know it at the time, but during one of the slips I damaged my shoulder, most likely the left rotator cuff. Now it matches my right rotator cuff I damaged getting bucked off the young horse a decade ago. Now my back goes unscratched. Sometimes I go about balance all the wrong ways.

While leading a Grand Teton wildlife safari one day I saw a cowboy riding through a heard of bison with the Grand Tetons towering above. A great photo could be had if I could muster up some speed. I briefly told my guests how lucky they were to see such a rare sight. After due diligence, guest wise, I then grabbed my camera and ran to a good vantage point and started shooting, the rider was moving quickly requiring me to do the same. Major huffing and puffing rapidly followed as I ran north trying to keep the cowboy and bison squared up the Grand Tetons beyond. You shouldn't have a subject exiting a photo, they must be moving into it, requiring me to keep the rider in the left side of the frame while keeping the tallest of peaks in the center. One of my guests got a kick out of my weak effort and huffing and puffing, which could be heard from dozens of yards away, he jokingly hollered; “Want me to bring you an iron lung?” I got the shot! I latter I recovered my wind without the help of an iron lung.

On an early summer morning in Canada’s Jasper National Park, my friend Jim Osterhout and I were pursuing reflections of Mt Edith Cavell upon the glassy waters of Lake Cavell. We quickly grabbed the easy shots, and then we took off through a swampy overgrown trail with all the determination and gusto of an idiot on a survival show with the cameras running, for the trophy photo over yonder and around the bend. The reflections of a windless morning don’t last for long, so we were in quit a hurry as we had no time left in Jasper for another try. August is berry season in the Canadian Rockies, berry bushes are what had overtaken the trail, grizzly bears love berries. Since grizzly bears love berries, while Jim and I were hustling though the berry bushes, we were making the, due diligence, Hey bear, hey bear yell as we made our way rapidly to our hoped for reflection.

After capturing a superb reflection we excruciatingly made our way through the thick brambles that were oblivious to us while trying to beat the wind to fleeting reflection. As we called “hey bear, hay bear” we sounded more like an easy meal than fearless hikers storming through the forest. Jim and I had a good laugh about this upon reaching the car while also observing that the next time we might consider not wearing shorts before a charge through the brush as our legs looked as though we had been self-flagellating with rose bushes. Upon arrival for our evening photographer’s boat tour to Spirit Island, one of the other guests jokingly commented; “It looks like you have photographers legs.” Until that moment, I was unaware that scratched and bleeding shins and calves had a name.

Today I moan and grown however, the next time I’m racing ahead of the wind to capture the reflection upon a mountain lake, I’m sure the exuberance of pursuit will once again overcome my age. Wisdom is elusive to some of us.

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Attention

I'm transfering the blog from another host server which requires cutting and pasting of 150 articles and new photo layout for all. This takes time. pardon the lack of photos and poor layout until completion.

Daryl L. Hunter

4/6/19