The Big Picture
by Pat Piper
In which the author, once again, notes gently that the sun does not rise and set on any single one of us
The sunrise was listed on the weather page of the newspaper as 7:03am. The weather forecast was for clear skies and winds from the north at about 10 knots. The man with the camera knew this would be the day. And at 6:50 that morning, he stood bundled on the North Beach fishing pier with a Minolta and motordrive and tripod and filters and lenses and film. Everything was in order. It was Show Time.
The weather page was right on the money. A few clouds rode the wind, and already the featured guest was beginning a grand entrance with streaks of red and orange light in the sky. The man aimed his camera south of Tilghman Island, setting the tripod angle to capture the horizon in the center of the picture. Around his neck hung a second camera, this one loaded with black and white film.
An outside edge of the sun now boiled above the Choptank River, sending shots of new light across the water and the land. Night was no longer. The river and the water and the land changed with each new brush of nature's paint.
The man snapped furiously. He changed filters as the light became more intense. Then he changed the lens, wanting a wider angle. Then he took the black-and-white camera and shot right into the piercing rays, knowing the contrast with the dark water would create a simple picture. He attached his remote control to the camera on the tripod and set it on auto. Now the shutter clicked every five seconds as he moved around the pier with the black and white to get different perspectives. It was a Kodak Moment, even if he was using Fuji film.
That's when he sensed another's presence. Indeed, standing behind him was a dark figure bundled, as he, against the winter air, wearing sunglasses and leaning on a cane. But there was no time to make chit chat or idle conversation. He hoped only that this person wouldn't start with The Questions: what kind of camera is that? why do you have so many lenses? do you develop your own pictures? why do my shots always have streaks of white light? do you give lessons?
There wasn't a word. Relieved at his good luck, the man continued to shoot pictures, moving back to the tripod and adjusting the angle for the last sequence as the sun moved still higher above the Chesapeake.
By 7:10, the man's work was done. He took a deep breath and leaned against the pier's railing, proud of the fact that he had shot three rolls of film in just a few minutes and had been able to change rolls without incident. It had been an efficient use of time. He packed his gear into a metal case and was about to walk back down the pier when he realized the dark figure was still in the same place.
The cane had a red mark on its tip. The person was blind.
The man decided he would just leave. He had things to do. After all, this fool got out on the pier by himself so getting back is his problem. After all, he didn't know this person from a load of coal. And so he started walking.
"Good morning," came a pleasant voice. It was a woman. She looked toward the water, her face now enveloped in the sun's morning rays.
"Yeah, well, good morning," the man said. He didn't want conversation.
"Wasn't that the most spectacular sunrise?" she said.
That stopped him. Something was wrong with this picture.
"You saw it?" he asked
"Yes," she answered, still looking toward the water. There was a pause. Then she turned in the direction of his voice and asked, "didn't you?"
Editor's note: The sun rises at 7:03am on February 9.
| Issue 4 |
VolumeVII Number 4
January 28 - February 3, 1999
New Bay Times
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