It had been a beautiful hike through the Ozark forest. My camera, a cheap Cannon SLR that I had earned by painting houses all summer, was held up to my face almost the entire way. Though the winds were cold the sky was clear, winter blue. The leaves had already fallen, exposing my shutter to rolling hills covered in a rusty carpet of leaves and massive gray hardwood columns.
I shuffled out of Wal-mart, package in hand. I jumped in my car and began to open it even before I turned the heater on. As my breath fogged up the car I flipped through the stack of glossy photographs. Quickly at first but once I had gotten through them once I went through again, giving special attention to each one.
I was used to this kind of disappointment but it still irked me. I just knew for damn-sure that these pictures were going to be spectacular. Somehow they all looked the same. The lighting was off enough to be distracting. I always have a problem with sunny days. It’s hard to balance the shadows of the trees with the bright patches of sun on the leaves. The great halls of hardwood just seemed to be a collage of bright and shady splotches.
I set the pictures in the passenger seat and drove home. On the way, I glanced over at the pictures again. At least I’m sure that there was something out there worth pointing a camera at.
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