Picture perfect

May 14, 2019

I didn’t even notice the foreground, much less think it would add to the Florentine skyline.

Those who knew Carolyn’s travel photos and are now viewing Carol’s on my blog may have noted a marked similarity in photographic eye, color and composition. This has come as a bit of a surprise to Carol, as she has seen several of Carolyn’s Shutterfly books.

“They’re so beautiful and professional,” Carol has remarked. “It was her hobby.”

It was Carolyn’s hobby only because I was not able to convince her to make it a profession for her post- retirement years before she ran out of time.

It could be Carol’s too. She has that photographic eye as well, and I know that by her knowing that I singularly lack that eye. When I show her a picture I’ve taken, it generates one or more of the following range of comments:

A still life worthy of Cezanne (Carol would say I’m overreaching, but I love the way she composed it.)

“It’s out of focus.”

“You cut off the steeple.”

“You cut off our torsos. We don’t care about the steeple.”

“It’s out of focus and you cut off our torsos and the steeple.”

I don’t mind the criticism. As I’ve explained, I’m not looking for anything when I travel, so why would I be able to take a good picture of it?

Carol and I have come a long way, though, in getting our narrative and photographic gears in sync. Initially, I would start writing a blog and ask Carol for a corresponding photo to accompany it. Invariably, she wouldn’t  have it.

“You need to tell me what you’re going to write about, so I know what to photograph.” (See the “I’m not looking for anything when I travel” remark above for insight in why I can’t do that.)

Carol has eventually learned during our travels to ask whether I want a particular photo or not. I’d usually say no, only to ask for that very photo a couple of days later. She’s a quick study, though, and more and more she just shoots the photo and waits for me to ask for it. That’s particularly true when she sees me staring blankly at something knowing full well what I’m staring out at is not registering in my brain.

“Look up,” Carol said to me as we entered the main square in Siena. She knew by my lack of any reaction that I had not seen the stunning bell tower dominating the square.

Getting the setting sun just right to color the houses in a soft pastel

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “We need a picture of that!”

Carol explained she’d already taken three or four before alerting me to the tower’s presence. (Those who’ve read my solo travel blogs of a while back will have a clearer idea now of just how much they missed of all the spectacular sights I didn’t notice, and how much more I’m able to share those sights now, thanks to Carol’s photographic instincts, as well as her broadening understanding of just how much of Europe’s attractions I’m missing on my own. (In my defense, I can tell you exactly what town and what cafe we ate every pizza Carol has photographed on our Italy trip.)

“Heads up, Reid!”

Rather than a traveler, I consider myself a wanderer. Since I’m not looking for anything in particular, I don’t miss it when I don’t find it. On the other hand, it means when I do stumble upon something worthwhile by accident, then it’s really something. And we’re all lucky to have Carol along to get a picture of it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *