I am delighted to have my friend, Connor guest post today. If Connor is not one of your regular reads, you must check him out. He will make you laugh. He will both inform and entertain you with his travels and his antics. And his photography is top notch.
Hey folks, I am absolutely thrilled to be able to guest post here on SuziCate’s blog. I thought I’d talk about a common interest, and while we don’t occupy many of the same demographics, we both love to romp around taking pictures. She’s quite a good photographer and I am, well, enthusiastic. So I decided my guest post would be about photography. Sort of.
There’s a story I know.
Supposedly it’s true, a friend-of-a-friend type thing, you know. There was a man in relatively recent history, but far enough back that the empty spaces were much emptier and the endless jungles more endless, who was big game hunter. This is a story about him and a tiger–and an unfortunate goat, I suppose–and just not any tiger, but a tiger the government of India had targeted to be put down, due to its new-found taste for farmers. It was, according to locals, a very clever tiger. A shadow that came with the darkness and faded to nothing in the light, taking the young and the old from their homes like a hungry ghost.
The hunter, who was a man of some skill, had never killed a tiger, and considered the hunt to be his greatest challenge, so he volunteered his services. A clever man, he bought a goat, and ventured out into the jungle, tracking down the path the tiger had taken the night before, and building a blind in a tree along the narrow path. Secure in his cleverness, he tied the goat to roots of the tree just a few feet below, and waited.
All that night the hunter perched in the lower branches of the tree, but the tiger never came. Somehow, it had passed right by him, twice: Once, on the way to the village, and, again, with a full belly, back into the jungle. Dismayed, the hunter moved to a different tree, and once more tied the goat up. This went on for a week, until a moonless and cloudy night plunged the jungle into inky blackness. The hunter could not see, but he listened, and he never slept. He just settled in for the long night and waited.
* * *
I can only imagine that the pull is like that of tiger to the hunter, back in the days when the jungle was still dark and full of danger; the illusive perfect photo. Of course, the hunter was after darkness and we chase the light, and light rarely eats us. So the story and the message don’t mesh exactly.
We track down the perfect places for the shot, pick our times, try to take all the little factors into account. Still, though, we never know if it’s going to show. The moment still chooses itself. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen something fleeting and beautiful and been unable to figure out how to trap the light–or, even worse, when there is no time constraint, and I tried over and over to get the shot and it was never quite right. Light is an illusive and tricky thing.
I’ve seen it over and over, my friends needing a better camera, a big fancy SLR with a .raw setting, a score of 8GB flash cards, this lens, that lens, telephoto, wide-angle, fish-eye, a tilt shift apparatus, a light diffuser. . . just one more fancy gadget and finally they’ll catch it. That next impossible shot that’s been eluding them.
But we’re all still at the mercy of the moment. When the subject’s good, the light is bad, when the light is good, the subject is bad, and when they’re both good, well, that’s when a rabid moose stampedes through the shot. It’s just the way of the world.
* * *
When the first light crept through the canopy, the hunter was alone. The goat was dead. Not eaten, but the tiger had killed it, all in absolute silence. The hunter was stunned; it had happened so close to him that he could have reached out and touched the tiger! The implication of reciprocity was not lost on him.
It seemed impossible that the tiger had not known the hunter was there, so the hunter was left to wondering if the tiger had simply been content to kill the goat, or if, maybe, it had wanted to show the other hunter who was the cleverer of the two after all? Had the tiger regarded him in the same manner, as challenge to be met?
He found no good answers. One thing he was certain of, however, was that he no longer felt the need to hunt the tiger. So the hunter climbed down from his hideaway, walked to village and told them they could find someone else to kill their tiger.
When the villagers asked him why, he told them, “Sometimes your prey gets lucky, but I’m not sure I’ll get lucky twice.”
He could live without hunting a tiger, so long as he knew the reverse was also true. Of course, the tiger was still out there, and sometimes what we don’t catch is more deadly than what we do. In his later years, the hunter expressed regret, wishing the hunt had ended one way or another, because somewhere inside him, the hunt would go on forever.
Connor Rickett is a young writer in the early stages of fortune and fame, namely debt and infamy. He just finished his first draft of his first book, and sometimes people pay him to write stuff, but you can read all sorts of things for free over at hisblog!