Can you see it?
Grand Bend, ON, August 2011
About this photo: It's Thematic's vibrant week, and it can be yours, too. Just follow your mouse here.I'm always taking pictures of flags (like this one and this one.) I don't believe in the I-already-have-it-at-home-so-I-won't-bother philosophy of photography. Rather, I believe in returning to things we've shot before, because you never know when a factor or two will shift a little and completely change the tone of what you ultimately capture.
Which brings me to this flag. It stands at the entrance to the public beach at Grand Bend, a sentinel to the thousands of people who converge on this playground on the average sunny summer day. Almost no one pays attention to it because, let's face it, they've seen it all before. But I had my long-ish lens on the camera, and as I walked back from refilling the extort-, er, parking meter, I decided I didn't want to leave this delightfully raucous little tourist town without some photographic evidence.
As I often do when I'm walking alone, I'll deliberately carry my camera over my shoulder. That makes it easy to shoot at will whenever the urge strikes. The shoot-and-run principle dictates fast decisions, quick compositions and not a whole lot of forethought. You go with your gut, grabbing whatever strikes you as meaningful in the moment. It's a glorious way to fill what would otherwise be a few mindless moments, a wonderful way to remember what it felt like to walk from here to there, to remember the feel, the spirit of this place.
So, back to the flag. As I got closer to the beach, the familiar fabric that was blowing in the wind almost seemed to ask for a shot. I stopped mid-sidewalk, composed and shot off at least ten frames (G-d bless you, digital.) Nine of them were lousy thanks to wind-whipped shapes that completely ruined the majesty that is the maple leaf (you don't have to be Canadian to love this flag, after all. It rocks in its own right. I know I'm biased, but still...) The tenth and very last frame was, well, look for yourself.*
Sometimes, magic happens through a lens. Sometimes, you're just lucky enough to have decided to be there at that moment when it happens.
Your turn: So how do you explain this? Pure coincidence or some kind of sign? Or am I just seeing things?
* For the record, this pic isn't PhotoShopped. I'm not that good. Besides, it would violate my whole no-heroic-editing philosophy.