Monday, July 02, 2012

Thematic Photographic 202 - Series

Pelican flyby
Deerfield Beach, FL
January 2012

For this week's Thematic series, I'd like us to try something a little different (I know I say that all the time, but this time I really mean it.)

In all seriousness, I'd like to shift our perception of photos themselves. We tend to think of them as individual entities, or unique memories, but I'd like us, this week anyway, to think a little bigger. So instead of seeing them as unique photos, I'm hoping this theme will let us see that as part of a larger continuum, snippets of life that we can, if we wish, assemble together like puzzle pieces to see the bigger picture.

So, for the coming week, the Thematic theme is series. I hope you'll think about a series - two or more pictures makes it, and that's the only real rule - that you'd like to share. Whatever that series may be, topically, is entirely up to you. If you think they're connected and they tell a wider story, we want to see 'em. That's it!

About these photos: The kids were playing in the late afternoon surf while I stood at the water's edge and did my best to shoot the chaotic scene. Our daughter saw it first, a pelican flying low over the water, parallel to the shoreline as they always seem to do. I was so busy shooting that I didn't recognize our daughter's gesture for what it was - notice the pointing in shot 2 - until Noah picked up on it and started yelling.

Now, a word about pelicans. They don't live here in the Great White North, so the only time we get to see them is when we're down south. My late father, who spent so much time on the beach with my mother and their friends, was fascinated by them, and always enjoyed my own efforts to hunt them down - photographically, of course - and the pics that resulted (like this one.)

The thing is, they're hard to get. They usually fly in leisurely packs, high and slow, wings barely moving, up and down the beach. You can be there every day for a week and not see one, then see the same bunch cross the sky - back and forth - multiple times in an afternoon, but never on anything like a set schedule. Unless you're sitting on the beach with your camera at the ready, they're really hard to capture.

So it was quite a surprise to see one lone bird flying not high over the top of the beach itself, but low over the water, dropping down at points to capture the ground effect (story for another day: It takes guts to fly so close to disastrous contact with the water, but it's so awe-inspiring to watch.) I reset the camera as quickly as I could to capture the sole pelican's flyby, then followed it as it swept on past before dropping to sea level for one last skim.

I was sure I had so little time to shift gears that I was going to botch something - exposure, composition, focus, probably all three - yet in the end, somehow I was able to record its passage.

Then, just as quickly as it had arrived, it was gone, the kids left bubbling in its wake about how they could almost reach out and touch this incredible bird, how it almost seemed to aim right for them as it made its way down the coastline. Dahlia remembered how her Zaidy liked pelicans, and wondered aloud about the connection.

To this day, I wonder if the flyby was perhaps a sign that on so many days much like today, in this very place, my dad sat right over there and enjoyed similar spectacles. I'm glad I was able to record the moment with his memory so close at hand. There's no way to know, of course, but the sense of connectedness made it much more than simply watching a bird fly past.

Your turn: Thematic Photographic is our weekly photo sharing-participation-learning activity. All you need to do is share a photo series on your own blog or website, then leave a comment here letting everyone know where to find it. Visit other participants to spread the joy, and feel free to pop back in through the week to see what everyone else is up to. Repetition is highly encouraged, as is a general sense of fun. If you're new to the Thematic thing, click here. Otherwise, have fun with this one...I know I will!


CorvusCorax12 said...

what a beautiful catch...I think we all look for these signs.I had things happen that made me wonder if my Son or Mom where letting me know that they are OK. Your post brought a tear to my eye and I also hope that this wayward Pelican made it to wherever he/she where flying.

Lisa Shafer said...

Wow. Those are great. I don't know if I can do anything for this theme, but I look forward to seeing what everyone else can do.

Alexia said...

What a beautiful and moving post. The light in those shots is so warm and dark.

Alexia said...

I wonder if I'll ever see a pelican in the wild. So lovely.

Here's a series from me.

Gilly said...

Those are stunning photos Carmi! Must have been a wonderful sight!

Never attempted this sort of thing before, but here are my efforts!

Max Sartin said...

Those shots of the pelican are amazing, so crisp and clear. And your kids' excitement makes for a great series.
Here's my series.

fredamans said...

Great photos.... really makes me want to see the ocean!

I did a series of fireworks.

Bob Scotney said...

I can see more than one series coming up. Here's the first.

Juniper said...

Great shots Carmi, as ever! Here is my Series and a reflection on life.

Reb said...

Carmi, I always read your posts, but I think this is the first time commenting. Lovely photos, such warm colours.

Canada actually does have pelicans, Prince Albert National Park in SK is the summer home to 15k or so of the American White Pelican.

This link has a map of their distribution in Canada:

Jim said...

Nice series, Carmi. And nice story. I would love to see a pelican land. Mostly around here we have the great herons swooping for fish. They don't like people and will leave at the sight of Adi, my beagle dog.

Jim's Thematic Photographic posts

Jim said...

Nice pictures, Carmi. And nice story too. I would love have a pelican land beside me. Mostly around here we have the large herons swooping down into the lake for fish.

My series isn't so dramatic as yours, but I tried.
Jim's Thematic Photographic posts

Jim said...

I can't remember if I posted this one here before, but as series go it was a pretty good story.

21 Wits said...

Hello Carmi! Nice theme this week and lovely ocean side and family memories to cherish! Mine is here

larkswing said...

Hi Ya Carmi! I LOVE this one. I get a little punch happy sometimes and ooodles of series saved.

Here is mine:

Thank you again!!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

My series is here.

Alexia said...

My second post for this theme - an unfinished series.

Max Sartin said...

Here's my second set.

larkswing said...

Here is my part 2 :)

21 Wits said...

Carmi, this series theme is just too fun not to play again! I also just noticed another cool post from Alexia (a must see) here's my second series (didn't even shoot it that way) but once I came home and saw it I thought a series yes! A story too!

mmp said...

It's been fascinating to flick through the offerings so far and see how we've all interpreted this one!

I for one really appreciate you hosting this opportunity, thank you so much Carmi

Mine are here

mmp said...

...well that earlier one from me doesn't work! Deep apologies, we'll try again :)

It's been fascinating to flick through the offerings so far and see how we've all interpreted this one

I for one really appreciate you hosting this opportunity, thank you so much Carmi

Mine are <a href="</a>here

mmp said...