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Getting Close

I have a crap camera. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration but it is a five-year-old point and shoot model. What this means is that if I want a close up, I have to get close up. I thought about this as I got within inches of a bee this morning. Not that it deterred me from getting closer to the sting-worthy creature than I probably should.

A bee at the Heritage Landing site of the Deschutes River. Photo by Tim Graves.

Looking at the photo, it is obvious that there are limits to my camera’s abilities and to my bravery. The willingness of insects and other small animals to be photographed is also limiting. I have discovered, however, that bees are much more likely to just move away from my intrusive silver box than to be aggressive.

This large beetle also does not like being photographed. I played a game reminiscent of basketball with it this morning. Each time the beetle sought to move down the court, I blocked its path with the camera. The quick twists and turns the beetle took to get around me was remarkable for a multi-legged creature. These competitions with small beings often results in many shots that never make it to Flickr, this blog, or even Facebook.

The opposing player in our game of “beetleball” moves out of the shot at the last minute. Photo by Tim Graves
Getting a good focus on a moving creature at this distance is challenging especially when it is camera shy. Photo by Tim Graves

Inanimate objects are easier to capture. While I still end up with some rejected shots, I have more opportunities to get it right. Flowers and rocks don’t seem to mind being photographed.

Photo by Tim Graves
Photo by Tim Graves
Photo by Tim Graves
Photo by Tim Graves

So, why do I bother seeking to get close to moving objects? I do so because to be close is to be intimate. To be near another living creature is to learn about and know that plant, animal, or rock more fully. I have discovered that this variety of spider, for example, seems to favor this kind of flower. Why? I don’t yet know but I know that there is a relationship between this spider and these flowers that seems to benefit each.

Photo above and below by Tim Graves
Photo by Tim Graves

Like the relationship between the spider and flower, I develop a relationship with nature when I get close. The vulnerability as a walk across wet, slimy rocks to get the “perfect shot” or I move too close to a stinging insect is what is necessary to understand.

I choose to become vulnerable, to get close, because we are inextricably linked to one another. Humanity, beetles, spiders, trees, grasses, and fowl are created to be one. In that one-ness, is where I find the divine. God is in the interconnectedness of creation. To understand the tiny spider on the orange and yellow flower or to play a game with a beetle is to know myself. It is to know God.

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