Waitakere Dam

Why I shouldn’t be allowed near a camera

It’s Friday night in New Zealand, and I’m coming down with some kind of upper-respiratory infection, just in time for the weekend.

But why should I suffer alone?

You too can suffer. All you have to do is keep reading.

And enjoy these pictures I took during the last hike Jacquie and I did on the Montana Heritage Trail in the Waitaks; my four reasons why I shouldn’t own a camera.

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll notice there’s a duck, right of center, making waves in the air.

A duck making waves in the air?! Far out.

But before you smack my left butt cheek in a congratulatory, sportsman-like manner, you should know this photograph is a dirty lie. You’ve been deceived…by the world of trick photography.

You see, in holding my camera upside down, I was able to freak out the duck so much that it lost sphincter control as it flew from me, thus releasing a hitherto long-contained fart (which the duck had been saving for the right moment) that propelled the poor creature past the speed of sound in an instant. The “wave” you see is the duck breaking wind –and the sound barrier — at the same time. And that’s the first reason I shouldn’t be allowed to own a camera: I’m a dumbass.

My college photography instructor, Tom Roma, used to say that a person’s IQ dropped 20 points when they picked up a camera. I could never figure out if I believed that or not. But what he said in critiques stuck with me. Every week at least one student would show a picture that contained almost nothing of interest to anyone. These often featured dead public areas, like the cobbled base of the statue at the center of a traffic circle or a bit of sidewalk with the shadows of bicycle wheels, Maybe a pigeon or two, one of them blurry. Tom would ask, “What are we looking at? Is this where you’d take someone on a date? Is this what you’d point out for them to look at?” I realize, nearly 20 years later, that Tom was right. Not only has my IQ dropped dangerously under my normally low baseline, but I’m also the kind of person who considers hanging around public infrastructure a fun date. And that’s the second reason I shouldn’t own a camera. I take pictures of infrastructure.

“Look honey: civil engineering. Let’s make out.” And that’s the third reason: I take LOTS of pictures of infrastructure, from multiple angles.

A bridge, as seen from a dam. That bridge was a lot of fun to cross. Jacquie and I spent a good hour just going back and forth and back and forth. We’re going back there Sunday to go back and forth some more because I don’t think we went back and forth over the bridge enough. What was nice about it was the view the bridge afforded us of some vital public infrastructure. You know what we be a good picture? A pigeon beside the shadow of a bicycle on top of a dam. I carry my camera around hoping that someday, through kismet, the proper alignment of the stars, whatever, I will be ready to take such a photograph. And that’s the last reason: nobody should have to see a picture of two pigeons, one blurry, beside a bicycle on top of a dam. And they won’t have to if someone would just take away my camera.

Well by now it should be obvious to you that my illness has gotten the best of me.

But you should also know that I’m definitely coming down with a cold.

And that means I probably won’t be able to go back to take more pictures at the Waitakere Dam.