A Little Swim

Wilson and Molly in Great Salt Pond.  I have always liked their colors together with the golden grasses.

I have a waterproof housing for my camera and I've been working up my nerve to use it for several months.  The last time I used it, after all my careful tightening and testing, it leaked.  It doesn't take a lot of salt water to totally destroy a camera, which is what happened.  I sent the housing back to the guy who built it and he put in an improved gasket, but the problem is the little wing nuts that hold the housing together.  I don't trust them.  I think that's what happened...one of them got knocked last time.  The housing can't leak if it rides around in a dinghy next to a motor that vibrates all the screws loose, or if someone puts something on top of it, or if I get thrown by a wave.  It can't leak ever, no matter what happens. I need at least one fail safe and possibly another one after that.  So this is a work in progress. 

Meantime, it was such a beautiful evening.  The dogs were in the water and there were white egrets edging the pond.  The fall light was showing everything in gold and copper colors.  I waded into the water, mostly looking out toward the egrets but also being very careful where I put my feet.  I imagined how to fall.  I've read stories about photographers who fell into the water on their backs, their heads submerged, but their arms up, their camera held high above the water.  That was the plan. 

Here are three egrets at the edge of Great Salt Pond.  See the Great Blue Heron?  He's a newcomer I think.  I haven't seen him all summer.  Blue Heron are exactly the same birds as the Egrets, except for their color. 

It was a cool evening with beautiful warm light.  The birds, who can wait patiently fishing for hours, eventually flew, and I followed one, turning as he turned and I got his wings open against the sky.

It's an aspiration of mine... to get the perfect picture of almost nothing but coppery, smooth, atmospheric light.  I love Egrets and Heron in any case, their great elegance, their primordial ways.  You know birds are from dinosaur days, correct?  So maybe if there was a sky like this and a bird like this, this could have been back in the day.  I mean, actually back in the day.

And then we went swimming.  I love to swim and Wilson and Molly love to swim with me.  Sometimes we swim side by side, three dogs in the pond, and sometimes they go to shore and tussle while I'm swimming.  This is the perfect time to do this.  No people to bother on the beaches while the dogs run around.  No birds nesting.  But the water is getting colder.  I have all these little tricks for measuring how how cold it's getting day by day.  It's one thing to get into the water.  It's another to stay.  There comes a day when I don't get used to it, when it just stays cold the whole time.  That was yesterday.   

I love all the things that can only be seen from down inside the water - and I want to show you.  I've been planning how I was going to do this for months, but the limiting factor is that housing.  Maybe I can solve it before the water gets too cold to get in.  We'll see.  I might have another few weeks.  For now I have to be content to get as close as possible.

Sometimes, just at sunset, the wind dies and Great Salt Pond becomes as still as glass.  This was after I finished swimming.  I was still wet, carrying my fins and snorkel and other gear back to the car, with my dogs jumping around me.  I had to shoot quickly, as the light was changing very fast.  I was gingerly balancing the camera, holding it away from me to keep it from getting sandy and salty.  I liked the patterns made by the sand with the outgoing tide, and I also like the touches of smooth light.   I had the telephoto on the camera when I really could have used the wide angle lens.  I didn't have time to do anything about it and had to improvise.  This is actually six pictures stitched together in Photoshop.