A Summer Well Spent

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“Summer afternoon — Summer afternoon;

to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

– Henry James

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 Most of my summer was spent outdoors. Every second was worth it, as I became more confident with my camera, and remembered what it was like to be myself again. As Fall sets in, I feel myself growing frustrated with the lack of insects. Yes, you read that right. I’m going to miss the bugs! More specifically, I’m going to miss the bees and wasps as the weather grows colder here in Minnesota.

It wasn’t until more than half way through the summer when I realized I really enjoyed chasing bees and wasps around with my lens. Everywhere I went, I caught myself searching the flowers, trying to spot a big fat bumble bee minding its own business. My 300mm lens came in handy during these searches. Before becoming comfortable with my “zoom lens” as I call it, I had always tried to get close to bees. Of course, they always flew away, and I was left frustrated. Once I started actually having fun with my zoom lens, I realized it was nice to just hang back and watch them from afar. The ease in which I captured them was shocking to me, and I couldn’t believe how much I had missed out on. All because I was impatient and thought I needed to get close to get good photos.

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Nearly every day was spent searching for bees, and I didn’t care what they were doing. However, fat bumble bees were not the only ones I trudged through brush to find. Paper wasps are probably one of the most interesting insects to photograph. I came across one resting on some flowers, and knowing that it was a little more dangerous than a bee, I left it alone. A lake was a few feet behind me, so I just turned around and photographed a few other things. After about a half an hour I ended up back by the flowers where the wasp had been. She was still there, only on a different set of flowers. That was it, I knew I needed to take her photo. When I did, it was as if she knew I was photographing her. She was still, but going about her business. I gave her a great distance, and used my zoom lens to take some amazing photos of her. This is when I learned how to be patient.

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Near the St. Croix River, Marty and I found ourselves hiking in tall grass that had taken over the trail. We were just feet from the flowing water, and the weather was incredible. It was pleasantly warm, but it was also cloudy, and there was a slight breeze which felt amazing. We came across a wide variety of flowers, and a lot of spiders. It wasn’t until I found a little bumble bee buzzing about that I started using my camera. It was the first time I had used my zoom lens to take photos of a bee. I snapped a few, thinking they would be neat but probably nothing special, and we finished our little adventure. We hopped back in the Jeep and drove to a few other areas, stopping to hike, and moving on again before it started to rain on us. Once I got home, I looked at the photos I had taken, and I couldn’t believe how lovely they were. I couldn’t believe I had taken them.

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This summer is the first summer I have spent using my camera nearly every day. I have found something I really enjoy photographing, and it’s incredibly freeing. Photography has always been my passion, but having something I can photograph passionately is something new for me. I plan on spending all of next year’s summer doing the same thing.

Here are a few more photos from the St. Croix River.

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Thanks for reading!

All photos are mine.

Except the photo of me, which was taken by Marty.

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