By Janice R. Edwards
When Roy and I moved to the San Bernard River in 2004, we were a newly retired couple. Instead of rising at 4:30 in the morning and being at my desk by 6:30 a.m,. I could sleep in, get up and have a cup of coffee on the porch with the best view in Brazoria County - McNeil’s Bayou feeding into the San Bernard.
Down here, I learned how to tell the changing of the seasons by which birds and fish were migrating, and I loved doing that. I had a little point-and-shoot camera at the time with a lens not capable of taking pictures of the birds across the river.
Roy noticed how much I enjoyed taking pictures - especially of the birds, so he bought me a much better camera – my first High Definition (idiot-proof) one for Christmas in 2004. That was the year of being “snowed in” on the coast. I never will forget the snow falling through the lights of a highly decorated push boat going upstream.
I still regret that the camera had not charged enough yet to capture that moment in time. But we left it plugged in, and the next morning, both Roy and I captured our first magic with the camera. The houses in the snow and the surprise of the picture of the retired shrimp boat covered in snow looked like 7 Minute Frosting on a cake.
That Shrimp Boat in the Snow picture turned out to be a memory that brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. I won both a blue ribbon and a red ribbon at the County Fair the next October. First awards for pictures I had ever earned.
That picture, enlarged, sold for $250 at an auction to gain funds to help open the San Bernard River. It also became the front cover of several years of custom Christmas cards. Oh, and the large picture was sold at another auction, and last time I saw it, it was hanging in Port Freeport’s offices.
I took another photo the first year I had that HD camera – it was a mother duck gathering her ducklings around her in our boat slip to protect them from boat traffic waves. The image even showed the water drops on their feathers and won a white ribbon at the County Fair - mainly for the “cute factor,” I was told. That picture still makes me smile when I see it.
Another picture I took across the river a couple of years ago with a better (still idiot-proof) HD camera was a pair of Brown Pelicans sitting on some angled tree branches sticking out of the water. The way they were positioned created the perfect image of a heart. I called them my “love birds”. I submitted them to a contest, but they didn’t place. Some of my friends liked the image, and I framed a few copies for Valentine’s Day and my own custom cards.
Then a couple of years ago – for some reason - we had visits from hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills. They came before, during and after breeding seasons, displaying a plethora of pinks. My HD camera took shot after shot of pink splendor.
I took pictures for several days of spoonbills until, finally, I got what seemed to be “the shot of a lifetime”, even though the judge of the photo contest called what I submitted “just a snapshot.”
The image was of a Spoonbill standing on a log, while another was making a landing. It showed his landing gear was working overtime, and it looked like he was saying not-so- nice things about his buddy standing in his way on that log.
I didn’t win anything but the people’s choice picture in one of the contests I entered. But I have used it in stories I have written and for my Christmas cards. My friend, Kristin, who is an artist, has painted them, and for my birthday this year, she made a silver necklace using that image. It spoke to her and still speaks to me. It keeps on giving joy in so many ways to many people.
I have included a picture of the original image and the silver necklace she gave to me. That necklace is a special gift and a reminder to take pictures of things that move you. Some day they may be gone, and where will we look for inspiration?
(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: email@example.com. )Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)