We've never lived as close to the ocean as we do here in Okinawa. We've swapped moose and bears for sea creatures and creepy crawlies, many of which are poisonous, but that's a story for another day.
On this particular evening, my husband took us to a new-to-us beach spot where he'd recently been diving. The sun was setting and I had my camera on the tripod ready to capture the melting-into-color skies. But then this moment happened. My littlest discovered a starfish. He clutched it, dried and shriveled, to his heart.
I had but a split second to yank my camera from the tripod. The light was fading fast. I was at all my limits -- I was shooting completely wide open, in the ISO weeds and shaky hand held shutter speed territory. I wasn't sure I got the shot but my littlest paused for only mere moments before he ran into the waves to gently place the star fish back in the water. He wished with his whole heart that the ocean would revive his starfish. He hasn't stopped talking about his wish to save that star fish.
From a technical perspective, this shot was a disaster. Of the two shots I was able to take, I'd missed the focus on one. I'd shot below my hand held limit (1/100). I quickly upped my shutter speed to 1/160 and cranked my ISO to 5000 and took one more shot. I try to avoid those ISO upper limits as the image quality does suffer. If I'd had time for one more frame, I would have tried to better compose to give myself a tiny bit more room for his lips but I never had the chance. After the second click of the shutter, my son rushed the starfish back to the water. And though the image may not be my technically greatest it ranks near the top of my all time favorite captured moments.
Once a month I'm joining a Storyteller Blog Circle with wonderfully talented lifestyle and documentary photographers, all are fellow Offset artists. We each share an image and the story behind capturing it, meant to teach and inspire.
If there is a lesson here, it is to always take the shot, always try, even if you know it is going to be technically challenged. Moments like these are fleeting. You won't capture all of them and sometimes you have to let go of technical perfection but you may just capture an imperfect little piece of your heart.