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Sun comes through the clouds to cause the water droplets dripping from the forest trees to sparkle like gems. Photography by Lorelle VanFossen.

Soon I will have new equipment that will allow me the ability to capture what I see in my mind. While that sounds technologically prophetic, technology today is finally able to recreate what I could do with my analog professional camera gear.

I’m not talking about special effects, so easily used, to the point where “real” is only a concept. I’m talking about photographing what I really see and having the end result on film, untainted with special effects.

Looking out the window as the heavy rains ceased and the sun burst through the clouds for a moment, our forest burst into sparkling gems – gems in motion as they spilled from the wet moss and last of the autumn leaves, giving in to gravity.

My ability to describe with words the scene before me is slowly evolving as I expand my rhetoric to include descriptive and not just technical language, but my eyes and spirit race back to the familiar, camera in hand, analyzing the scene to make the best choices to capture the moment as I see it.

I would set the camera on the tripod and frame the single tall Douglas Fir in the foreground to isolate it from the busy surroundings. I’d close down the aperture as far as light would allow to maintain the speed in which to catch the drops and create a star burst effect with the sun-drenched drops. My eyes see this, but cameras have to be set to properly to recreate what I see.

All I have with me is my phone, so the end result, while decent quality, shows a wet forest backlit by the sun coming through the clouds. The drops are invisible, the details are lost in the clutter of too much of the forest in focus. The phone camera is top notch, but digital still lacks the ability in that class of camera to capture contrast and detail. The light overwhelms its meter, so the shift towards neutral to compensate takes away the punch.

So I’m stuck with words. No matter how technical our lives become, words still matter. Our ability to speak and be heard drives us to constantly improve our ability to communicate – well, it should.

And I’m stuck with memory to preserve the moment. These moments in nature happen in a split second and are gone, sometimes reproducible, sometimes not. I hold them as long as I can in my eyes, feeding the memory cells deep in my brain, so when I need a peaceful image in the future, this will be one of a select few that will rise to the surface on demand.

Since I know my own swiss cheese brain well, I wish I had a better quality camera instead.