Roughly 9:45 I was woken to some noise coming up the trail and a headlamp. It turned out to be a New Hampshire native looking to spend the night in the woods. Shelters are communal as long as their is room, no one gets turned away. It is not first come first serve. You can't claim it for yourself. As I made room for the hiker, I found out his name was Jeremy. He is a ski lift mechanic who lived a couple hours away.
Jeremy loves hiking in New Hampshire as much as myself. We talked until almost midnight about hikes we had been on. He only has one more mountain to climb to become a member of the 4000 foot club. While we were talking, he showed me some of his pictures. They are absolutely amazing. He had amazing views from mountain summits to close ups of butterflies. He told Laurie and I his Instagram name, somehow neither of us forgot it. I started following him. I was blown away at his photos.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I used to go to Caratunk Wildlife Refuge in Seekonk a lot for nature walks. I became pretty good friends with the manager there, Mike Tucker. Mike is an expert birder and naturalist
. I have asked him hundreds of questions over the years. He knows I'm a dedicated fisherman, so over the years he asked me questions about fishing (single digits). Mike left Caratunk a few years ago to start a business. Since then, I would randomly see him comment on Facebook posts of a couple bird groups we are in.
Mike started following me on Instagram a couple weeks ago. I rarely post on Instagram. When I do, it is not "instant" it is usually months later of a close up of an animal or scenery. I probably only have 25 pics total. None the less, Mike started following me, so I started following him. I clicked on some of his pictures, and frankly they blew me a way. So many close ups of birds and also artsy photos.
As for myself, I had camera troubles for much of the year. I ruined an SLR lens and a pocket camera in Philly when I took pictures of the eclipse ( not looking for sympathy or judgement. It was cloudy and I took a calculated risk). I hadn't realized my lens' were ruined until my second trip to NH. Therefore, I wasted great photo ops on half my Philly trip and two New Hampshire trips.
Truthfully, before Philly, I was none too impressed with many photos I'd taken this year. There really weren't many "wallhangers". Of course, some things were out of my control. I got rained out multiple times during the spring when I theoretically could have gotten some good shots of birds and Plum Island. Also, as much as I enjoyed being in Philly, I can tell you it is much easier to get a perfect photo of Mt. Rushmore and all the wild animals than it is to get one on Independence Hall and Liberty Bell. They are just not as photogenic objects.
However, other things I could control. I could have had my camera ready when it was in my backpack multiple times. Sometimes when Laurie and I would be on a walk, I'd snap a few shots just to "remind myself I was there" instead of taking the time to really see things through the lens. I think sometimes, I just got lazy. Other times, I made a commitment "to enjoy the moment" and purposely put the camera down (tough to fault myself for that)
So one of my biggest goals this year is to take more quality photos. Taking a lot of nice pictures is not for bragging purposes. I still won't put many on Instagram. Hopefully my photos will go better with my blog posts. Again, not for bragging purposes, but for pride's sake. Hopefully, the majority of my photo's the world will never see, but will make a nice 2018 photo album. Laurie and I already have our vacations planned next year so there should be hundreds of great photo opportunities those two weeks. That still leaves 50 more weeks. Hopefully during those mundane weeks that we call life, I can do a better job on day trips, fishing trips, and hiking.
Thank you Mike and Jeremy for the motivation to step up my game