February 7
by Ken Reynolds

Some people have really interesting hobbies. Jim Tanner, a good friend and neighbor, shoots photos of the scenery and animal life in our North Georgia community. Jim says he has “been hearing and seeing this little Carolina Wren off and on for a few weeks.” Even now he is not satisfied. I think Jim’s assessment is modest. I have seen a lot of Carolina Wren photos; this one captures the essence of the little bird’s contours and the tonal subtleties of its coloring. No wonder they are so difficult and delightful to see in our mountain landscape.

My father made architectural and industrial photographs, and I have some appreciation for Jim’s investment of his time. Before I went off to college Dad commandeered me as an assistant —a fate both of my brothers suffered in their turn.

I still get a little antsy when I think about the number of hours my teenage life was on hold while Dad worked and waited for just the right sunlight. Then he would make dozens, it felt like hundreds, of exposures at different lens and shutter settings, all to be sure the finished product met his standards.

I didn’t know it at the time, but he was teaching me that it takes patience and work, and often a lot of trial and error, to get the finished product to reflect what the photographer really intends his photo to show. Whenever I get a bit impatient with the number of rewrites it takes me to express in print what my mind is thinking, I remind myself of Dad’s lessons. Sometimes it helps.

Jim has dozens of photos on display on the web at http://www.flickr.com/jtan.