Holding My Breath

I took over 20 photos the night I wen to view the sand sculptures created on Hampton Beach by master sand sculptors from all over the United states and Canada. This was one of the few that didn't come out blurry. It also happens to be the first place winner. I didn't understand why every picture was accompanied by the warning: "This image is blurry. Do you want to delete it?" Dejectedly, I would choose "yes" for most of them, although I kept a few. Finally the friend who accompanied me on this night time romp told me, "you have to hold your breath." Sure enough, that held the camera still long enough to get this shot. I imagine creating these sculptures is something like that: an image comes to mind, and as the sculptor begins to shape and smooth the sand, they hold their breath so as not to disturb the fine contours of their creation. So to is writing: an image comes to mind, and you focus your concentration on just the word coming out on the screen as you type. Nothing else matters until you get to the end of what's in your mind. Then you breathe again.

I took over 20 photos the night I went to view the sand sculptures created on Hampton Beach on the New Hampshire Seacoast by master ¬†sculptors from all over the United states and Canada. This was one of the few that didn’t come out blurry. It also happens to be the first place winner. I didn’t understand why every picture was accompanied by the warning: “This image is blurry. Do you want to delete it?” Dejectedly, I would choose “yes” for most of them, although I kept a few. Finally my friend Ellen told me, “you have to hold your breath.” Sure enough, that held the camera still long enough to get this shot. I imagine creating these sculptures is something like that: an image comes to mind, and as the sculptor begins to shape and smooth the sand, they hold their breath so as not to disturb the fine contours of their creation. So to is writing: an image comes to mind, and you focus your concentration on just the word coming out on the screen as you type. Nothing else matters until you get to the end of what’s in your mind. Then you breathe again.

This image isn't quite as clear as I'd hoped, but I think it kind of works. The sculpture is a woman growing out of the confines of a modern city-like skyscraper; the blurriness of my photography adds movement. Without it, she might just be a static sand-doll trapped and not breaking free.
This image isn’t quite as clear as I’d hoped, but I think it kind of works. The sculpture is a woman growing out of the confines of a modern city-like skyscraper; the blurriness of my photography adds movement. Without it, she might just be a static sand-doll trapped and not breaking free.

If the man holding the earth and the woman emerging out of the sky scraper got together, do you think this is what their child might be like? A little sand-baby peeping out of a sharply sculpted sand-egg. Or perhaps it's a womb. My friend Ellen thought it was a womb, and maybe she was right.
If the man holding the earth and the woman emerging out of the sky scraper got together, do you think this is what their child might be like? A little sand-baby peeping out of a sharply sculpted sand-egg. Or perhaps it’s a womb. My friend Ellen thought it was a womb, and maybe she was right.

This one is really, really, blurry. But like a rough draft that has some promise if you polish it just right, I decided to keep it any way.
This one is really, really, blurry. But like a rough draft that has some promise if you polish it just right, I decided to keep it any way.

 

 

 

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About Roberta Branca

My past writing experience includes journalism and technical copywriting and editing. Writing fiction has been my pleasure, pastime, and pet peeve since childhood. I am currently part of a writing group, Great Bay Writers, on the New Hampshire Seacoast. My work has appeared in The Litchfield Literary Review, Bewildering Stories, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, and Prick of the Spindle. I work as a reference and instruction librarian at Hesser College in Manchester, NH.

Posted on July 6, 2013, in Creativity, Life Outside and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I love your analogy of holding one’s breath, literally for photography and figuratively for sculpting, and writing. (And I will have to pay attention to what I’m doing when I take a photo. Do I hold my breath or not? I’ve never noticed one way or another.) Is this a yearly event? Every year at the Winter Carnival, we have ice sculptures, although I haven’t been to see them in a while.

    I see photo editing software in your future. Up to a point, it can sharpen a blurry picture, as well as other much-appreciated fixes. (Oh, the things you learn when you start putting more and more photos in your blog posts…)

    • Brendan has photoshop on his computer. I’ve fiddled with open-source photo editing, but haven’t found anything that still accepts my somewhat outdated operating system. Sometimes I use Picasa; it’s somewhat rudimentary.

  2. thanks for giving me a compelling reason to find my breath in this moment!

  3. Dear Roberta:
    My new digital camera tells you when to press the button and thusly prevents an out of focus picture; also, it controls the flash mechanizime so that the brightness and clarity is correct.
    As usual your writing is delightfull and informative. With love – Leo

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