Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wheat Field Retakes

In June 2013, one of my photographer friends in my ward sent out an email suggesting that we take some pictures in the wheat fields around Allen since they were looking beautiful and wheat-y and conducive to those D&C 4:4 kinds of know, "the field is white already to harvest..."  So we rounded up some young men and some leaders and one other photographer friend and had a whole photo shoot in a wheat field one Sunday morning before church.  Those other two photographers I occasionally tag along with are SO far out of my league and their pictures are beyond amazing, but I was happy to have been invited and happy with a couple of the shots I got that day including the one up there of Craig and his deacons at the time.  
photo by Kent Arnold
This year, we have the same late church schedule we had in 2013, and since our days in this area happen to be numbered, I thought it would be fun to retake this shot.  All those boys are still in the ward, they've all grown up so much in three years, and they also happen to all now be in the priests quorum where Craig is currently serving as one of their advisors.  I hoped the wheat was also going to cooperate and look like it did three years ago, but after an extensive search I realized that wasn't going to happen.  I sent out an email earlier this week to all the boys, their parents, and those two photographer friends who had that original idea.  And then I crossed my fingers and hoped a few of them would show up at 10:00 on a Sunday morning.  

So here's what I learned from this experience about intentions and talents:

Some people will show up to support you no matter what, and some people won't.  One of Craig's boys showed up at 9:30 and was waiting for us in the parking lot when we got there at 9:45! (Holy cow!)  One of those photographer friends of mine had to be at a ward conference several miles away but opted to come to the photo shoot anyway and just get to ward conference late.  He brought his camera to take "back up" pictures even though we all knew his would be a million times better than mine.  He even brought me a ladder to stand on.  (Holy cow!)  A few of the boys I most wanted and expected to show up didn't.  (They're 16- and 17-year old boys.  That's not really shocking.  It's also not an indication of the amount of love they have for me or for Craig...I had to keep reminding myself of that...)

photo by Kent Arnold

You cannot control all things.   I tried.  Really hard.  I scoped out a nearby field with a parking lot.  I did a test photo shoot the day before.  I sent out "save the date" emails a week ago and then emails last night with detailed instructions.  But I could not make everyone show up on time.  We had 10 boys come in total, but only 7 in one shot and 5 in another because they weren't all there at the same time. :(  And I could not make the sky blue.  The weather was seriously crappy.  It was overcast and muggy and the sky was this weird shade of greenish grey.  And I could not do anything about the pests.  There were tons of weeds and more thistle than wheat in some places, and everyone came home with chigger bites, I'm pretty sure...except for me because I was on Kent's ladder.  

Righteous desires do not always guarantee perfect results.  Oh man, this is one of the life lessons I like the very least in mortality.  There are a handful of things I desperately and unselfishly want to do...sing, teach and take pictures are three of those.  And I happen to have almost no natural ability in any of those areas.  But I really, really love them.  And I really really want to be better at them.  So I just keep showing up at things and I keep singing wrong notes and teaching less than stellar lessons and taking crappy pictures.  Like this particular wheat field photo shoot.  Imagine all the great things I could produce if it only depended on the amount of willingness and good intentions I brought with me.  

And here's what I learned about teenage boys...they don't care about perfection or intentions or talents or weedy wheat fields or even chiggers.  What they knew was that this was the last opportunity they would have to hang out for a little while with this scoutmaster/youth leader they have come to love.  Craig has collected quite the loyal following in this ward, not because he's especially cool or awesome or because he's everyone's BFF, but because he just loved all of these boys, even when some of them were squirrelly and awkward and annoying and less than lovable.  He loved the heck out of them anyway.  They knew it and their parents knew it.  A few of them are different because of him.  And he is vastly different because of all of them.  

Oh, how we will miss this ward and this great group of young men.  

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