For all those sweet moments captured on an SD card, there are many more that I miss due to “technical difficulties” or worse, “operator error.” I surf in the chilly waters of NorCal, and except on rare summer days, I wear gloves. My 3-mm winter gloves make it especially tricky to push the proper tiny buttons on the camera, and I sometimes embarrassingly tell a buddy I got a video of their ride, only to find I had not in fact hit “record” at the right time. D’oh! And then there is the nature of the on-the-water video itself; water droplets on the lens can obscure the footage, and it’s hard to wipe them off with a wet hand.

While occasionally I have captured wildlife images, the seals, sea lions, dolphins, otters and birds that make appearances near the lineup are notoriously hard to record. The marine mammals are typically shy, keeping their distance and diving beneath the sea if I get too close. (And if ever I see a shark, I’m quite sure I won’t be thinking about using my camera, unlike that guy last year.) Occasionally I luck into a photo like this:


Like most photographers, I take many, many more shots than I’ll ever want to look at again, and I should throw a lot of them away, but instead they live on in digital storage. Within all that chaff, there are a few gems.

Those special photos instantly bring back a memorable moment, like a frosty November dawn patrol at a lonely spot with just my buddy. And I’m glad I had my camera with me.


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