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Nube Aguaiza

Photography and Nature

By: Nube Aguaiza
College Now Course - ENG W

When I was a little girl, I was always surrounded by nature. Back then, my mom and I lived on the countryside with my great grandparents, in Ecuador. The countryside was beautiful with big tall trees that had bright green leaves, and the sun shined so brightly every afternoon. The neighbors were nice and always helped one another. Every morning, afternoon and evening we would run into one another while doing our daily errands and say hello. The countryside was a place that offered so much beauty to everyone; the waterfall by the small river was one of the most fantastic places to visit. Small daises and roses surrounded the waterfall. The water was crystal clear and the fish jumped out of the water each time I threw a rock in.

Each afternoon I would go to the barn to feed the little chicks and my two baby rabbits. The baby rabbits were so soft and fluffy. Each time I went, I would sneak one in my coat pocket and bring it home. Eventually, my mom would find it on my bed and make me bring it back. When I returned the baby rabbits to their home, I would feed them carrots, lettuce and a red, juicy apple.

The best part of all was that each evening my great grandpa and I would sit together on an old bench. We would put a blanket over it so it wouldn't be cold to sit on. From there, we would watch the sparkling tiny stars in the sky and make wishes on them. My great grandpa loved the stars. Each evening before we went to bed he would tell me a story. The countryside was filled with beautiful flowers, small rivers and all types of animals like cows, horses, bulls, chickens and pigs. Each sound was different; my favorite was the cows' moo.

As I grew up this changed, and nature was never so close to me like is was then. My mom and I came to live in New York with my dad. It was so different. The houses were close to each other and when I saw people had dogs on leashes, I felt it was cruel, since my dogs in Ecuador were always loose. The only place I was able to see all types of animals was in the zoo, but I felt bad. They were not in their natural habitat, where they could run and be free. The birds were in a big crystal clear room, filled with leaves, rocks and trees. I always thought wouldn't it be nice if they could be free in a forest and fly as high as they want and see so much.

Over the years, I searched for nature in New York. I grew into loving photography, because to me personally a picture reflected so many emotions and stories that can be told. Each single picture became significant to me. This was a way to have nature always close by me. One of my first photography experiences was in a pet store. I took a picture of a parrot in a cage. I thought I was with nature, but it made me feel so sad, because the parrot was just sitting there and when you would look into its eyes you could see that he was not happy.

For a photograph, a parrot has amazing colors. I realized they are very unique animals that belong in the wild. We humans have made many species go into extinction, because we take them away from their home and family. I see that as a cruelty, like taking a baby from a mother. The pet store brought me no closer to nature.

After much searching, I found Silver Lake Park, a park in Staten Island. It is like a second home to me. Every Saturday morning, when the sun is still set, I wake up at 5:30 am to eat breakfast. At 6 am my dad drives me and my dog Poochie to the park, I always make sure to take my camera. On my way, I see older couples taking a walk and others jogging and running with their dogs. We drive past Clove Lake Park which has a beautiful pond filled with turtles in them. When we pass the bank, I know we're almost there.

Finally, we arrive and my doggie is so excited that he jumps out of the car. We cross the street and walk straight down a little hill instead of using the stairs. While my dad walks my dog, I walk close to them, looking around me to see if there is something nice to take a picture of. I walk over to the small lake and spot a turtle, with its small little head out of the water, and a bunch of fish surrounding it.

I look through the camera lens and make sure that the turtle is in the center and press my finger on the button. The shutter opens and closes, and then there's the familiar click; it's still dark enough for the flash to go off. Then my dad, my doggie and I cross the small bridge over the lake. On our walk, a dog with his owner go running past us. There she is, I spot my doggie's friend, a black small ear down cocker spaniel who is walking with her owner. I stop and wait until my dog and the cocker spaniel are finished playing.

Meanwhile, I take pictures of them, because I love dogs with all of my heart, especially Poochie. Each way I look, there is always something new to take a picture of, whether trees, turtles, ducks, birds, rabbits and even squirrels. I'm always amazed by the beauty of nature, how each animal lives and hunts for its food to survive.

To me, a camera is more than a machine to take pictures of things. It is very valuable, because to me, the pictures that I take stay with me forever. Also, it is a way for me to see that nature is always close to me no matter where I am.

After about an hour, we have toured the entire park. We've traveled dirt paths, sidewalks, and bridges. Finally, it's time to rest. My dad and I sit on the benches and my dog lies down on the green grass. At 7 am, we can see that the sun is rising up to the sky. The sky's deep blue becomes tinted with a shiny yellow, a bright pink and fiery orange. It's common to see a bunch of birds flapping their wings fly through the bluing sky. If you're quiet enough you can actually hear them honking, quacking or chirping to one another. Too bad they're too far to catch in a picture. For the meantime, I take pictures of birds that are on the trees, they are so beautiful. Some are red with gray, others are black, yellow and black and even a full red one too.

As much as I love the sunrise, I feel a little sad to see it come. This is the signal that my dad is going to have to get to work. For me, it's time to go back to my regular life. My dad and I get up from the bench, and Poochie knows it's time to go too. The last part of our journey is about to come. We have a five minute walk out of the park that leaves us at a big hill. Well rested from our grass time, my dad, the dog and I run fast up the hill, and we feel the wind blowing on our faces. Finally, we get in the car and drive back home, until the next Saturday morning. I'm not that sad though, I have my pictures to last me through the week.