The waves roll in fast and grey as the sky, crashing violently against the rocks at the far edge of Frank Island. Though I know he’s well back from the water, I’m watching my middle son a bit anxiously as he stands on a rocky outcrop, capturing the waves with my camera. We’ve driven up to Tofino for a Spring Break getaway, and walked out from Chesterman Beach to Frank Island, a spot you can only get to when the tides are low. Here on the far edge of the West coast, the landscape is wild and dramatic. It’s one of my favourite places to photograph, but – alas – my boys have claimed my camera. And I am left to take photographs on my iPhone instead.
I’d like to have my camera in hand, especially in a place as wild and beautiful as this. But last night as we were having dinner, my middle son confessed that his dream job would be to become a National Geographic photographer. He’s a kid who loves the wilderness, who attends to the beauty around him, and who loves to get his hands on my camera. He could absolutely become a photographer.
But as we head back towards Chesterman Beach, negotiating the rocky terrain and the many tide pools of Frank Island, my budding photographer notices that his little brother is looking longingly at the camera.
“Here, buddy. Do you want to take some pictures?”
His little brother’s eyes light up and a grin spreads across his face. And the next thing I know, my camera has been passed on to my youngest son so that he can take some photographs too.
As we wander further along North Chesterman beach, I see a photographer setting up his professional-looking camera on a tripod and adjusting the huge zoom lens.
I look longingly at my camera, being used by my youngest son to photograph a broken sand dollar. I look down at my iPhone. I have camera envy.