The camera can really take something boring and make it seem more interesting. Take for example this photo of a dried plant framed in front of the grass and water. I took this while walking back from the boating dock to the buses at the end of the day. We were all a bit sunbaked and tired and eager to get back to the buses. I was pretty tired too but I was still taking in the beauty of the hills and water. Later, when I showed this picture to others, they weren't sure where I had taken it. When I told them, they could then place the scene but hadn't paid much attention to it at the time.
This summer we planned a student trip to Zhang He Reservoir. We divided the students into two groups and arranged two separate outings--one on Saturday and one on Sunday. With 60 students each day along with their accompanying parents, this plan was logical.
Two teachers would be on each of the four buses. We would talk, snack, play games, and sing songs with the students during the two hour ride to the reservoir. A quick look on the map revealed that Hubei is quite a few reservoirs. In a boxed off area with a length that spans the distance from Yichang to Jingmen there are over 10 reservoirs with Zhang He being the largest.
We had had to postpone the trip twice because of consistent weekend rain. Green would have to make judgement call on Thursday and then we would have to inform all of the parents by Friday night. On the Friday before the trip Green handed me a name list with telephone numbers. She said something like, "Here. Practice your Chinese." She wanted me to help her call all of the parents. as I got into the rhythm reminding them about the trip, Green mostly wanted to know if the parents were shocked that I was calling them. Green figured that most of the parents assumed that I cannot speak Chinese.
The first day was a great success in large part because everyone was just happy to be outside in nature. We enjoyed the artificial beach (real sand but existing as a result of trucks, not nature). We played games like human wheelbarrow races, three flies up, and writing our names in the wet sand.
After lunch we took a 45 minute boat ride to an island names after the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin Pu Sa. The heat was really intense and and before the day was over I had drunk 8 bottles of water. That was enough to keep me from collapsing. But the intense heat baked my skin and by the time I got home I was burnt pretty badly.
Aside from the 2 hour activity in the morning, in which I led for one group of students, the outing would not have been very interesting for me if it weren't for my camera. I upgraded about ayear ago to a Canon 7d andabsolutely love it. The kids love to have their picture taken. The parents want to have the memories, my boss wants imagoes that make for good PR, and I want to do something active and creative. Simply accompanying the children is a little boring. The camera is really important to me.
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