"Just Kickin' It: A Photographic Essay"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A leasurely ride in the New Mexico desert in my Jeep Isabel, and My Canon EOS 5D Mark III...

“Just Kickin’ It” - A Photographic Essay.


I was kickin’ down this ol’ dirt road one day after work, warm Southwestern sun shinin’ down upon my face, playin’ an occasional game of hide-n-seek with the clouds above. The remnants of the warm Santa Ana winds blowin’ mildly through my topless jeep named Isabel. Ice-cold drink in my hand, keepin’ my lips wet and my thirst at bay.

A family of Gambel’s Quail nervously skittered across the road in front of me.  Instinct kicks in; and within a flash of a second, I had my camera at the ready. “Snap!” The shutter releases. “Snap! Snap!” The last shot captures nothin’ but dust.

I pulled Isabel to a stop, but it’s too late, the mother hen and her brood are safe in the thicket. Not lettin’ opportunity slip away, I climb out for a look around, and I noticed a dried-up desert arroyo; where at one time, water must’ve flowed. All that remains is earth’s wrinkled skin; crackled mud, parched. “Snap!” The image in my mind, transferred into digital reality like magic.

I follow a small butterfly; whose dipsy-doodle flight from flower to flower, bush to bush, mocks my haphazard attempt to get close enough for a good shot. She lands upon a prickly somethin’ or other, and I let her magic in. “Snap! Snap! Snap!” She winks at me as she continues her journey.  “Thank you Miss,” I smile back.

Under a yucca plant, a discarded bottle of Crown Royal lay hidden like exposed buried treasure. “Snap!” I stash the empty bottle in my pack, relieving the yucca of the burden. As opportunity would have it; I decided to changes lenses on my camera, and catching me off-guard and fumblin’ with my gear, a desert hare hops out into the open. “Click! Zoom! Snap!” The desert hare hip hopped off to more important matters.

 A pile of rocks captures my curiosity; and as I scramble up and on a set of boulders, pack off, shirt off, letting the warm spring breeze mingle with my sweat, I dig in my pack and pull the tab on another cold drink. It’s not quite as cold as the first; but still, nothin’ in the world tastes better at that moment. The solitude is almost overwhelming.

“Damn!” I say to the lizard, who just darted out from underneath the rocks across from me. “This is it! This is the place to be!” I announced, half expectin’ him to reply back to me somethin’ about savin’ money on my auto insurance. “Zoom!” Snap!”  “No, that’s the ‘other guy,” he says instead.

A solitary desert flower beckons my lens. “Snap! Zoom! Snap,” boring. Time to get movin’ again.  Shirt off, pack on, legs in motion, I search for a more worthy subject.

 A bird lands atop an almost barren and lonely desert tree. Camera up, auto focus in full effect, and, “Whirr! Snap!” The split-second of flight captured as her bright wings unfolded and she flew away. Magic. Some days, everything just comes into play, perfect. Feeling full of myself; I’m amazed at my thus far, successful shoot. “Man, it just doesn’t get any better than this!” Famous last words.

Getting late; I start back to where I left my jeep, marveling at God’s gift given to me on this perfect day. Not havin’ much luck at retracing my footsteps back to the road, I cut through between two prickly bushes.

“Ouch!” Got thorned on my bare leg. That’ll teach me to wear shorts while trompin’ around in the desert. After an exclamation of a few choice words, I removed a half-inch long needle from my calf. The blood was slowly drippin’ down, a small pool of red sand on the desert floor. It was almost sunset, and I knew the Vampires wouldn’t care about my near perfect day. I removed my bandanna from my head and tied it around the wound to inhibit the bleeding, then continued on.

Just ahead, movement in the bushes; strange noises- or was it voices? I didn’t know what to point with first; my Beretta 380 pistola, or my Canon EOS 40D? I wisely chose the latter, as a pair of badgers emerged from the bush. “Zoom! Flash! Snap! Snap! Snap!”

“Holy Shit!” They said, as they hauled their badger tails out of there. I was literally shaking when they had vanished into the bush again. I checked my camera, then my shorts, and was relieved to find that both were clean. Clean shots and clean shorts! I had managed to get three great shots of the badgers before they had gotten away. “Holy Shit!” I repeated.

By now, I could see my jeep parked just off the side of the road, but I was beginnin’ to wonder if my luck was about to run out. I stopped dead in my tracks. At my feet, was a dead and decaying coyote. I couldn’t tell what had killed him; man or beast, and I wasn’t gonna stick around to find out. “Whirr! Flash! Snap!”

 I was relieved to get back to Isabel, and I tossed my pack in the back, and walked over to the driver’s side to climb in. I froze. The sound that I heard, made my blood run cold! I am a pretty good photographer, and an even better writer, but I just don’t know how to describe that sound to you. It is something that you’d have to hear for yourself; and believe me, you’d never, ever forget it.

The rattler was just a few feet from where I was standing, and that was too goddamned close! The serpent was coiled just behind my right front tire, which made me shudder, for I would’ve surely been hit if I had continued to step up to climb into my jeep. I backed off, and grabbed my snake tongs from the back of my jeep, and carefully inched them into position. At just the right moment, I nabbed the reptile just behind her evil looking triangular head. She was a big Mojave’  rattler, and she was one mean mother!

I tossed her out in the middle of the road and she coiled up in a deadly tactical move. I grabbed my camera; as I had to get some shots of her before I died that day- uh, I mean, before she got away.. “Whirr!, Zoom! Flash! Snap! Snap!” I got her with a couple of double taps; then, “Flash! Snap! Snap! Snap!”  A triple!  My adrenaline was pumping full force, as was hers;  rattlin’ tail never ceasing, the sound echoing within the vacuum of the desert’s orange-yellow skies.

“Great Job Kelly!” I couldn’t resist congratulating myself! As I calmed myself, watchin’ her for a few more minutes, I was sure I had gotten some great shots. She was calming now; escape, the only thing on her mind. Ms. Mojave’ recognized her moment, as she quickly uncoiled and slithered off the road and then, vanished into the desert’s camouflage. “Whoah!”  My heart still pumpin’ a mile-a-minute.Wiping the cold sweat from my head, my eyes, I heard a little voice that said, “Kelly, it’s time to go!”

Snake gone, gear stowed, over twenty amazing shots frozen in time on my camera, tab popped on another cold drink to celebrate; I hit the engine on Isabel, and headed for home. I was feelin’ comfortable within myself, as Isabel and I bounced on down that ol’ dirt road at a very mellow twenty-five.  I was content and at such peace, as I looked at the scenery roll by, along with my thoughts. I had a great day, a great shoot.

Now is the time that I typically put in a CD, and ‘pen in’ the lyrics of a favorite tune to set the mood for my readers. Well, the CD player is on the fritz! Isabel got rained on last month- a risk you take in going topless. Sorry to disappoint; but you’ll just have to ‘plug in’ your own favorite tune, setting  and mood appropriate.

The sun was setting fast, and I almost put my camera away; for I have enough sunset shots already, enough to keep you “ooohing and aaahing” for days, but each one is different  and uniquely beautiful in its own way. I was slowin’ down to grab just a few shots of the brightly colored descending  sun , when; to my left was a hawk perched  upon a yucca plant, the sunset directly behind her. Camera still switched on, flash switched off, “Zoom! Snap!”  Then; zoom out, to get a wide angle shot of the entire sunset, fading bright yellow sun just kissing the mountains in the distance, orange-red hues, with remnants of pink, purple and blues. “Gotcha!” I smiled. “Good evening Mrs. Hawk!” Satisfied, I turned the camera off, stashed it on the floorboard, and tooled on down that ol’ dirt road towards home.

By the time I was out of the desert, and on the comfort of blacktop, it was dark. “Hmm, almost eight,” I said to nobody in particular. “I’m gonna have hell to pay!”  I pulled Isabel into my drive; past the horses, and up to the side-porch door at 8:15, grabbed my camera and another fresh, cold drink, when my wife met me at the door.

 Imagine; if you will, the theme music from the movie “Jaws,” Well, that’s what I heard, anyway.

“Hey!” My wife greeted me. “You know you’re awfully late!” I kissed her and apologized for not callin’ and she gave me that look. You know, the one with a little smile that all wives have; the one that lets you know that they know what you’ve been doin’. “Whatcha  been up to for the last couple hours?” She asked me rhetorically. “You know,” I smiled back at her with my famous ‘husbandly’ grin. “Not much babe, just kickin’ it!”


Submitted: August 21, 2013

© Copyright 2021 KellySeale. All rights reserved.

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