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Only The Shadows Know (Until Now)

Most of you have already read about the painful photo shoot. If you haven’t, go read it first. This is the rest of the story.

My photographer friend, Mark, lives in Alabama. I live in Florida. We were to meet at Alabama Point, which I can only assume is in Alabama. I know a little bit about the road out there. Little bit meaning, I know it’s on the beach and there is a tall bridge I have to cross. To make sure I knew where I was going I inquired of Mark, the photographer, if the place we were meeting was on the west side of the bridge. He confirmed that it was.

Sunday morning arrived and I was off, in the dark, on a road I don’t know, to a place I’ve never been to, to a state in which I do not live. I crossed the tall bridge which put me on the west side of a bridge. I turned left, the direction of the Gulf of Mexico, and found only dead end roads, some boats, a crabby restaurant and a few houses. All dark. All not what I was looking for.

I left that area, headed west once again, and heard my phone ring. It was Mark. I told him I was lost, but not to worry, I had plenty of time to be lost and to become unlost and hopefully still be at the beach for the sunrise. I always allow myself at least thirty minutes to be lost anytime I go somewhere I am unfamiliar with. He said he was going to McDonald’s and asked if I wanted anything. I just wanted to know where I was. He said he would call right back. I kept heading west.

When the phone rang once again and he asked where I was I told him I had just passed the Flora Bama Lounge that straddles the Florida/Alabama state line. He told me I was heading in the right direction and about 5 minutes ahead of him and said he would see me soon.

To my surprise I soon saw another bridge. Imagine my surprise. Two bridges near the water. Once on the west side, I turned left again, toward the Gulf of Mexico. This time I had turned in to some sort of parking lot. I found lots of men fishing; some people asleep in their cars; some people doing I’m not sure what in there cars; and a few people drinking from bottles. Oh, I also found a ranger station, state park station or some other official station. I did not find the boardwalk, the bathrooms or Mark. I left.

This time I went east to the other side of the bridge. I was certain, I think, that I was in Alabama. I had just crossed the bridge, again. There was land jutting out into the water, which by all references should be a point. I was hoping it was Alabama Point.

Now on the east side of the bridge I turned in to the parking lot. There I found the previously referenced boardwalk, bathroom, sand dunes, and within a few minutes, Mark. So far, so good.

The shoot did not begin well. Mark took a lot of test shots, adjusted his camera, his lens, his filters, his shoes, and I think he may have adjusted his belt. He was not getting the shots he wanted. When I asked him what the problem might be, he kindly told me that I was too white. Well, okay then. I apologized for living in Florida and not having a tan. He continued to adjust the settings on his camera and some thing called a diffuser.

He was not only dealing with my whiteness, but also the sunrise, the glare from the sunrise, and the shadows. He had to keep me out of both and find a setting that would allow me to show up in the photos and not be an apparition.

As we neared the end of the boardwalk we noticed 3 towels in the sand to the right. Two bottles of Gatorade were sitting on the towels, but no people were around. We weren’t sure what would cause anyone to leave the beach so fast that they might leave their towels, their Gatorade, and who knows what else. We stopped wondering what, where and why and picked the towels up. We draped them over the railings of the boardwalk to dry. If the owners returned they could have them. If they returned while we were there I might get an interesting story.

As the photo shoot continued we moved to the rocks. The first shot went well. As did the second and third. While positioning for the fourth shot I fell off the rocks scraping my knee, my tummy and literally landing face first in the sand. The whitest sand of any beach. White sand on a white face. Fortunately I did not break a nail. That would have caused a fainting spell and possibly a trip to the nearest emergency room. What a nightmare for Mark! I thought I brushed off all of the sand. I was wrong. When I went to apply lipstick this morning I found sand on the lipstick inside the tube. Don’t ask. I don’t have an answer for that one.

Mark thought it would be great to trace the title of my latest book in the sand near the water and take a photo of that. We gathered some shells to put around the words. I drew the words. I made a terrible mess of them. Mark informed me that would not make a good photo. He then drew my words for me. I felt like a writer who can’t write.

He did let me arrange the shells. I arranged the shells incorrectly. He rearranged them in some sort of artistic way. Apparently I am lacking in the artistic department also.

He took photos of me walking. He didn’t know I can’t walk, but that’s another story for another time. He wanted me to walk in the water. I rolled up my pants legs, and did as instructed. The pants got wet anyway. They were white jeans. Wet jeans are heavy. I had to keep hiking them up or we were going to have photos of a writer with plumber’s crack.

We finally finished the shoot, and survived all the obstacles and my blunders and ineptitude. As we were nearing the boardwalk we saw a young blue heron standing by the rocks. Mark told me to sit down and he would get a photo of me with the bird. Mark doesn’t know about my bird phobia. If any bird flies by me I run under the nearest object, table, couch, car. It doesn’t really matter. I simply need protection from the flapping winds. (Just for note here – NO, I never watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. This is my own phobia, thank you very much.)

I did as he said. I sat in the sand. He then told me repeatedly to move back slowly. I did as instructed. Once. Twice. Three, four, five times. Thank you God, the bird never flew. It did eventually walk away, between me and the rocks on its way to the water. All of this was going on behind my back. I had no idea how close I was to the bird until I saw the photo. That’s a good thing. I would have had a heart attack. I might still have it if I think about the bird too long.

Poor Mark was wonderful through it all. He didn’t laugh when I fell. He didn’t laugh at my jeans dropping. He didn’t have to deal with my bird phobia, broken nails, a heart attack, plumber’s crack, or an untimely death due to lack of high heels. He simply took beautiful photos for which I am ever grateful.

Oh, the towels? They were still there when we returned to the boardwalk. We haven’t a clue where the owner’s are, who they are or why they left the beach in such a hurry.

From the life and mind of:
Wanda M. Argersinger
All Rights Reserved 2009

About Wanda Argersinger


  1. Nope, it doesn’t like me, Wanda! Here’s my comment:

    This is why I have never scheduled a photo shoot myself. People like me whose P.E. classmates had to take out additional accident insurance should not attempt to do things like this. I’ll invite you to the next Klutz Klub meeting, Wanda!

  2. I can easily believe you thought you were lost. Last night my Schwans delivery person got lost trying to find me since I’ve moved. I mean, I live in Amberg, WI, population about 200, length of the “business district” 1 block long! He called me on his cell phone as he drove around town, and it took him about 20 minutes to figure out where I was! By the time 20 minutes is up, you would be outside of Amberg.
    Love the pictures anyway. Yup, I did find them on FaceBook, where we are now friends!
    Janet Elaine Smith, multi-genre author

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