Handing over the camera – or – why it’s ok to make mistakes.


I have had a few weeks of amazing ice fishing trips.  I’ve been to Red Lake, Mille Lacs, and I just returned from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Each of these trips has been for a different purpose – one was for a mini vacation, one was to document women anglers on the ice, and another (this one) was to join 60 professional ice anglers to take 60 underprivileged boys from the Rapid City Boys Club on the ice for the first time.

This post is not about ice fishing.  This post is about letting a kid know that it’s ok to make mistakes, and that life is WAY too short to get upset about material objects.

This is Addison.  Addison was NOT the kid I was paired up to fish with. My guy James’s post is next, and, wow, I can’t wait to share his story with you as well.  Addison, instead, was paired up with a great friend of mine – a guy who happens to be one of my late husband’s closest friends.


The evening before we fished, I met Addison in line while we were waiting for our food at the welcome banquet. While we were in line, Addison told me he was in love with me, and that I was pretty.  What woman doesn’t want to hear that?!  I was immediately smitten and started to laugh very hard.  He got a HUGE smile on his face and ran away saying he’d see me tomorrow.

The next day, we were fishing for a few hours, James and I, and we were having a blast catching little rock bass.  I had not seen Addison yet, but then I felt a little hand tugging on my coat sleeve.  It was Addison!

He said “Hi Hannah, I think you’re pretty.  Can I use your camera”…. well the truth comes out!  He just wanted my camera ;).

I took the strap, put it over his head and said “do NOT take that strap off of your neck”. Then I showed him what to do, and had him start taking photos.

This kid has an eye and innate technical skill.  I don’t have my camera set up on regular autofocus.  I have back button focus set up so I can I can split up the exposure and the focus.  Not many adults get that concept, but he did right away! He ran around and took photos of everything around him.  I took a look at the images, and I loved them!  It could be because I am a photojournalist at heart – I observe the world through a lens – and that is what he was doing, and he was doing it well!

As we were taking photos, it did not cross my mind that I had handed a kid my $8,000 camera set up without really thinking about what could happen to it.

Addison and I went into the ice fishing shack to take some images of his friends catching fish. As I was talking to a fellow angler, Addison decided to go back outside.  As he went outside, he tripped and the camera smashed into the ground.

He was absolutely terrified when he turned and looked at me.  The blank stare he gave me was one of a kid who was ready to be berated (or worse) for tripping over something.

He handed me the camera – and then he started running over the ice.  And I mean booking it. I had to make the decision to chase him, or try and fix my camera.  I decided to chase him. There was no way I was going to let a simple accident ruin his special day out on the ice.

He kept going and going over that lake – but he kept looking back at me as I chased him.  I could see he was still scared, and as I was chasing him, I kept looking down at my camera and seeing an error.  My heart sank because I was sure my camera or the lens needed to be repaired.  I really wasn’t too upset about getting it repaired (yes, it’s expensive and I don’t have the money, but it’s an object that can be replaced). I was REALLY upset poor Addison was terrified of me because of a simple mistake. I kept yelling as we ran across the lake that I wasn’t mad, but he kept going.

Then, as I was running, I remembered to take my battery out of my camera to see if that cleared the error.  It did.  I started being able to see the images he took – and they were WONDERFUL. {Pro tip: Never try to stare at photos on the back of your camera while running over a lake full of shacks and auger holes and random equipment everywhere while in full winter gear… just a heads up}.  I only fell once while chasing him… ahem.

As I got to him he kept trying to hide from me – I felt so sad for him!  I finally got to him and said, “Addison, you are an incredible photographer.  Do you know that? You are really, really good!  Don’t be scared – accidents happen.  I’m not mad.  I’m proud of you for trying something new.  Never be afraid to try something new.  You should be a photographer”.  First he looked at me suspiciously, but then his face lit up – and I showed him the photos he had taken. He was so proud of them!

Addison reminded me that day to not get too distracted by material goods that can be replaced, nor to be too upset about mistakes and accidents that just happen.  He also reminded me that sometimes fear can make people flee, even when the person they fear really wants to tell them they are talented and incredible human beings.

Here are a few of Addison’s photos from Hooked on Hardwater.  I think I’m going to need to send him a camera 🙂



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2 Comments on Handing over the camera – or – why it’s ok to make mistakes.

  1. Karen Phillips
    February 28, 2017 at 6:59 pm (5 years ago)

    What a great story. And you are right, he took great photos.

  2. Holly
    March 1, 2017 at 11:06 am (5 years ago)

    Such a great story and so very true about material things. Great photos Addison