A Walk Among the Mangroves

I spied a job ad that captured my imagination. This rarely happens and I possessed the relevant experience, so I applied straight away.

A month passed. January became February, with no acknowledgement of my application. A few days into the new month, the job poster called me on a Friday and apologised for not contacting me sooner. He was eager to have me come in for an interview the following Friday — a week away.

Before we ended the call, the job poster asked, “Can you shoot video?”

“I can shoot video, but I don’t market myself as a videographer,” was my safe reply.

“No problem, I understand. If you could send me a link to any of your video work, in time for our interview, that’d be great.” The position wasn’t for a videographer, however the advertiser thought video would be a valuable, extra skill for his organisation.

The choice was made for me. I had the opportunity to interview for what I felt was a dream role, and the interviewer wanted to see some of my video work. Problem was, I didn’t have anything beyond some exciting underwater footage of seals.

I needed to shoot some more video, fast! I’d be unable to capture and edit video next week (Monday to Thursday), those days were allocated to my current work. Tomorrow (Saturday) was also full. That left Sunday as the only clear day in my schedule. I had one day to shoot and edit something before the interview.

Where could I go to capture footage relevant for the role? Simplicity seemed to be the best approach and I decided to drive to Berowra Waters, a nearby suburb, located on Berowra Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River.

After I drove down a steep, winding road, I arrived at Berowra Waters and parked my car close to the busy boat ramp. People were everywhere and the heat was oppressive. Families and fishermen, messing about in boats, dominated the scenery. I wanted an untouched feel to my footage, so I walked away from the boat ramp to the mangrove forest.

In the mangrove, the mud appeared to be alive. I moved in closer and saw tiny crabs.

As I followed the narrow path, the clouds closed in and the ambient noise of the insects became a forceful drone. God, it was hot! Sweat trickled down my back and my shirt clung to me like wet paper towel.

Despite the heat, I absorbed my new surroundings. A mangrove forest is a liminal place, between the land and the sea. Fish and crustaceans bred here, away from unsafe, open spaces. The mud beneath the trees, punctuated by bubbling pools and vertical roots, appeared to be alive.

I knelt down for a closer look and brought the camera viewfinder to my eye. Adjusting the zoom lens, my vision crossed the thick air between me and the mud, teleporting my awareness. I was looking at tiny crabs. Orange, green, and purple. All busy imbibing algae. I captured some footage.

I soon forgot I was here to increase my chances of job interview success. I let my camera linger on the beautiful scenery and I no longer cared about the literally stifling atmosphere (over 35° celsius / 95° fahrenheit). The mangrove filled my senses until there was little room for anything else.

Before I returned to my car, I pointed the camera in the direction of the water below the public picnic area. A quicksilver flash broke the surface. I laughed at the realisation I’d just captured a fish leaping out of the water. Surely a good sign?

Later that evening, I collected all my video clips together on my computer and taught myself some new video editing software. A few hours later, I had the below video, ready for my interview.

I didn’t get the job.

Frustratingly, it turned out the organisation didn’t want a creative person to fill their role. I did however enjoy my walk among the mangroves.

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