Making the best of it

Don’t you hate it when you drag yourself to some lovely location for a sunrise or a sunset and mother nature doesn’t cooperate?  She’s ornery and unpredictable, but usually if you’re paying attention you can find something worth a spot on your memory card.

Lately I found a really great location not too far from me that would be terrific during sunset.  Apple orchards are so photogenic to me, albeit a bit creepy.  I half expect the trees to start throwing fruit like they did in The Wizard of Oz.  The crazy convoluted branches lend a lot of character and atmosphere.  So I went out one day to scout it for a sunset.  Oh who am I kidding, I was hoping for a great shot.  I didn’t get what I wanted, but I adapted.

Orangey Orchard Sunset

Now, my original plan was to highlight a single tree if I could and use it as a front piece to the sky.  Given that the sky was totally uninteresting, I had to move to plan B – lots of trees and branches.  Luckily I had time and acres and acres of trees to choose from.

This next one is from yesterday.  A few of us local photo enthusiasts got together for what we hoped would be a good sunrise.  Most of us drove more than an hour and then hiked for a bit in the 9-degree weather.  Then we all wandered around the field from one river view to another, like confused refugees, trying to find the shot.  I wasn’t in the groove.  I wasn’t inspired.  I couldn’t see.  Nothing jumped out at me.  My expectations were all caught up in the net of reality and I couldn’t break free.  Only when I gave it up for lost did I turn and see something worthwhile.

Cold sunrise

That line of trees and the almost geometric layout of the tufts of crispy grass did it.  I shifted from warm, glowing lovely sunrise to bleak, cold, stark sunrise.  The 4-stop graduated neutral density filter was a big help in drawing definition from the clouds in the sky.  I wanted to render the trees largely as silhouettes and the snow slightly blah.  Of the several shots I took, this one works best and unlike a lot of my compatriots, I think I walked away with something that was worth the time.

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