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.
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.
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.