Lucky in Light
Outdoors photographers are at the mercy of the sun and clouds. We can’t make our own perfect light and so when it comes along we have to recognize it and get out there. My favorite kind of light is hazy clouds with breaks of blue sky. Not quite overcast, but not quite full sun either. It usually happens ahead of a storm – way ahead. I love it when I find it as I did with the Abandoned House shoot and on this one I decided to do when I saw what kind of day it was shaping up to be. Well, day would be stretching it. I probably had an hour or two of this perfect, soft, lovely light that still had shadows in it. So it being stick season I went to shoot more mills. I’ve kind of got an obsession going with them.
Just look at that light though. Look what it does to the clouds. The trees. The buildings. It’s wonderful. There’s definition there without overpowering or being too contrasty. There’s softness there, but without being flat. It reminds me of ‘the golden hour’ light, but a bit cooler in temperature. Even in shade and in monochrome it works.
While I shot these first few from that walkway up there, someone in a nearby building was wailing on a guitar. It sounded great and I was disappointed when it stopped. I don’t think he could hear my applause.
Not all of the mills or factories in the Nashua millyard are occupied, though many are. Some are abandoned and I bravely trespassed. Well, there wasn’t a sign saying I couldn’t be there, but I always half expect someone to confront me even though it’s never happened. The light was starting to go, but it was still pretty damn good.
Old, abandoned factories make me so sad. Once we had thriving manufacturing. We did stuff. We built stuff. Now we just want it cheap, but we still pay. When I walk between the buildings I think of the hive of activity it must have been. Trains. Trucks. Pallets of finished merchandise or raw materials. People coming and going. Time clocks. Whistles. Shift changes. All gone now. But that light…it lures me out to document what’s left.