How they’re longing for some color. Even more than usual for this time of year. See, we’ve basically had a snowless winter. It hasn’t snowed with accumulation since Halloween. The extended brown stick season has sapped my enthusiasm and induced the need for color in a big way. So, without further ado –
See what I did there? I snuck in a cemetery. It’s a family plot and so wee. I think I’l do a seasonal study of this location. It’s got to be amazing at sunrise with snow. Or in the spring when the foliage has all the tenderest shades of green. And speaking of foliage…autumn’s color peak will be amazing here. That tree to the right in the last shot is one of a few chestnuts and should make for a good specimen. The clouds dispersed much faster than I thought they would when I shot this, but even in the harsh light it has some merit.
Anyway…that’s all I could find for color. Things won’t begin to green up for at least 6 weeks and so the brown stick season continues…I don’t hold out much hope for snow, but you never can tell. Nature is fickle.
to paraphrase Robert Burns. Sorry, Bob.
With all the tools at our disposal now like Photographer’s Ephemeris and just plain Google maps, we can really get a handle on a location, the light and how best to showcase both. In our minds we envision the photographs we want to take. We move the pin all over the map deciding on the best vantage point. We make ‘shot lists’.
This morning I set out for Lubberland Creek Preserve with visions of a lovely saltmarsh sunrise in my head. I knew just the spot. Saw that a certain little island would be backlit perfectly this time of year. Felt that the marsh itself would be frozen enough that I could walk out and not get my feet soaked. I hoped for a bit of mist or frost or both. Maybe even deer in the meadow. And clouds. Don’t forget clouds. The forecast called for partly cloudy, so things would be perfect.
Then shit happens.
Yah. It’s inevitable, right?
First I was low on gas and had to stop. After a false start at an exit that only had a single gas station – closed! – I lost a few minutes there and at the station that was open. By the time I got to the preserve, I was running late. I could see color in the sky and it was building. But wait…where are the clouds?? Well no worries, maybe there will be some mist, fog or dare I hope? – deer in the meadow. Ok deer, where are you? Didn’t you get my memo? And wouldn’t you know it, above freezing so no mist, no fog no nothing.
What’s a photographer to do?
Find something else!
With the rest of nature doing its best to thwart me (it feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?), I had to regroup really fast. For a few minutes I found myself falling into the trap I wrote about in my last post. My pre-determined shot list wasn’t materializing and I didn’t have a fall back position. So I just stood and looked for a while and realized where my eyes were going.
The light in the grasses was beautiful. And the contrasting colors really worked well…finally nature was giving me a little break!
I changed lenses to my old 90mm f2 so I could have a bit more reach and just kept crunching over the reeds and grasses, hunting for new compositions and arrangements while the light lasted.
I had a great time until the light ran out. When I got home and saw what I had, I was very happy that Lightroom helped me keep the processing uniform so as to bring the images together as a set. No, I didn’t get precisely what I wanted, but I did get something worthwhile and pushed myself to find it. I’m content. Besides, it’s not like it’s going anywhere and I can always have a do-over!
Do you fuel your fire or let it go out?
Today I went with a friend to shoot the sunrise. I know this lake fairly well and know how few places there are with compelling or even just plain usable foreground elements. It’s always a tough shoot unless you have a lot of time or have scouted beforehand. With my friend’s back being very painful, I knew we couldn’t walk far from the parking lot and I hoped against hope I’d find something, but doubted I would.
What an attitude huh? I’d practically given up before I’d even started. Whatta dope.
It got worse. I actually took the filter holder off my camera and put the whole rig away! I stood around chatting with Denise about how I wasn’t feeling it. She was moving around and trying things. What the hell was I doing? Being an idiot.
So I decided that was stupid and went off hunting. Down by the foundation of an old boathouse I found something…not quite in time for the pre-dawn light, but in time to catch the sun as it crested and lit up the reeds in the foreground. I was thrilled to find that crack in the ice, too. It won’t win any awards, but it isn’t crap either. Finding it made the whole morning worth it and I felt instantly better. Suddenly I was a photographer again.
I’m glad I made the effort. I wasn’t feeling it when I got to the location, but neither was I trying to feel it. I wasn’t fueling my fire, I was letting it die. Some photographer, huh? How many times have you been tempted to give in and stop shooting when you get on location? Do you work your way through it or do you tell yourself you’re being a discerning photographer and not wasting your time? Attitude and expectations are everything on some shoots. Don’t give up. Go hunting. Stay engaged. Look around. Fuel your fire!
Granted it’s not the only type of fern to remain green in winter, but it just looks so pathetic sometimes that it’s irresistible.
I found it while exploring some ruins in the Townes forest in New Boston, NH. We’ve had so little snow that I noticed swathes of evergreen fern all over the foundation. They all drooped over so artfully, like waterfalls, that I began hunting some to photograph. This one had the best light and was nicely isolated by a large indentation in the stone foundation of the barn that used to stand here. The comparative darkness of the rocky cave made for a great backdrop for the fern in the soft morning sun. I especially love how the curled leaves form a repeating pattern and how the exploded spores stand out against them. Ah nature, thou art so cool.
Winter is a great time for showing us things we might ordinarily not see at all. I have no idea how many times I’ve passed this house, but I’m sure it’s dozens. Finally the other day I noticed it. I had to laugh though because it’s about 50 feet from the edge of a pretty busy road. I’ve even gone past it in winter and not seen it. Funny.
Even though the light was less than ideal, I just had to stop. It’s a funny mix of things, this little house. It looks as if it were originally built as one big room and had some additions tacked on. The windows have different latches and there is a mix of shake and clapboard siding.
Next door there is an occupied house whose resident had snow-blown a path over to this ramshackle pile and I don’t know if it was my imagination, but I felt watched the whole time I shot. I fully expected someone to come talk to me (like when I shot the abandoned Texaco station in 2009) and question what I was doing (duh…can’t you see I’m baking pies???), but no one did.
I am always respectful though. I don’t attempt to get inside unless it’s very easy to do so and with this little cabin, it wasn’t. Just above this doorknob is a padlock. Severely rusted and probably no longer really useful, but I respected its intent. Too bad it was in a patch of sunlight and too harshly lit to make for a good image. Same with the interior, which had some lovely plaster work and moldings. In softer light it would have worked, but as it was I didn’t get any usable images. I do like this shot of the underpinnings though.
It looks like the heat source was one stove originally, expanding to two of them with the addition to the left. Also it looks like it was never wired for electricity. Sometime recently, but not very recently, it was used as a storage shed for someone who did a lot of crafts (buckets of pine cones, starting to disintegrate) and maybe had a roadside nursery (lots of plastic plant pots – hundreds of them, stacked inside and a garden hose).
I wish places like this could talk. For example, I’d love to know what was leaning against the far right wall by the chimney. It looked like the frame of a wagon or sleigh, but without the chassis it was hard to tell. Ah, life’s little mysteries.