At certain times in my life I wanted to think we ought to have the right to decide when our life should come to an end. Acute, chronic pain.Terminal illness. Alzheimer’s. There’s a whole host of nasty, hideous ways to die that when confronted with any number of them, the ability to choose a tidy, medically assisted death seems like a better option. But if living with animals has taught me anything, it’s that knowing with absolute certainty when to let go isn’t nearly as easy or simple as one thinks. Do you continue to make adjustments, accommodate advancing age and all the complexities that come with it, or do you draw a line in the sand and wait? Easier said than done. When does modern medicine become more of a hindrance than a help? Where does hope morph into wishful thinking or grasping at straws? Does having the option to choose death make dying any easier, and if it does, easier on whom?
I don’t have the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that if euthanasia was a choice we’d struggle with that too. You don’t think so now because it’s not a legal option, but if it was I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any clear-cut guidelines for it’s use. We’d still waffle. Because difficulties aside, I think there are some pretty important lessons to be learned through our experiences with death.
I was out doing barn chores this morning when my nose was suddenly assaulted by the strong pungent smell of fabric softener. That’s right, fabric softener. How on earth a fake floral scent can waft through the air and completely override the earthy smell of horse poop, hay and damp horseflesh is beyond me. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Like clockwork, every two or three mornings my neighbor does her laundry, and I guess her washing machine doesn’t work very well because she thinks she needs to coat her clothing and a half-mile radius of the neighborhood with a “flower on steroids” chemical stink.
I simply don’t understand this mindset, but it appears clever marketing has won the war to convince the general pubic that we wreak. We’ve been brainwashed to think our house stinks, our clean clothes stink and even our clean bodies stink. I mean, why else would we feel the need to spritz ourselves with perfume after slathering ourselves with heavily scented body wash, throw perfectly clean clothes into a dryer with sheets that are chemically loaded with phony perfumes and “clean” our houses with chemicals that tout hyper-powerful scents ?
I think this is going to become what the war on invasive smoke was to the last two decades. Sure, you have every right to smell like a floral polecat in the privacy of your own home, but when your fake chemical stink starts to seep into my open windows and linger over my back yard and barnyard then it’s not just YOUR problem anymore. These products are known to make people and animals sick. They’re made to adhere to our skin and clothing and penetrate the surface of inanimate objects, where they can linger for days. Don’t people see the connection between chronic illness and the crap we’re breathing and cleaning and bathing with day in and day out? Enough already! Please, folks. Spend a few pennies more and buy unscented, chemical-free dryer sheets or vent your dryers into your own damn basement … I’m sick and tired of the chemical assault every wash day.
Gus is doing a fine job of blending into our family. After months of being a demur, goofy little tyke, he’s just now starting to grow into his adult personality. Gus is still sweet as the day is long, but he can be determined and even a little pushy (in a totally different way than I’m used to seeing) when he wants something. Gus always has a big grin on his face and he just loves to snuggle. This is a dog who wants to be right where the action is, but doesn’t create his own drama. And he’s QUIET, which after living with Hazer the last eight years, is a Godsend. If I could clone Gus I’d take another Rat Terrier just like him. I can’t wait to see how his hunting skills develop as time goes on. Right now he’s very fixated on all the bird feeders that attract droves of pesky red and gray squirrels. Hopefully, it won’t be long before he catches his first varmint!
I got out to shoot twice yesterday, a rarity for me. At 4:00 PM. I was vacuuming like a crazy lady, trying desperately to get a few last minute chores done before the evening routine of feeding animals and people got underway. But I kept glancing out the front window at the setting sun. I’ve chosen to miss shooting some nice sunsets only because our house sits in a valley where I don’t really get to see the sun set until it’s too late to do anything about it. I know, I know …. a good photographer would be in place well ahead of time, ready to capture that perfect shot. But I’m not that photographer. It’s pretty darn hard to feed a handful of hungry critters and get a meal started if I’m out shooting at that time of day. So instead of making a full commitment and getting out there where I need to be ahead of time, I play the Race Game.
The Race Game involves keeping one eye on the sky for an hour or so before I’d need to dash out if I want to try to catch a nice sunset. I have a small Rolodex of sites that will offer a pretty decent view and that I can reach from my house in about five to fifteen minutes. The trick is not cutting myself short on time, which I’m apt to do. It’s amazing how fast the sky can change. A sky that looks like it’s going to be great when viewed from my living room can easily tank by the time I arrive at my chosen spot. This photo was one of those times. The sky was probably stellar ten minutes before I arrived. I saw glimpses of it, but before I could get there the wind moved the clouds off the map. This cemetery is one of few places nearby that offers an unobstructed view of the horizon, but as I quickly discovered, it’s bitterly cold and windy. So I shot a dozen frames or so and headed back home. I’m not displeased with the results, but I’m not thrilled either. I guess this will have to be filed under the category of Ones That Got Away.
Fall to winter, day to night, mild to cold. Last night change rolled in on a magenta sunset. As we finished up a nice trail ride the sky started to form what l though might shape up into a nice sunset. I grabbed Gus and hit the road with my camera and gear, thinking that if I got lucky I might find a nice shot lurking not too far from home. I thought I had at least a good forty minutes to get someplace and set up before the sky started to really put on a show, but much to my dismay a front decided to come in riding low, dark clouds. Not quite ready to accept defeat, I kept searching. My local region doesn’t have the long, wide vistas one needs to catch the sun slipping over the horizon. Instead, we have nooks and crannies and deep valleys that hide the setting sun, and offer only a hint of a spectacular scene …. someplace else.
They say you should always wait until the final curtain goes down, so with darkness moving in I quickly searched for a sweet spot that might offer one last glimpse of what should have been a gorgeous sunset, but was fast turning into vivid ribbon of color against a dark sky. In a last-ditch effort I pulled off the main road onto a seldom-traveled side road that runs parallel to a big swampy area. I’d driven this road months before, hoping to find better access to shoot the swamp, but I never found the right vantage point. I kept one eye on the winding road and glanced at the setting sun every few seconds. I knew I didn’t have a minute to waste: I either needed to find a magic opening in the trees right now, or turn around and go home. I slowed the car as I drove into a sharp bend and suddenly, there it was, the picturesque view I wanted! The spot wasn’t anything special and in fact, I’d have to do a bit of creative maneuvering to work around some junk in the foreground, but if I could manage to do that then it just might work. In the five minutes that it took for the sun to slip below the treeline I shot a handful of pictures, then blowing on chilly fingers I packed up my gear and headed home. Not too shabby for ten minutes work!
This Land is Mine by Dido from the Life For Rent CD
Freedom: Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Never take it for granted
It’s seldom that I blog about people. Being a bit of a recluse, I don’t think talking about others is my forte. But today I’m going to break out of that mold and try my damnedest to say something nice about someone I’ve never met. Last night as my husband and I were eating dinner a special program appeared in the slot that’s normally reserved for Jeopardy! Disappointed, my husband started to flip through the channels, searching for something to watch (another Seinfeld rerun … again?) as the special program ran in the small view box. As I watched, I began to realize the special was about a dearly beloved Connecticut meteorologist, Dr. Mel. Had he died? What was going on? I told my husband to put the special on and we proceeded to watch as we ate.
I’ve been living in some part of New England all my life. I settled in Connecticut somewhere in the late 70’s and have been here ever since. To say I’ve grown accustomed to the ups and downs of New England weather should go without mention except for one minor little detail: I haven’t. I used to joke with my siblings and friends that the first sign of “old age” was to start every conversation with an assessment of the day’s (or week’s and month’s) weather. If that’s still a barometer of where I am in my life journey then consider me old, because my fascination (and frustration) with the weather has grown exponentially with age.
When I first moved to Connecticut there was a young(ish) meteorologist who presented the nightly weather with uncanny accuracy. He was a tad geeky, a major criteria for any weatherman, but always optimistic and full of good cheer. It takes a special kind of talent to predict another week of rain (or snow or heatwave) and sound encouraging and upbeat at the same time. But Mel Goldstein had that ability, and his even-Steven, happy-go-lucky temperament wasn’t fake. At first I made fun of him and his goofy grin, how he always smiled as he delivered yet another gloomy report. But as time wore on I began to realize his love for his job was sincere, and his concern for the anonymous mass of people who made up his audience was indeed genuine.
As news and weather reports began to evolve into the frantic, hyperbole that we typically see today, Dr. Mel continued to deliver his message in a calm, conversational tone of voice. He was matter-of-fact, but serious when the need arose, and never gave way to the kind of excessive hype and sensationalism so commonly seen now. That’s not to say Dr. Mel didn’t get excited about his job; he did. In fact, he practically oozed enthusiasm and excitement about even the most ordinary weather. But he didn’t use his forecasts as a platform to win station ratings or popularity contests. He took his job seriously, but was always willing to take a back seat to other important events of the time.
As the special played on I got a glimpse at the many different sides of a man I only knew as the weather reporter. Mel, the husband, father, co-worker, mentor, educator, musician and patient was every bit as caring and gregarious as the man who shared my living room every night. He had an infectious zest for everything he did and his desire to help and encourage others knew no bounds. While he often came across as nerdy and brainy (he admittedly was), he put 110% of his best effort into every assignment, every project he did. When Dr. Mel was sent to report on location he didn’t just look happy to be there, he looked THRILLED …. because he was!
I knew Dr. Mel had been sick for many years, but his drive to keep delivering his weather reports often disguised the seriousness of his illness. By the time I evolved into a weather nerd myself, Dr Mel was gravely ill and battling cancer. I didn’t expect he would live … I don’t think anyone did. But he survived. And where many would have quit their job, wallowed in misery or tried to work their way down their Bucket List, Dr Mel soldered on with his customary optimism and joy. The illness took it’s toll and Dr. Mel aged horribly in the short span of several years. But appearances aside, you never would have known how sick he was. He had the same gusto and charm as always because that’s just who Dr. Mel was. He was Mr. (well, Dr.) Happy To Be Alive!
Dr. Mel never “officially” retired until this fall, and even then he continued to file his personal reports and forecasts. Why? Why would someone who probably had no real need for monetary compensation keep working right up until the day they die? I think it was because we were Dr. Mel’s Bucket List. That’s right. Dr. Mel truly loved what he did so much that he never dreamed of a day when his job might be done.
God broke the mold when He made Dr. Mel. Today, weather reporters masquerade as actors and actresses. They “land planes” as they gesture toward maps they don’t glance at and they hype every event in hopes that we’ll sit glued to our TV instead of our computers. (Yeah, right) They’ve had boob jobs, nose jobs, hair plugs and dental veneers, but their concern for their audience is about as authentic as their Barbie and Ken doll looks. This new breed of forecaster tries to forge a connection with their viewers by babbling at us 24/7 instead of simply reporting the facts and supporting data with clarity and precision. The chances of a meteorologist like Dr. Mel ever getting in front of a camera today is slim to none. Apparently, authenticity is taboo.
I’ll miss Dr. Mel and his nerdy, goofy smile. I’ll miss the gentle, humble Renaissance man who had the natural ability to influence a whole generation of viewers and weather enthusiasts without really trying, but mostly I’ll miss him because he was a truly fantastic human being.
Goodnight, Dr. Mel.
No, that’s not a bird or a plane.
It’s a bat!
First of all, I didn’t adjust the color in any of these photos! They were taken on an unseasonably warm, beautiful day that evolved into a stunning, glowing sky as the sun began to sink over the treeline. I was out playing a little end of the day Frisbee with the dogs when I noticed what I thought was a barn swallow darting about in the evening sky. It stood out against the warm tones of the clouds as it swooped lower and closer, almost dive-bombing straight for us! Seconds later another “bird” appeared and I suddenly realized they were not birds at all, but bats darting to and fro! They flew fast and furious, honing in on insects too small for the naked eye to see. Several times they dove low to the ground, nearly colliding with me! Normally I’m not afraid of bats, but it was a bit unnerving to see how close they’d come to hitting me before pulling up or swerving to one side at the last second. I didn’t think I’d be able to catch their antics with my camera, but I decided to give it a try. If nothing else the sunset was stunning and the bats literally glowed from the reflection of the pink-orange sky. I watched the bats feed until the fiery sun sank below the horizon and I lost them against the darkening backdrop of the woods.
I don’t know what kind of bats these were, but I’m hoping they were Brown Bats. The Brown Bat population has been ravaged by white nose disease and nearly decimated in our area. I’ve seen several bats around the farm this summer, but none quite this bold or engaging. I hope they’ll be back again come spring!
I didn’t know it at the time, but last year was the perfect fall for taking pictures. My camera was new and I was completely inexperienced, but the conditions were stunning. This year …. not so much. I’ve been very unmotivated to get out before the crack of dawn and go hunt for that great shot. The fall color has been nothing to write home about and the fantastic light I had almost every day last year has not made much of an appearance. Being a rookie, I thought every fall would be like last year. Apparently not, and I’m very disappointed.
I’ve taken several pictures of this tree, but this was one of the nicer shots that I got after we had about three and a half feet of snow on the ground. Getting to the spot where I took this picture was a workout in itself: a steep uphill climb through butt-deep snow drifts while carrying a camera and tripod was a little nutty, not to mention the fact that (as usual) I was trying to beat the sunset. Oh, and it was single-digit, bone-chilling cold.
I used PS5 HDR toning to process this because it helps make the margins of the clouds pop a bit more. So far I’ve played with the HDR toning settings a lot more than the basic HDR program. That’s because I don’t take a lot of bracketed photos, which you need for the HDR program. HDR toning uses just one photo and the results are a bit less extreme, but that suits me just fine for right now. Perhaps if it wasn’t so darn cold I might have been more inclined to tinker with my camera settings and take some bracketed photos, but I could hardly manage to take the few pictures that I got.
Color-wise, I left things exactly as I saw them. I don’t like to punch color or vibrancy up unless I really have to, and in this case there was enough contrast in the sky to keep things interesting without playing Mother Nature. The wind was howling, making the sky change from moment to moment and it was one of those times when I found myself questioning my sanity and wondering why I was out there … until I saw the results. Sadly, there isn’t much interesting to shoot up on that ridge. The lone pine tree is nice, but unless there’s something brewing in the sky, it’s rather ho-hum.
Below: The trail back down.
Jan 30, 2011 5:47 PM EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 100, 19mm, 1/4 sec, f/25
Lens: Tamron SP 10-24mm 1:3.5-4.5
PS5: HDR toning
Lightroom3: brightness/contrast adj.
5:49 PM. EST.
ISO: 100, 11mm, 1/4 sec, f/16
This is another one of my favorite photos from last fall. I would love to get a chance to shoot this scene over again under the exact same conditions. When I took this picture I was rushing and trying to work with some pretty challenging elements. First of all, the lighting was tricky and it was changing fast, but I was also trying to capture some of the stunning foliage as well as get the boat and dock into this particular photo. Unfortunately, this would have been the perfect setting if it hadn’t been for the power lines and poles that littered the background. I didn’t have a good view of the scene until I was right on top of it and I was so dismayed when I saw the power lines. I knew they were going to show up in just about every picture I took. (Here, you only see a few poles, but they ran all along the far left side of the pond, then up, over and across the opposite rise. I used the tree to block as many of the poles and lines as I could in this photo.) And on top of everything else, at the time I thought I might have been trespassing on private land. I hadn’t seen any signs posted, but I was worried that someone from a house on the edge of the property might come out and holler at me. I’d parked on the side of the road and cut through a stand of trees to get to the field in front of the pond. I don’t know. call me paranoid, but it just felt like maybe I was on private property. So I rushed. I know I didn’t take the time I should have taken to get really GREAT shots. But I had the right idea and frankly, if going back through my catalog has shown anything it’s that sometimes the more time I have to take a photo and the harder I try, the less impressive my results are. I think I’m one of those people who does my best work when I just shoot what I think looks good and not always worry so much about getting everything “right.” OK, so perfectly focused pictures would be a good thing, but you get my drift … 😉
Oct 13, 2010. 6:00 PM. EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 400, 17mm, 1/25 sec, f/25.
Lens: Tamron 17-24mm
Lightroom3: Minor Brightness/contrast adj.
I messed around a bit more with the HDR. For me, it’s not so much the settings that are confounding, but the saving/resizing/converting into a format that I can post here. I’m so computer illiterate that I get far too bogged down in that end of things, more so than the actual processing. That kinda takes the fun out of it. It takes me ten or fifteen minutes to actually process the photo, then half a day to figure out how to save it and get it into a reproducible file format! There’s gotta be an easier way, I just haven’t figured it out yet!
But I digress. Above, another one of my attempts to tinker with HDR. Below is one of the original pictures that I merged, the lightest exposure of the series. I’ve tried to use the HDR program to bring out some of the finer details of this winter scene without making the picture look too surreal.
Jan 16, 2011. 5:40 PM EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 100, 22mm, 1/15 sec, 1/60 sec, 1/30 sec, f/18
Lens: Tamron 10-24mm
One of my favorite photos from the fall. The color in the sky was just perfect on this beautiful day.
October 7, 2010. 5:58 PM. EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 200, 24mm 1/125 sec, f/9.0
Lens: Tamron SP 10-24mm 3.5-4.5 Di II.
I live in an area fondly referred to as the Connecticut River Valley. I never really thought about that very much until I started taking pictures. In a nutshell, it means that no matter where I go, the sun is going to rise or set behind a ridge. And that means the sunrise or sunset is always going to be better in a spot where I’m not. I don’t live in a place that’s surrounded by flat, wide, expansive vistas. Instead, the landscape is craggy and littered with power lines and dense woods. It’s enormously frustrating to know there’s a gorgeous sunrise or sunset forming on the horizon, but you’re powerless to get someplace where you can shoot it.
This picture was taken at Bashan Lake. The opposite side of the lake has provided some stunning sunrise photos, but on this side of the lake the road is slightly higher. I thought it would be a good place to capture a sunset. Wrong. In many places houses, trees or power lines blocked the view and when I finally found a suitable place to shoot, the sun dropped like a rock behind the opposite ridge. I caught some nice shadows and a bit of orange glow, but I could tell that was the end of the show. Normally, I follow the golden rule that you “don’t pack until it’s black,” but it was very cold and I had a few errands to run. I loaded up my car, drove out the narrow lake road and proceeded back toward my neighborhood, all the while glancing over my left shoulder at the bright crimson glow just over the horizon. My car finally crested a steep rise and I got a five second view of a stunning sunset. I groaned.
Countless mornings I’ve sat right in my office and watched the most gorgeous sunrises, but I know from past experience that, short of pointing my camera directly at the sky, I don’t have a chance in hell of capturing them. I’ve heard it said that the best photos are usually taken just a ten or fifteen minute drive from your own house, but I’m thinking maybe that rule doesn’t apply here, or at least not if you’re hoping to capture a nice landscape. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this. Either I’m going to have to get up a lot earlier and drive a lot farther to get the kind of sunrises I want, or I’m going to have to learn to deal with the frustration of being disappointed a lot.
Jan. 16, 2011. 5:27 PM. EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 100, 19mm, 1/15 sec, f/22.
Lens: Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 DiII
Lightroom 3: Minor brightness, contrast adjustment.
When I was at the Equine Affair I wandered around a bit and took a few pictures of the things going on behind the scenes. Most of the pictures I tried to take were too cluttered to be much good. Just before I happened upon this scene I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get many ‘keepers.” I was pondering this as I leaned in the doorway of one of big barns, when I noticed this young woman waiting to load a horse onto an immense, multiple horse trailer. The sun was sinking and as she circled her horse they moved in and out of the one little patch of daylight that partially lit the alley. The woman and horse both looked exhausted. I’m sure they had been up since long before dawn and the day was probably far from over. The horse was covered with a warm wool cooler, but the sparsely dressed woman shivered in the cold brisk wind. Five minutes passed, then ten as they waited their turn to load. In the last few moments before they stepped into the trailer I caught them in this fading patch of sunlight.
Nov. 11, 2010. 4:44 PM EST.
Canon EOS 7D
ISO: 400, 85mm, 1/160, f/11
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
I wasn’t planning to post this picture, but this morning it fit on a couple of different levels. First, I lost my mother on Thanksgiving day. Like it or not, that’s always one of the first thoughts that crosses my mind when I wake up on Thanksgiving. I’ll admit, I’m not horribly grieved about this. After all, it happened several years ago and it was a blessing. Mom had early-onset dementia. For lack of a better diagnosis, we called it Alzheimer’s, but I don’t think Dad was ever thoroughly convinced that was her nemesis. No matter, it killed her anyway, slowly robbing her of her mind and memory so that by the time she died we were all somewhat relieved. But I miss her enthusiasm on Thanksgiving morning. Mom really knew how to milk a holiday for all it was worth. And she loved the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I remember watching it in black and white!) My siblings and I would line up on the couch and watch the parade while my parents buzzed around the kitchen. In an effort not to be excluded they provided a sort of running commentary from the other room. “Oh! They’re playing that in E flat!” punctuated by, “Goddamnit Kay, that needs more celery and onion!”
One of my earliest Thanksgiving memories is of my parents setting an alarm clock so they could get up at the crack of dawn to put a 26 pound turkey in the oven. Not that we ever ate the meal anytime before halftime, so I’m not really sure why the bird had to go in the oven so darn early. Were ovens less efficient back then? I dunno. But that’s what they did. Sometimes Dad would take off after that and go hunting for half the day. Nice. Leave all the food prep for Mom. Again, back then that’s just the way they did things. I can’t imagine what my mother thought, being left home on a major food holiday with four little kids under the age of 8. Sheesh!
Dinner was literally timed to coincide with halftime. Dad would holler a countdown from the living room, then appear in the kitchen to make a second (or third) double martini and carve the bird. (Is that a drumstick or Dad’s thumb?) By the time we finally got around to eating, both parents were tanked and the four of us had lost our appetite from eating too many snacks to curb our hunger. Halftime entertainment was usually a marching band, which was not nearly as distracting (or disturbing) as today. Dad would just lower the volume because the TV dictated the length of our meal and all that prep and planning came to a screeching halt the instant the second half of the game started.
When all was said and done we’d usually consumed about two pounds of the gigantic bird my parents had cooked. And because we ate dinner at actual dinner time, we didn’t snack on the leftovers later. Instead, my mother stood in the kitchen and painstakingly stripped the turkey carcass so we could eat like kings for days to come. Turkey soup, turkey pie, Turkey al la King … Mom was light years ahead of Forrest Gump, but she had more ways to disguise turkey than Bubba could use shrimp.
So I don’t know how any of this diatribe fits with the picture above, except that I’m thankful for what are now precious (and funny) memories. I miss family and friends who have moved on. Their effect on my life has not gone unnoticed. I’m also grateful for good health, both mine and an ever-extending circle of family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with those who are struggling with an assortment of burdens. God has blessed me abundantly and I will continue to be most thankful for His presence in my life.
Canon EOS 7D, ISO 400, 67mm, f/5.6, 1/320, 5:23 PM. EST.
Lens: Canon EFS 18-135mm 3.5-5-6.
This was taken early one evening when I’d hoped something great might happen in the sky. Unfortunately, this was about as exciting as it got … which wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I had in mind. I haven’t been back to this spot in awhile and I’m going to assume it looks pretty desolate about now. We are in-between seasons, which is challenging. Not fond of the cold, I’m far more tempted to park myself in my office and work on learning the computer end of this hobby. Once it snows I’m sure I’ll be motivated to get out and shoot. Any time there’s a major change in the landscape I want to take pictures of it.
This was the kind of sunset that you had to experience for yourself to believe how stunning it was.
This picture of the Salmon River was taken just before dusk on a very drizzly, foggy afternoon. The pinkish tinge was from the sunset that was hidden from view by the fog and clouds. You can see just a hint of blue sky peeking through the clouds in the upper left corner. I wanted to take more pictures, but I had to be elsewhere just when the light was starting to get interesting. I pulled my car over and walked to the middle of a bridge to take this picture, then took a few shots of the opposite side.
Then I was on my way.
I attended a weekend photography seminar with Ed Heaton. Ed is a pro full of information and inspiration, but here’s the thing: he’s a nice guy to boot! While Ed’s approach to shooting is drop-dead serious, his teaching style is casual and fun. No ego or attitude whatsoever with this guy! Ed has a great sense of humor and loves to work with ALL levels of experience. There wasn’t any point where I felt like he downshifted into “pro photographer speak” to the point where it was a chore just to decipher what he was talking about. I liked that a lot, and the fact that he was so approachable.
Saturday evening Ed did a slide presentation of his work and talked about how achieves his signature look. All photographers know light is important, but Ed spent a lot of time explaining the hows and whys behind a great landscape shot. His own landscape work is nothing short of stunning, and he provided example after example of how a photographer manipulates and uses natural light.
Early ….. and I DO mean early ….. Sunday morning, the group gathered at one of the parking lots for the Airline Trail. Now given that I’ve hiked, biked and ridden this trail extensively over the last 22 years, I wasn’t all that excited about the specific segment of trail that we were going to shoot. As far as landscapes go, the swamps along the Airline are not the most exciting of places to shoot, especially after a long hot summer drought. But I chalked it up to experience and I figured that once the group headed out I could move on and find something a bit more interesting to shoot.
First of all, it was windy and COLD …. as in, need a hat, neck scarf and probably gloves, cold. Second, the sky stunk. It was cloudy and gray, with barely a glimpse of the sun. There was little possibility of a gorgeous sunrise, which was disappointing to say the least.
So the vista was not anything to get excited about. Granted, there were other things I could have shot, but the seminar was about landscape photography, not macro. And truth be told, even if the sunrise had been stellar I wouldn’t have picked that vista this time of year. It’s been unusually dry and the swap was covered with brown, burnt Lilly pads. Ug. Not something I wanted to shoot!
So I shot a few frames and moved on. I hiked until I heard rushing water, then cut off the path and into the woods where I found a nice little spot of faster water to shoot. I wasn’t 100% thrilled with my results, but it was better than nothing. I took pictures of a few other things that grabbed me, then called it a wrap. I’ll post those pictures in a day or two.
Later, though the sky was still overcast and gray, I felt compelled to load up a dog and drive to a nearby park to scout out a spot for the future. That’s something I learned from this seminar …. good pictures rarely just “happen.” You have to get out and plan for them! So I’m hoping that as the season turns a bit more fall-ish, I’ll get some nice pictures of foliage and sunsets at Day Pond. If nothing else, perhaps I’ll get a chance to shoot the resident beavers again!
A favorite spot on top of the ridge across the street
I hope to shoot more pictures from this gorgeous spot as the seasons change.