Monday, May 21, 2007

New Brunswick Storm, May 2006

For the past week weather has made shooting difficult. In fact, in some ways this spell of gray has been well timed. Preparation for our exhibition which opens this weekend would have been in conflict with my urge to catch the last of the opening leaves, just as it has kept me from adding to, "Today's." On the other hand, this storm system lying off the coast has moved in and out; it has been one of those in which expanses of slate gray periodically give way to dramatic skyscapes, the kind of skies where one quickly looks for anything that will compose them into an image. Any photographer moved by such weather must be always on alert for sudden changes, ready to quickly hop in the car and find the spot where a picture may lie waiting. Preparation for the exhibit has kept my nose down and my printer running, and such weather events have all been missed.

On the other hand, final prep for the show has sent me back through older images to find any that will fit with the other work in the show. In doing so, I came across this image taken just one year ago while I was on my way to a week-long photo workshop in New Brunswick, Canada. It illustrates, as well as any image I've taken, what one can catch when the clouds suddenly turn lively, and in the past year my skill with Photoshop has improved so that I can get much more out of the initial image than I could have when I shot it.

The signed date on the image reflects that I have worked it up fresh to try and extract every bit of contour from clouds and hillsides. In truth, it is one of those images that are almost beyond the reach of a camera; if one is to catch the shapes in the bright clouds on the right, one loses detail in the dark clouds on the left and the foreground soil turns black. I had time to snap 9 images before the clouds shifted. Three were bracketed shots (different exposures) very similar to this one. This image was made from the darkest of those. As shot, dark areas showed no detail. However, it was perfectly exposed to catch the cloud formations on the right. The latent image in the underexposed areas was enough that there was no need to take parts of the other shots and make a composite image.

Now that it is finished, however, I've decided it will not appear in the exhibit. For me, the hardest part of putting together an exhibit is cutting out shots for which there is no room and which don't quite fit with my thematic intent. Much as I like this finished image, it will not fit. I've chosen to show very few broad landscapes in favor of the farmstead abstractions that have been catching my eye for some months now.

I'm glad I will see some of you at the show this weekend or next.


Ginnie said...

That is totally amazing, Ted. Talk about a mood!

Emery Roth II said...

With encouragement like yours, there's no stopping me.