Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beardsley Farmstead, Light Snow

PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY: The snow began about noon - very fine flakes that stuck to limbs and grasses and coated the sides of trees. I still haven't got this shooting-in-blizzard thing quite figured out - wasted much time fussing with the camera rain gear and then wasn't able to change lenses - finally went back to the car and leaned inside to change lenses - leaning into the car, snow from the brim of my hat channeled a slow drip of water onto my work space. In falling snow the simplest things become difficult. LESSONS: 1. When significant snows are blowing pick a lens and stick with it. 2. Don't try shooting into the wind unless it's really worth it. 3. Carry both paper towel and micro-fibre cloth. Check often. 4. The equipment is durable; it can get a bit wet. If at all possible shoot without the raincoat. 5. Keep your gloves on. Of course, these are the mechanical things that thought and practice make perfect. The real issue for me is that conditions divert my focus and make me careless about everything.

Later in the afternoon the snow turned light and gentle and the thermometer climbed enough for a bit of melting. For all the snow that seemed to be falling, I was surprised at how little had piled up. This photo was the last of the afternoon. I've been shooting this angle of the farmstead for a few months because I like the profiles of the barns. Could it have something to do with my love of counterpoint? I took four prior shots before realizing that I needed to shift right. That shift traded a venerable foreground maple tree on the left edge of the shot for the two thin saplings shown here on the right. That shift made all the difference. I took a single shot and knew it was right. The snow continued a bit longer, and a bit of sun even came out as I drove home. Having been subdued and made to quit early by an old country farmstead, a bit of snow and wind, and temperatures that never got below 30 degrees, I'm impressed all over again with the Nat'l Geographic photographers who tame environments far more challenging and make them almost routine. Still, whatever anyone else thinks, I'm content to have gotten this shot.