Sunday, October 6, 2013

As Clouds Digress

NOTE:  My thanks to Christine Reichman in Alaska who has successfully convinced me that the two spots in the trees on the far, right shore of River's Edge just might be two eagles. If I knew that when I took the picture, I quickly forgot.  Thank you, Chris.

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  I suppose it's hard to deny the photographic urge to look for "pictures."  That may describe what newspaper photographers do for a living, and I mean that with deep respect for their art, but it is an un-useful way to describe what I and many other photographers do. While the pictorial focal point of the silos is essential to the "picture," much of the joy in photographing that afternoon came from exploring the many ways of playing the evolving shadows cast by the setting sun, the patterns of the soy rows and the bold features of the land&skyscape against each other and against the rectangular canvas of the camera while the day drew to a close.

If I didn't truly enjoy walking, I would be a very different photographer or maybe not a photographer at all. I bagan the afternoon at a point in the background on the left, behind the distant soy field and the distant row of trees in this image. It was a good high point from which to look down on the soy rows. If I can use shadow to give the field texture and direction it will be useful to any finished composition. I walk to find the places that might let me do that best.

Unfortunately, from my starting point the silos were too small and the soy row delineation too dim to lead the eye, at least under current light. I walked down a soy row, sometimes shifting lanes. As I walked I was especially mindful of other elevated places and of the direction of the soy rows in relation to the silos. I also looked for any anomalies of interest around me, but I didn't shoot again until I had crossed the soy field and stood due west of the silos, off the left edge of this image.

From there, shadow covered the foreground soy rows. I often find it effective to shoot from shadow into light, and I composed images where the shadow's edge added a strong diagonal to activate a composition. I sought bold shapes and colors that might reach through the shadowed soy rows to enhance the immediate foreground, but the rows ran the wrong way, and where the soy was bright, it was also flat.  I turned and looked down two or three rows to a large shed, formed and exposed several more compositions that ran with the soy rows and then continued walking even as the earth kept turning and shadows were lengthening.  I had timed my walk because I knew the next section held the most promise.

It took a bit more than five minutes to move from the point where I took this picture to the point where I shot "Dairy Farm, 2013."  I made nine exposures from three locations. It was a small part of the 30 minutes spent crossing the soy field where it paralleled the barns, a relatively short distance in which I made 214 exposures until my final choice came down to these two images that risk redundancy - perhaps much ado about nothing, but "film" is free, and and you never know what's there until you get there and sometimes not even then.

After that I moved in close and photographed, whatever it means, until the sun set.  Two of those images were just posted. I never had time to get back out and rephotograph the soy rows with longer shadows. Perhaps I will get another chance. 

I suppose this is a long way to try and clarify why it's not quite adequate to think of landscape photography as, "shooting pictures," though I may be the only one who cares.