When I saw the sunrise on this beautiful morning in camp, I really didn’t see a photo until I walked back around behind the cactus, noticing the silhouette of the rising sun. I jumped into action, although I knew I was going to miss the shot I wanted: one with the sunstar at the crack of the horizon and the light on the tips of the cactus–and without the distractions of the ugly bush and the camp shelter. In the time it took to slap on a neutral-density filter, get the tripod arranged properly, and think through my exposure settings, the sun moved a bit too high in the sky, and I couldn’t find a better cactus grouping. So I snapped this one, hoping for one more pretty, cloud-filled sunrise during our stay, and would use this morning’s photo as a test shot of sorts. There wasn’t another opportunity to get a similar shot while I was here, but I decided that I was ok with what I did get on this gorgeous morning.
The mornings down here in the Palm Desert area have been wonderfully cool, with beautiful skies; they’re a good contrast to the full-on heat of the midday sun. Most mornings, Susan and I have been enjoying coffee in our little camp, and I haven’t been motivated to get the full camera rig out. (Truth be told, it’s not terribly photogenic, this spot.)
This morning, I was up a bit earlier than usual, and was captivated by the waning crescent moon above the hills behind camp. So I went off to shoot for a bit, and walked away with two nice images to start the day. (Click to see them bigger.)
A few weeks ago, I drove down to New Mexico to pick up a trailer that Susan and I were buying. It was a long, crazy, two-and-a-half-day drive to get there, and I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about photos. On my last stretch, I left very early and was driving down the interstate when I noticed the beautiful dawn sky in the east. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I finally pulled over, got the tripod out and took a few shots before the light got too strong.
I loved the little wisp of haze, the deep blue of the sky, and the beginnings of bright sunlight on the horizon. Would have been nice to see a cloud or two (or the rising crescent moon), but I’ll take it.
(Click the image to see it bigger.)
I had a slight tumble this morning, as Hudson and I went off in our backyard wilderness to shoot the sunrise. I got a bit banged up, and quite embarrassed, but I dusted myself off and gamely went on. I’m glad I did, even though I thought I didn’t get a single decent shot.
There will be more from this trip, but I wanted to get something up while I had a decent connection.
Recently, Susan and I went to see “Mr. Turner,” a movie that I have been dying to see, about the great 19th-century British painter, J.M.W. Turner. The movie was odd–with occasionally impenetrable dialogue and almost no exposition whatsoever–yet I found it compelling and thought-provoking in the end.[1. In a nutshell: if you could figure what was being said, riddle out out who was who (and who was really important to the story), and not be driven crazy by the random dissonance of the soundtrack, you very well might be fascinated by the lengthy character study of an eccentric, seemingly misogynistic man who also happened to be a genius painter. Not a qualified rave, but I am glad that I saw it.]
Thinking about the movie brought me back to a series of images I made early last year on Sauvie Island with Hudson (I’ve posted two photos: cormorants, sauvie island and love and fearlessness). I love the fog and the diffuse light that it often brings with it, and I had tried to work up a few landscapes that incorporated the river, the distant bank, and the clearing fog. I never really did anything with those shots, but last week, thinking about the light on that day, I decided to go back and view the series with a fresh set of eyes. Here’s one view…[2. I’m not equating myself with Turner; it’s more that I have always loved the way he dealt with light, detail and the vastness of a landscape, and he’s one of the artists that has inspired me. And, thinking about painting when looking at a scene with a camera is never a bad thing, in my opinion. I wasn’t channeling him when I was in the field here, but I do have a vision of creating photos in the fog that have both painterly and photographic qualities.]
I’ve been shooting this vista for a couple of years now, and have long wanted to get out there at sunrise. I’ve had this mental image of the sun kissing the tops of the trees in the orchard, creating a magical light that would provide a lovely contrast to the river and the sky.
I was also pretty sure it wouldn’t really be like that, and when I finally was able to get out there, it turned out the sun was coming from completely the wrong angle at this time of year. And, there wasn’t much of a sky. Or, at least an interesting sky.
Somehow, though, there was something there to shoot. It still might not be the right shot, but it didn’t turn out half bad in the end.