I don’t take many morning shots because I’m not a morning person. Which is a bad thing to not be if you’re a photographer. Morning is when you get that magic light. The long shadows and golden glow that looks like the light’s emanating from the land or the sea. I was up early this morning…earlier than usual…so that I could catch some of that groovy morning light on the way to work. There’re four spots in my bucket that I have to capture in the morning. I’ve driven past them time and again and wanted to jump out of the car and start clicking. But then I would be late for work and they would cut off another finger. This morning I was taking my car in to get a new blenderflockensteinen installed. Or something like that. And they cut a foot off if you’re late.
I should have known things wouldn’t be going well when I walked out the door and into fog so dense you could swim in it. I wasn’t going to get my magic light picture today. On the way to the auto place, I looked longingly at those four locations as they taunted me viciously, “Oh Biff…we’re here. The light’s not. Oh Biff…”
Another time. Locations.
The highway fog was thick as rivers in run-off season. Two deer wandered out of the woods and up to the highway and waited for me to stop before crossing. Smart deer. I hope they escape hunting season.
Got to the garage half an hour early. Sat in the driver’s seat, pouting, feeling sorry for myself, feeling like the whole universe was plotting against me. It is, but apparently, I’m not supposed to know that. After a few moments of this self-absorbed behavior, a voice inside me said, “Biff, grow the hell up. Get outside with your camera and take pictures of something. Big baby.” So I figured what the hell, grabbed my camera and ventured into fog, pout and all.
Nothing really grabbed me. Took a picture of a bunch of tires piled up behind the garage. Took a picture of my feet and deleted it. Then I looked off toward the highway and everything changed. The cruddy mood evaporated and I got all fog-mooded. Fog that turns down the volume of the world, mutes everything like a chill blanket tucked over reality. Fog…mysterious and romantic. Ominous and mesmerizing. And very photogenic.
Especially surrounding the stand of trees across the highway entry ramp. I didn’t have my tripod with me so I had to set the ISO high to get a shutter speed fast enough for a clear shot. Got all my settings right just about the time a steady stream of cars passed in my line of sight on the trees…the drivers waving to me as they motored by endlessly, deliberately trying to stop me from taking this shot. But I’m used to this kind of torment. I stood there like Buddha With Camera and waited them out, knowing that somewhere in the distance they were driving from was a red light. And the red light would give me the gap I needed to get the shot. And sure enough, the gap appeared.
Thank you red light.
I tried a few horizontal shots, but they weren’t cranking me. I walked around, looking at the trees from different angles and viewpoints. You’d be amazed at how much just two or three feet can make in turning a blah shot into a great shot. I finally found an angle that was starting to grease the crank, but it wasn’t there yet. I turned the camera for a vertical shot…and I could see it there through the viewer.
There was the shot I was looking for. That crank turning shot that says, “Oh golden light in the morning. Piss off. Look how beautiful I am in the fog.”
Or something like that.