Gosh, the first day of spring (has passed) and the temperature is climbing.
I stood out on my porch looking at the melting snow along the walkway to the driveway thinking that winter seems to have come and gone in a rush this year.
It was a lazy day for me and I really didn’t want to do anything except have another cup of coffee and maybe snooze on my chair listening to music. However, I do like pointing my camera at things and this would probably be my last chance to photograph things poking out of the snow. And if this year is like most I expect the cool spring rains will be pounding on my roof in short order.
So, as hard as it was I ignored the waiting coffee grinder and went off get my camera.
My latest acquisition is a 300mm lens. I like that focal length and have had several since the first Pentax I owned back in the 1970s. This latest lens came with a 1.4 telextender that gave me a 450mm of reach.
I have a longer 150-600mm lens, but the 300mm takes up less room in a bag or on my car’s seat, it focuses very fast and is just darned fun to use.
Although I sometimes photograph wide landscape vistas my preference is tight close shots. It’s the intimate, close cropped “parts” of a scenic that catch my eye. So after making sure I had an empty memory card and charged battery I mounted the 300mm lens on my camera and set off to see if I could make some interesting photographs of things resting on, or poking out of the snow.
By the time I drove down the road the sun was high in a bright blue cloudless sky. My choice was to head up into the hills or down to the river. But I wondered if the small pond was still frozen over so I went up.
The pond was frozen without a footprint or even a lonely bird in the tall lifeless reeds that circle the pond. I was disappointed, but as it has for the past 40 years, this rural place where I live, always offers something that catches my eye. The long lens was the perfect tool to isolate and exclude as I focused on the remains of a tree poking out of the snow. That broken and rotted stump in a desert of white snow was crossed with neat long thin shadows that made up for the boring pond.
I stopped to photograph what was left of an old log building that once might have been for storage or maybe living quarters for some ranch hand. When I first drove down what was then a bumpy dirt road many years ago it still had a glass window and roof, but now only the decaying log walls remained.
I drove around getting out of the car and trudging through the wet snow trying to photograph subjects I have photographed before in a new way.
I often wonder what the people in the cars think when they, once again as they have many times before, pass me pointing my camera at some subject. Most are not photographers, making the things I am photographing of little interest to them.
It always seems new to me. A bit familiar for sure, but this was the first time I photographed anything in my neighbourhood with this particular lens.
So yes, new.
I know I’ll be back photographing everything again when it rains or maybe when the grass begins to grow or when there are geese in the pond or anytime I am in the mood.
I know I have included this quote from American photographer Elliott Erwitt before but it just seems to fit.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Love that quote!
thanks fragg…I am sure you’ll find occasion to use it.
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ow true – finding something, or an interesting angle is so important. And the frustration of not finding someone who finds it as interesting as you did! Enjoyed your shots – good luck with the new lens. Des.
Thanks Des. Well, I suppose it’s “in the eye of the beholder”. but as long as we have fun it doesn’t really matter.
Terrific series, John. You have an eye for lines, contrasts and colors. The Erwitt quote is a favorite. And, you know how to find these scenes.