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Two Found Compositions - November, 2006
As I mentioned in the last post, November is a bleak month for outdoor photography, at least in Michigan. The short days, the beginning of the extend periods of clouds and gloom, and the almost non-stop rain really defy the conventional wisdom of what makes for a good shoot.
Now that I no longer shoot full time, I’m constrained by the day job and the business aspects of photography more than ever. You have to take what you can get in terms of days and weather and light and shooting conditions.
Maybe that’s not a bad thing. We want life to be a big buffet were we can pick what we want when we want it. But maybe its better just to be given a dealt a card and be challenged as to how to play it.
At least that’s how I chose to see it this morning. As usual the weather forecast was wrong, and the anticipated snow / rain / sleet mix did not arrive. Though the day was gloomy and cold, I figured I would take shots that tried to express the idea of ‘gloomy and cold.’
Complicating matters is that the firearms deer hunting season started on Wednesday, and my favorite haunts, places I visit dozens of times a year in search of solitude, are now crawling with hunters.
So I headed out with no real plan, which is the worse plan of all. To cover all bases I brought a wide variety of gear – the digital SLR, the 35mm camera with half a roll of Delta 100 languishing in the chamber, the Pentax 6x7 medium format setup with 2 frames left on the roll I started last week.
After driving around for a few hours, listening to the news, stopping for coffee and breakfast, I had shot nothing. Not one frame. A big nada for the day.
So – back home.
A squirrel was sitting on the empty bird feeder, digging for any last morsels he could find. I decided to fill up the feeders – for him and for the house sparrows – and while I was doing that I noticed an interesting composition of leaves in the birdbath near the feeder.
The leaves were rotting and the glare of the water affected the shots – far more than it affected my vision of the scene.. But I took several shots, and worked with the photo in Photoshop later to negate the surface glare (which in the un-processed image all but obscures the detail.)
Maybe we don’t have to stray too far to capture gloom and autumnal shadow.
In the back yard, next to the downright rotten jack-o-lantern I had carved for Hallowe’en, was a small sorbet bowl filled with water. I had put the candle for the jack-o-lantern into the bowel, and had pulled it out and set it aside a few days ago. Maybe November has me reaching for straws – but I liked the scene, and shot away.
Several other back yard shots proved to be pretty uninteresting. But here in the early November evening, I feel that at least I got something. And for today at least, something beats nothing.