34 Degrees, Drizzle, Calm Winds
You might say that today was not a pretty day to be in the woods, but I actually enjoyed it. This is my first day with rainy conditions and everything looked different than it has so far this winter. The dirt road I walk was coated in a film of ice as the ground is still frozen and the rain froze on contact. It was not really raining when I went out, so it wasn’t difficult to get around or take pictures, but everything had a dim and hazy look to it that meant I saw new things and took some interesting pictures.
It was so dim this morning that I had to crank the ISO up to 1250 and keep the lens pretty wide open in order to hand hold shots. A tripod would have been better, but I have avoided carrying one so far and I’m not ready to carry one unless I have to. Noise could be an issue due to the high ISO but we’ll see when I edit later this morning.
I didn’t really know what I was going to shoot today when I started, but I quickly got absorbed in the incredibly rich and varied environment out there. I started with some shots of the brush and then some trees in the brush. I quickly noticed how cool the woods looked in the hazy low light, so I wound up shooting a lot of shots of trees against the woods and just the woods themselves.
Down in the forest, the wide shots I usually shoot were just boring, so I shot tighter shots that emphasized the rhythms of the different colored trunks and the deep space of the forest. My normal beauty shot of the distant trees across the marsh was absolutely uninteresting so I skipped it. I didn’t shoot a lot after that point, but I think I got a bunch of stuff I haven’t done before.
As I was shooting in the forest, I was thinking how much my background as a painter influenced my photography. I’m sure the things I was seeing today were influenced by the color field and stripe painters of the early 60s. I know paintings influence a lot of my compositional choices; mostly abstract painting, by the way.
I have realized over the last couple of days that what I will need to succeed with this project of shooting one place every day for a year is the ability to see new things at least every couple of days or so. Once I have a shot or two of a particular concept, I probably don’t need more. There might be a couple of exceptions, but generally once I have a great new shot, that’s it. I have to come up with something else unique and visually exciting the next day.
That’s no small task, but so far it’s going well. I am seeing things each day that I really hadn’t considered in the weeks before. If I can pull this off for a year, I will have accomplished something. I will have learned to see almost infinite possibilities in virtually any subject. When I started out, I was feeling like I couldn’t see any possibilities in virtually anything. That’s a big change.