March 8, 2018

Cloudy, 23 Degrees, Light Snow, Northwest Winds 15 – 20 mph.

Today did not feel like an early spring day that happens to have snow on the ground. It felt like plain old winter. Gray skies, cold temperatures, snow falling, and strong winds made me feel like huddling inside my coat and trying to get to the woods where there is some shelter as quickly as possible. Toward the end of my walk, a weak sun was trying to burn through the overcast. That lifted the bleak mood a bit, but the wind was in my face and biting any exposed skin on the way back.

Last night I awoke with the feeling that I must have been crazy to think I could do this daily writing. and photography for an entire year. Nobody wants to do anything every single day for a year, perhaps least of all me. I’m sure I didn’t anticipate the amount of energy it would take to write and edit photographs every day. I can barely keep up with the onslaught of pictures. There’s no time to really consider which pictures deserve printing and get the printing done.

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I enjoy these shots where depth of field creates this screen-like feeling.

In the clear light of day, I am still determined to do this, though I am open to giving myself some days off if it comes to that. This process has produced a lot of really nice images and it has awaken my creative instincts and my love of photography. That alone would make it worth it. But it does occur to me to ask why I disrupted my nice relaxing retirement of playing guitar and reading in order to do this thing.

I left the house this morning feeling emotionally and physically flat. The weather and dull light didn’t help but once I got off the trail among the pine trees down by the marshes I began seeing things I wanted to shoot. The sun was trying to burn through by then and it looked nice coming through the pines. There was still snow in the air and that helped separate the foreground from the background as well.

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I tried this shot from behind the pine branches. Better this time, but still not great.

I’ve been shooting in the little pine groves a lot lately. The deciduous forest is just a sea of black and white right now and the green of the pine branches, the shady-ness and the warm oranges of the trunks is really appealing. Today, I tried to take extra care in my compositions as I’ve noticed of late that a small shift in composition can make the difference between a good image and a great one. I don’t know that I was always successful.

Sometimes there just isn’t a great composition to be had. I may need to be moving around more to refine things, but with the cold and deep snow, it’s not easy to feel relaxed enough to spend a lot of time looking for the perfect composition. I’m conscious of Jamie standing waiting for me in the freezing cold as well. He seems to be doing just fine, but I feel a little bad for him as he stands up to his knees in snow, looking all hang-dog and everything.

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The sun burns through the snow and thin cloud cover.

The fatigue from the last couple of days seems to have abated. I don’t feel strong and energetic, but I managed the walk without exhausting myself. There are still 8 to 10” of snow back in the woods, so walking is strenuous. I just tried to take my time a little and that may have helped.

I’ll mention just one last thing. I know I’ve already written too much, but I’m thinking about printing in the next few days. My first prints just didn’t feel wonderful to me and last night (I think a lot in the middle of the night) it occurred to me that maybe my printer isn’t printing correctly. It’s been sitting a lot for years now.

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Maybe the pigment in the big ink cartridges has settled and it’s not putting out the color it should. I’m going to look into whether it’s necessary, or even possible, to manually agitate the cartridges and then I probably should re-calibrate both my monitor and the printer. Then I can be sure I’m getting from the printer what I see on screen.

Calibrating, especially the printer, is a bit of a hassle, but it’s the only way to be sure the printer is working correctly. I may describe the calibration process tomorrow if I have space. It’s actually pretty interesting. The printer, a Canon IPF 8300, has always performed well for me, but starting up photography after a period of inactivity is not without some effort and expense. I hope the printer is okay.

These two shots are just to get a feel for the day.

So another day’s walk is in the books. Now to see if I got any wonderful images. It’s interesting that there is usually one or maybe two truly wonderful images from each day’s walk. They stand out from all the “nice” ones. I remember them clearly. That spectacular snowy day last week yielded maybe three or four fairly spectacular images and a ton of really nice ones, but I still remember two of them the most.

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