“When photographers get beyond copying the achievements of others, or just repeating their own accidental first successes, they learn that they do not know where in the world they will find pictures. Nobody does. Each photograph that works is a revelation to its supposed creator.” – Robert Adams
As the above quote articulates so nicely, I never know where a photograph may be waiting. All too often an image reveals itself and I don’t have my camera with me. Then there are the simple moments where some slight movement catches my eye and what has become instinct takes over. I’ve made a practice over the past few years to photograph in as many conditions as possible, to take what was at first, technical learning of what my equipment was capable of, and making it an automatic extension of me. This has enabled me to capture those things in my world that provoke thought and emotion and ponder on them further. Every one of these moments being an opportunity to expand my understanding of the world I live in.
I spent quite some time watching this little fellow flitting to and fro, in an Ojai California meadow, protecting his little patch of the world from intruders. He had an assortment of perches to choose from but always returned back to this one. Then he’d sit, for long periods, surveying his realm. There was not much happening during these quiet times and it made me wonder what thoughts must be going through his head.
Nikon D300 Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO100
There was something about this stand of poplars that made me pull over on a drive back from Ottawa last week and make this image. At the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what, exactly, it was that made this scene so interesting. As I worked with the image I looked at several aspects and edited it various ways, looking for what it was that first drew my eye to the composition. It was not till I looked at it in black and white that all the fine detail emerged.
That was it, the contrasts between the bright bark of the poplar trunks offset by the dark background and the texture and glow of the grasses in the foreground. You see, this day was pretty much overcast with a few bursts of sunlight from the south. It was one of these moments of direct sunlight which lit up the poplars as I approached them, yet the background remained in shade, producing this image with three different bands of light: Bright in the foreground, from the grass in sun, the dark background, with the poplar trunks in the middle, and the grayish clouds above. And, as I look the the photo again, there is this wonderful arching of a few branches near the centre of the image, like a gate to somewhere within the stand.
To me, it make the whole image looks like a very complex sketch. I may have to pull the markers and paper out and see if I’m up to the challenge some day soon. That would be an interesting exercise.