I miss fall foliage pretty consistently. The season is usually pretty short, I’m often busy, and the colder temps and shorter days don’t motivate me to try to squeeze photography into my already packed schedule. Even though I live in one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country for fall color and landscapes are one of my main subjects, I’m good at making excuses why not to go shoot – the dog has been home alone all day and needs playtime, I’m carpooling, its too windy, too rainy, there isn’t a single cloud in the sky or the sky is completely overcast, the colors aren’t at peak, the colors are past peak, blah blah blah. I stare at the beautiful trees from my car and wish there were pull-offs near wetlands next to busy highways, but that’s often the extent of it.
Well tonight on my drive home from work I noticed some wispy clouds in the sky. It was a warm, perfectly still, perfectly blue day, and I almost went straight home, but I thought it was possible the clouds would do something so I drove to the only spot I could think of with a clear view of the sky, maple trees, and no hike. I got there minutes before sunset and… got skunked! The sun went down without much excitement, the clouds never lit up with color, and the light was cold and blue. I could have went home disappointed but I decided to shoot a little anyway and got some decent, different new shots. Not every photo needs to be dramatic or have killer light or perfect foliage to work. Sometimes just getting out there and making due with what you find is good enough.
I guess my motto for today is “It’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.” Sometimes, you make out okay.
The world is always changing. Our lives are always changing. Seasons, each year, bring a change to the landscape too.
Photographs are fun because they capture a brief visual moment in our ever changing world. Whether it be a landscape frozen in time, the look on the face of a new bride as she exchanges vows with her spouse, or the flopping ears and goofy grin of your favorite pet running to greet you, those moments are one of a kind. Each moment like this, each smile of a loved one, each second of shared laughter, is unique and beautiful. While a photograph doesn’t capture all of the beauty of those moments, sometimes they are nice to look at because they help us remember.
I really admire people who photograph subjects different from nature and wildlife. When I started getting serious about photography, I mostly shot sports because I had easy access to sporting events and they were a subject I liked. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed anything but nature and outdoor subjects, but sometimes I think I ought to try to expand my horizons again. There are so many wonderful things I have experienced that just don’t have photographs of because they don’t fit with the genre I’ve placed myself in, and that’s a shame.
I don’t think photographs are everything, not at all. A lot of the time, I prefer to leave my camera at home and experience the experience of something without trying to frame it. I think focusing too much on photography can make you miss things, and I’d nearly always rather be present in the moment than removed from it because I’m trying to create an image. Sometimes though, it’s nice to have photographs to help us recall silly things we have done, relive the amazing trips we have gone on, or just to be able to look at the faces of people we miss who are no longer in our everyday lives because of circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes the most imperfect photos are the most precious ones.
In a world that is always changing, the ability of a photograph to freeze time and transport us back to a moment in the past is pretty special.