Technical Details: Canon 5D MkII, Canon 16-35mm @ 35mm, f/16, ISO50, 1.3 Second shutter speed, Singh Ray Warming Polarizer
Welcome to today’s post, which is about keeping things simple. I’m not one to go for “photography as a metaphor for life,” but I’m afraid the post might read that way. I’m afraid because sometimes we artists tend to think that our work is as important as, say, curing cancer. Those of you who have hung around me while wearing my photography hat have heard me say, “We ain’t curing cancer here” as a way to talk myself back into a place where I’m just having fun, keeping things simple and enjoying the moment of creating images. Photography is not that serious, not that complicated.
I can get to where it is very serious and complicated because there is an investment in a photo shoot. For me, it is usually a lot of risky hours and miles behind the wheel to squeeze a Lake Superior outing in between my full time work as a professor, my commercial photography work, and the weather. Anxiety builds over the perceived need to get a good set of images to justify the investment of time and resources. To be totally honest, usually something external pulls me back to a more sane place. This weekend it was the weather.
My readership in the upper Midwest United States can attest to everyone else on this mailing list one simple fact – we are experiencing the most glorious and never before experienced warmest, earliest spring in our lifetime. That is a statistical fact, I think. If I’m wrong, who cares. The rivers on Lake Superior are open and full of water. The North Shore has experienced a lot of much needed rain in March. Lake Superior is 12 inches below average right now…that is a lot of water gone missing. My 18 hour trip to the North Shore this past weekend was no different. Rain and fog. And open raging rivers. And Rain and Fog.
The run up to the Cascade River from Saint Paul was rain all the way. As I passed Silver Bay, MN I started calling in to my weather radar guy, Travis in Kansas City, to give me updates on the movement of rain. The forecast was for an easing of the rain in a hour or two. Hard to say. Nothing like a tough forecast to take the pressure off a shoot. I just have to sit and take it, waiting out the rain in the car. Happy to be there, reading a book and waiting. The upside was that the quality of light was not changing rapidly. It was mid day, cloudy and foggy. Beautiful soft light for hours on end. No rush, no worries. Just be patient. “We ain’t curing cancer here,” I told myself. I even took a little nap in the car. It was the absence of rain drops hitting my car that woke me up. Time to go shoot.
I decided to keep things simple. A tripod, one camera, one lens, one polarizing filter. Go. Play. No rush. Stop along the trail and talk to folks. Family needs family portrait. Done. Another couple wants to talk about the funny shaped tree. Done. “Peace out” the husband said as we parted ways. Simple.
After an hour and a half of shooting it started to rain. And rain hard. I had some lovely images and gave the Cascade River a sign off. “Peace Out.” Simple.
Color is it’s own subject. So often I choose Black and White Photography for post production, because it simplifies the number of subjects in the image.