Friday, October 16, 2009

Hindsight Is f/22

They say hindsight is 20/20. In this case it's f/22 at about two minutes.

I spent the day wandering around with a good friend of mine from West Virginia. We hit a few photo hot spots and spent most of the afternoon walking along one of my favorite places, Roaring Run Creek. It's rare that I'm making landscape images with someone, but he's a fellow photographer and can appreciate the time and effort it takes to make a quality image along a creek like this.

Roaring Run Creek presents a particular challenge to me in that every time that I visit I have to look for something I haven't seen before to shoot. Well, the second photo was taken just below the main falls. O.C. had the prime spot at that moment for shooting the major falls, which have never been my favorite subject on the creek. So naturally, I started looking for something I haven't done before.

The first photo is of the first really big cascade on the creek and I've only shot it once, years ago when I first got my camera and didn't know what I was doing. This time around I was more prepared and snagged this photo with my ND400 happily attached. The second photo, however, has a much more interesting story behind it.

I found that little gem doing something I rarely ever do...looking downstream. Typically with motion blurs along a creek I'm shooting upstream and my favorite angle is one that makes it look as if the water is flowing directly toward and under the camera. Sometimes I even set my tripod up in the creek itself. So as I walk along, I'm always looking upstream at for my next shot.

So I'm standing there, thinking, and I said to myself, I said "Self, why don't you see what's behind you?" Carefully turning around, I discover that some large boulders have cause the stream to fork and then slam back into one stream at pretty odd angles at a respectable rate of speed. The collision resulted in a rolling, bubbling mass of water that asked me to take its picture. Naturally, I obliged, perching my camera on some slick stones and set to work.

And it makes me think...if history is destined to repeat itself, then how often does it repeat itself simply because we don't take the time to look downstream at what's passed before? Every day is a blessing and a lesson wrapped into one. I do my best to learn something new every single day. It doesn't always happen because, like everyone else, there are days when I'm just trying to keep my head above the water. Generally, however, I can look back at those days and find some lesson in them when I'm farther removed from the stress of the situation.

Having a camera in my hand frees up my mind to think. I never quite know where those thoughts will take me, but it's generally a fun ride. I've learned that Pocahontas had it right in the Disney movie when she said that "You can't step in the same river twice..." Not only can you not step in the same river twice, you can't photograph the same one either. Chances are, the lessons you learn from it won't be the same either.

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