Some of the snow that kept us from driving very far on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday. Not that the accumulation was significant at all; they apparently close it at the drop of a hat (or at least the drop of a few flakes). I didn’t come here for warmer weather, although I expected it would be an added benefit. But the high yesterday in Asheville was 48 degrees compared to 70 back in Bozeman. Not complaining really, just commenting.
It may not seem fair to post a photo of North Carolina’s leaves in color and one of Wisconsin’s in black and white (see yesterday’s post), but it’s not really that far from a true comparison of the amount of color difference between the two locations right now.
Thanks in part to some gale force winds a few days earlier, all the leaves were off the trees in Wisconsin when we got there, and the colors of those on the ground where pretty drab. But the sun was out, making for some nicely lit piles of leaves. We’re in Asheville, NC now where there are still leaves on the trees but also possible snow in the forecast for tonight; we could have stayed in Montana if we wanted that kind of meteorological abuse.
We’re in Wisconsin visiting my wife’s family for a few days before flying on to a meeting in Ashville, NC, so I get to photograph some new locations and post from the road (or air) for a while. We came across this boathouse on a drive up to Door County today. The tradition is for travelers to record their passing on the sides of the building. It probably used to be a lot more informal, but now they post rules for acceptable posts (size, content, even recommended paintbrush size). If it’s that regulated, I wonder if it really qualifies as graffiti at all.
Crows and ravens seem to have as much affinity for power poles as eagles and hawks do, but while I’ve read about there being problems with eagles and hawks getting electrocuted on power lines, I don’t recall hearing about a similar problem with corvids. Maybe corvids know more about electricity than raptors do, or it could just be media bias.
What’s the exercise value of photography? Not much if my experience this summer is any indication. I had no idea I was so out of shape. I’ve been doing quite a bit of hiking this summer, which is more exercise in itself than I usually get in the winter, but I am also residing and painting our two and a half story house by myself. And I’ve been sore all summer. I thought I’d get in good enough shape by August to at least not be beat at the end of the day working on the house, and while there’s been some improvement, I’m still dog-tired at times. Sore muscles? Don’t even ask. I hope to finish up with the siding project sometime this fall and I should be in pretty good shape by then (I hope). Which will leave me all winter to regain my photographer’s physique. Or maybe I’ll embark on a serious exercise program this winter. Yeah, right.
I cut my photographic teeth in a lot of respects by looking at Depression era black and white photographs by the Farm Security Administration. To me, black and white images define both photography and the world at that time. Perhaps that is why I found this collection of color images covering the same subjects from the same period incredibly compelling:
It’s a common myth that photographers might as well put their cameras away mid-day as the lighting is too flat to take interesting photographs. The so-called “magic hour” just after sunrise and just before sunset is thought to be by far the best time of day to photograph, while straight-up noon is the absolute worst. I’ve (almost) always been able to find something interesting to photograph any time of day though. But then I don’t do that much landscape photography and figured for those who do, the advice might make sense. That is I thought so until I saw Claude Monet’s painting Vernon in the Sun at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha today.
Monet’s Vernon in the Sun that looks like it was done smack in the middle of the day, under a withering sun, with no obvious shadows. But yet his rendering of the washed out mid-day lighting imparts tremendous atmosphere and feeling. Now Claude Monet was the master student of light, often studying and producing multiple paintings of the same scene in various lights. So, maybe he was better at seeing and recreating the beauty in mid-day scenes than us mere mortals, especially those of us using photography as our medium of choice. But it does suggest that a truly creative photographer should be able to find landscapes with expressive lighting even under the harsh noon sun.