Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finding Mysterious Places

I can't remember how many times, even with high gas prices, we've jumped in the car and driven hundreds of miles looking for a shot. It used to be just something to do. Today it takes a little more planning, what with the increasing price of almost everything. Flickr is a great resource for checking out images of places you might want to put on your itinerary. The state tourism sites can give you an idea what's going on in either your local area or wherever you're traveling. You can always drive around aimlessly thinking some spectacular vista will jump out in front of you (I wouldn't count on it). Or, you can get meticulous GPS coordinates to known locations of surefire shots. In order to find out what exotic location and fiendish technique was used to come up with today's image, hit the "read more" and I'll let you know.

Yesterday was the first day of school around here. Our beautiful granddaughter, who absolutely hates to have her picture taken, was starting the seventh grade, so we had to go over to see her off. Much to her chagrin, I had my camera with me. (Notice there's never been a shot of her on this blog???? I've been banned from that activity.) Once the pix were taken and everyone went their separate ways I started my walk home. It's not that great a trek (only 2 miles) but it does help with the "get back in some kind of shape" kick I'm on. About two thirds of the way home I passed an old quarry I've known about since my high school days. Guys I knew in school used to talk about swimming in the quarry and claimed it was a hundred feet deep and had a steam shovel at the bottom. Nice story, but no where near verified. It's not like the quarry was a big detour or required tromping through some vast forest. Truth is that today's image was taken about ten steps off the road. It's not a picture that's going to hang in MOMA anytime soon, but it does illustrate a point. If our son's house is about 2 miles away and I was 2/3s of the way to the gallery, that means the shot was taken about 3500 feet from the gallery.
Now, let's think about this for just a moment. We'll apply just a little bit of reasoning to this problem. We've driven hundreds of miles looking for "the shot" of the day and have been skunked more often than not. Today's quick "study" of a possible location looks to have possibilities and is "in the neighborhood". Therefore, the conclusion would be... leave the car in the garage and explore the area around where you live. Great shots aren't measured by distance travelled, they're valued by the impact they have on the viewer. A great image, shot in your backyard, will have far more personal value years from now than the drive you went on looking for an elusive vista. Think globally, act locally applies to photography and just happens to help the environment as well.
I've been thinking about doing some bird photography lately. I thought if I could only find a broken tree branch or trunk I could set something up off the deck at the house. I've been keeping an eye peeled for possibilities along side the road as I've walked and biked. The other day, while brushing my teeth, I glanced out the window toward the treeline behind the house. An old tree had recently fallen and looks like it was sent as a gift for the bird project. Today's mission is to pull the broken shard of the tree down and set it up as a perch for birds to land on before dropping down to a feeder. Hopefully I'll be able to share some bird shots by this time next week.