Spring is moving toward summer and the outside world is playing to stereotypes.
Just some scenes from the millpond down the road.
A few more waterfalls from the southern Appalachians, all somewhat off the beaten path unless your travels frequent winding, remote US highways.
Vacation or photo safari? Always a question when traveling and not for an assignment. Like many outdoor photographers I like to “document” places I visit. Sometimes it’s just to remember what I saw, sometimes to get some perspectives on a place I plan to come back to for more images.
This image was one of those occasions. Visited here because it showed up on a tourist guide of the area then found some interesting compositions. Fortunately I had my tripod and assortment of lenses to use. One great thing about places you can drive right up to is having all your gear in the car!
What attracted me to this composition was the abrupt change in the water’s flow and the way the wet rocks were reflecting the light in the sky. I knew this was going to be a B&W image and that I wanted the water to have a nice flow rather than be stopped in time. The tripod enabled a long exposure and the shorter lens let me put more of the falls in the composition.
So what if I hadn’t carried along all that gear? Would there be a way to get a similar image? What about other tourists who have point-and-shoot cameras or their cellphones? What would they make? At the time, probably nothing like this.
Friend of mine asked recently about available compact cameras that would give the versatility of a DSLR for dynamic range, depth of field, and varying focal length. He likes putting something in his travel bag or pocket that will deliver very nice results but not require hauling around lots of gear. At the time I didn’t have a good recommendation but soon after that I ran across a different type of compact camera. This one uses multiple lenses and processing software to enable the photographer to capture several versions of a composition and then create the final image with the characteristics desired. There have been variations on this idea in the past years but it seems the company behind this idea, Light.co, has found the right combination of technologies and design features to meet my friend’s needs.
Photography used to be about skills and technical knowledge, mainly because the tools and processes required those in order to get the final result. Now the result can be shared in the blink of an eye (no more chemicals and special materials to create a print) and the capture almost with a glance. Kodak’s original statement was along the lines of, “you push the button, we do the rest” which if you think about it, is how photography is these days. There’s seemingly no effort required.
Is this a terrible change to a 100+ year human endeavor? I don’t believe it is. Now the “technology” of photography can stop being in the way of the creation of photographs. Today if you don’t like your images you pretty much can’t blame the equipment! Even the most casual tourist has the chance to create a wonderful experience to share with others – all they have to do is pay attention to what they are seeing.
Much of this part of Wisconsin has been farmed in one way or another. Only the wetlands have generally escaped being plowed and cultivated. Doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of trees and parkland around. As farming became more concentrated the small plots were left alone or acquired by towns. Over time these have become places where the landscape of the Upper Midwest starts re-emerging.
As such, wander around the woods enough and you’ll spot signs the woods are a recent return to nature. Old foundations, lingering roads, straight lines of trees or shrubbery all indicate people had a hand transforming the area in some way. Sometimes you don’t even need an imagination – the signs are obvious.
Farm implements left in the woods – out of place and yet the right place to put equipment that once had its day on this ground but is now surrounded by returning natives.