Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December Rain

It's been some time since I came to the realization that good photographs can be made in almost any lighting conditions. As long as you're not object oriented you will find it's always the right light to photograph something. Well, I have been somewhat object oriented lately but now that I'm through with the shooting end of my pond scum series I've been longing to just go wandering with the camera again, looking for something without knowing just what...

It's now early December in western Pennsylvania and if that means anything it means clouds and rain. The clouds didn't scare me off but the cold rain sure did. It did until I began to think about some of the incredible photographs that I've seen which were made in the rain. While my bellows don't like to get wet any more than I do there is no reason for them to get soaked. I decided to venture out before work and during lunch breaks (bean burritos travel well) to find some dry places to photograph from during the showers.

My first stop was at a local park and I hurried to the large covered decks of the Buhl Casino. It took me almost no time to find a photograph and just like that the showers were no longer a hindrance. In fact, they forced me into new places which allowed me to work in quietly beautiful conditions when I might otherwise have just stayed inside. No big surprise, a rainy day has a certain mood and charm all it's own. What did surprise me was the fact that I am not alone in my new found appreciation for precipitation. There were by no means many people at the park with me yesterday but it certainly wasn't deserted. People were walking with umbrellas, driving slowly in their cars and some were huddled on benches gazing out into the damp air and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Those brave, foolish or smart enough to be out in the weather tended not to regard me with the typical "what the hell are you doing with that strange camera" look that I usually encounter. Instead I got smiles, nods and passing hellos that seemed filled with understanding and a mutual admiration.

The same held true again this morning when I made my way out to the old Erie canal area of the Shenango River Lake. Not many people but all friendly and enjoying the moody environment which we shared. I had no doubt I would find something to photograph on such days but I never expected to discover a group of people, albeit small, with a similar sensibility. If it's taught me anything it's not only to keep an open mind about my photography but to simply keep an open mind.

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