Well so far the first half of August has turned out to be hot and humid – not conditions that I really enjoy. I let the weather keep me inside more than I should have, but the few times I’ve been out this month have been really pretty. I know I need to suck it up and not complain so much about conditions and just take them as they come….my last trip to the River Ponds area at Tuttle Creek Lake was a good reminder of that.
The evening of my last trip to the River Ponds was partly cloudy and still. I knew this was probably going to make some good conditions for some great reflections at sunset on the water at the River Ponds. Being near water always relaxes me as well and that is always a good thing. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that as still as it was, the humidity was going to be uncomfortable (which is a good thing or I probably would have wimped out and not gone…and missed a great evening and a good lesson).
(click on any photo in this post to enlarge)
I had used the Photographer’s Ephemeris to see where the sunset would be over a location near the parking area for the Eagle Pass Trail. The last couple of years I’ve really enjoyed walking on this trail in the fall. The evening light was striking the trail near the parking area just perfect, so I stopped and got my camera gear out and made a few images of the trail. I’m really looking forward to getting back here this fall.
The sun was just starting to duck down below the horizon when I made my way to the shoreline. I had my camera around my neck, my backpack slung over one shoulder and was carrying my tripod under my left arm. The sun and reflections were perfect and just as I reached the shore a bird flew through the scene. I quickly raised my camera and made 3 exposures before the bird was gone. The photo above was my favorite of the three. This photo has some flaws in it, there was some severe lens glare in the shadows of the far shoreline and the bird is a bit blurred. But I still like it. In my photography classes I try to talk about the difference between taking and making a photo. Neither is wrong or right, but for me just different processes. I’m a strongly instinctual photographer which works ok for me, but I also tend to miss small details that can really impact my photos. So for me, a struggle is to find the balance between letting my instincts run but then stopping and “making” the final photo by paying attention to the details. However, sometimes you just have to click the shutter…and I believe the better I get at making a photo, the better I am at taking a photo.
After getting settled down and getting my camera on my tripod, I started working along the shoreline looking for things that grabbed my attention. A lot of the trees along the shore, had interesting tangles of roots visible, I’m guessing from the high water earlier this spring. These trees made a nice foreground and a bit of a frame for the setting sun and reflections on the water.
The colors in the sky intensified as the sun went below the horizon and I couldn’t resist making a few photos of the scene with some rocks just off the shore. I love this type of photo and this photo represents the sense of peace I was after when I headed out the door with my camera.
The clouds continued to change over the evening and eventually formed a nice line in the sky. With the reflection in the water, this line of clouds formed an interesting V shape. Lines and shapes are important in photography, so I made a few compositions working with the rocks in the foreground and the V shape of the clouds. I didn’t think many of these photos had a very good ‘feel’ to them and most were off balanced and just not relaxing. The photo above was the best of the bunch, but still not as peaceful to me as my earlier compositions.
By this time, the humidity had really taken its toll on me and I was covered in sweat (I know, too much information!) and as I was finishing up I was grumbling a bit about that. The evening had passed quickly though and I had really enjoyed myself. In fact, while I was caught up in photographing the sunset, I didn’t even really notice the humidity…it was only afterwards when I started thinking again that I noticed the humidity and the complaining started. Hmmm a good lesson here… a) it was a beautiful evening, b) I had really enjoyed being out there for it, c) I’m lucky to be in a position to go out and enjoy sunset whenever I want, so what is the problem? A bit of uncomfortable weather? I was on my way back to an air conditioned car and an air conditioned house. No reason to complain, in fact life is pretty good all things considered. After working through this in my head, I decided to write myself a reminder of that fact on the shoreline! Now the challenge of remembering that during the daily grind (because, really most of the time when I complain, on the grand scale of things, Life is pretty good!).
If you would like to see some more photos I have made in the quest to find a moment of peace and beauty along a shore line, please stop by my “Stillness of Water” gallery on my website.
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