This mornings dawn brought with it a lingering fog and the fresh air that only comes from an overnight rain. It has been some time since I have ventured out to perceive the world through the lenses of my camera. Too long really, and while work and other commitments are the culprit, I can confess that the imposed break has been good.
I might well have referred to this image as the “Return of the Muse”. I have been quite busy with the office part of photography setting up the logistics for two workshops and have just neglected the joyful, and simple, pursuit of making images. You cannot predict when the muse will appear and in many instances it is when you least expect it.
Let me state the obvious, from a photographers perspective, that it is important to always carry a camera. I do whether I shoot or not as being prepared is a 100 percent proposition in my way of thinking. When light happens and you are without the tools, well you get the idea.
Iceland is a country of immense beauty. In my mind it is one of the most diverse landscapes in the world despite being and island country. It is volcanic and glaciated and it is these singular natural forces that have largely shaped the landscape. From windswept volcanic planes, to the mountainous highlands, fjords, coastlines, glaciers, and myriad rivers and waterfalls, it is a place that presents one with so many photographic opportunities. The islands location in the Northern hemisphere also brings almost continuous light, with an extended twilight in the summer, and much shorter days in the winter, which affords one the opportunity to see the dancing Northern Lights. It is also a place of extremes, especially regarding the weather, which can change hour by hour. And in fact that is the old adage in Iceland that if you don’t like the weather, just give it an hour. The countries population of around 360,000 is out numbered by the sheep, and the number of visitors and tourists who flock there. The sheep of course are permanent residents. It is one of my favorite places on this planet.
Let me start by saying that I do not intend for this post to be a giant primer on long exposure image making. Nor is it a justification for the techniques over a more traditional approach to capturing a scene. A great deal of my current landscape or architectural work is not specifically long exposure. But in the right conditions - environmental and type of light - I appreciate how it can bring a kind of hyper clarity to the subject that is uniquely contrasted against the soft rendering of sky and water.
Well, it is New Year’s Eve, 2018. This has been a fairly busy year with some personal growth and certainly a few “firsts” for me relative to photography. I co-led my two annual photography workshops this year with my two pals, Martin Radigan and Vern Pattterson. This was the third year for our Spring, and Fall, West Virginia landscape workshops and we had some great clients and photographers join us as we traipsed around the West Virginia Highlands.
I am off today. A blessed reprieve from the office and the learning curve that has come with a new position. Sometimes the brain just goes on overload and requires a day of nothing. The weather seems to support my mood as well. It has been a tough several weeks that saw the failure of all of my back-up drives and the loss of thousands of RAW files dating back over 15 years. I did not lose them all which is fortunate, and I did not lose my Photoshop master files which is another blessing. I do not have a diagnostic answer for the failures but I was running an older laptop-based system, not enough RAM, too much reading and writing to drives, and not running Disk Warrior repair as often as I should have. Well, it is what it is. A wake up call to retool a bit and perhaps I needed to let some things go and open up more space in my life.