Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Visions of Photographs (dancing in my head)

I wish I was a photographer. Seriously. Nearly every day, I am confronted by at least one sight that I wish to capture. Not to become famous or wealthy from publishing, mind you. But rather, so that I can retain that image in my mind's eye; free of fading from lack of frequent enough retrieval, or attenuation from the passing of time -- so I can share it with others who were not there with me to experience the real thing. Sometimes, the desired image is an awe-inspiring spectacle, a view of nature's gentle beauty or unbridled fury. Other times, the stark contrasts in lighting or incongruous content seem to shout out even to a non artist's soul such as mine, as if to say, “Over here! I am an image worth preserving!”

And then, I generally berate myself inside my own head for not having a way to take the picture as I don't generally pack a camera around with me. Or, on the rare occasions when I DO have a way to take a picture, the resultant pixels never even remotely match the allure or grandeur that I had hoped. Oh wow, another scenery picture not even good enough to be a postcard for my friend's great-aunt's next-door neighbor. (You see what I did there? Who would even send a postcard to one's friend's great-aunt's next-door neighbor? Ridiculous) In a word, “Lame picture.” (okay, two words)

When I do happen to get the composition of a picture to my liking, the image clarity, contrast, or colour saturation still tend to be a letdown. (I would have added 'depth of field', but I make it a point not to speak of things of which I know nothing) Even Picasa's “I'm Feeling Lucky” magic button can't save it, generally speaking. It makes me want to go out to purchase a REAL camera worthy of the content, though I realize that there is more to it than fancy gadgetry. And besides, I'm cheap.

The problem is, much of the time it is not the camera's fault. Several swirling factors play a role in the mad Sudoku that is successful photography: Technology, Training, Timing, and Talent. That I am generally captivated by still images means that I have Timing in my favour (minus the exposure time of course, but that's a tech and training issue). Training is clearly a deficit area as well to date, something I realize all too well when I acknowledge that I don't know my Aperture from my F-stop. But the kicker for me, sadly, is Talent. I lack it.

Have you ever heard of a disposable camera? They were out there as a low cost, better than nothing option for the occasional memory capture. The results almost always fit the bill, if only barely. Well, even with a real camera, I am capable of creating numerous disposable images. In an era when even a point-and-shoot camera is relatively robustly capable, the majority of images I take with them are 'flush-and-forget'. But enough of self-aggrandizement, I like to keep up a pretense of humility.

Hey, I do not have a gifted eye for how images will appear inside the bonds of the frame to which they will be limited. I look at a life-sized image or experience, and fool myself into believing I can re-produce it. Now, I have some friends who get much closer to accomplishing this. My daughter has an artistic eye for imaging things (which is why she is the one with a real camera). But alas, I do not have an accurate concept of what is possible. Or rather, not possible.


Some scenes of images that got away just today remain vivid in my mind:

- The way the quickly moving low clouds glowed red as I left the house, illuminated by the lights of the city while the cover higher up remained midnight black.

- A solid bank of sleight gray clouds in full retreat, like a reverse haboob, only with a thin sliver of sky visible underneath. Smaller clouds appeared much whiter above and below the storm mass and appeared to have been made by the coarse, swooshing strokes of a paintbrush on a dark canvas. In the foreground, the yellow of the rolling hills, now harvested, appeared to be intensified in the early light.

- The tops of a bank of wind turbines poking out the top of a deep fog bank as if to greet the rising sun.

- The small stand of poplars this morning shimmering bright yellow in the indirect sunlight, braced by by two unknown trees bedecked in deep red. The sky backdrop was such a deep and perfect blue that it appeared to be artificial. The colours were so sharp, though I admit that the sound of the rustling leaves were also a draw, one that would not have made it into the image even if I HAD gathered it. Then, the wind whipped up into a near gale all day and there was scarcely a leaf between all off the trees when I left for home. Perhaps next year...

So many scenes in the course of driving to work in a single day, and yet no one there to share them with. I supposed I SHOULD have taken a camera with me and given an attempt to take some pictures along the way. If nothing else... hey, postcards!!


Allan said...

Just shoot. Really.

SDG said...

Shoot first, ask questions later? -- Got it!

Allan said...

Exactly. You can learn some things while you are shooting, that's true, but you often miss opportunities that way. Shoot and save your editing for later. Actually, it's a lot like writing in that way. Hmmm ...