Bright and shiny.

I smiled to myself when I consulted this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge. The theme is “Ooh, Shiny!“. As in: post a photo of something that demands your attention, something that’s “guaranteed to distract you.”

Well, in my case that could be any number of things: chocolate, fuzzy blankets, hummingbirds, funny cat videos, Viggo Mortensen… the list goes on. I seem to frighten the hummingbirds before I can photograph them, and I ate all the chocolate, so I settled on sharing a photo of something else that’s been occupying my thoughts lately: light.

Since I’ve taken an interest in photography, I’ve spent more time observing and deciphering light, trying to figure out how to tell the camera to catch it the way I see it.

While out the other morning, in search of an arresting view of the sunrise, my travels took me down a country road which was encased overhead in the neighbouring trees’ summer foliage.

And there, at the end of the tunnel, was the light. It filtered down through the morning mist in golden beams. For me, it was an “Ooh, shiny!” moment, indeed.

It’s not an extraordinary shot, and it’s not Viggo Mortensen, but it’ll do.

August 20 (1 of 1)

 

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Unexpected destination.

Sometimes you end up where you weren’t expecting to go.

Yesterday evening, I was driving alone along a familiar, busy two-lane route that winds through farmland. The sun hung low in the sky, hovering behind a cluster of clouds and radiating strokes of light.

This was a picture just waiting to be snapped. I knew those sunrays wouldn’t wait for long. Thinking I could use a farm field for leading lines in a photo of the sinking sun, I pulled over to the shoulder. Since I’m nervous about being rear-ended, stopping on the side of the road is something I generally don’t do unless a) the car is making weird noises or b) there’s imminent danger of the sudden appearance of an occupant’s barf, pee, etc.

I chose my camera settings carefully, poked the lens out the window, and waited until there was a shot clear of passing cars. Then I fired away.

I’m sure I must’ve been scowling as I reviewed the shots on my camera’s screen. No beautiful rays of light – a blown-out sky instead. Flat, dark fields in front of flat, dark trees. They looked stark and dead.

The photos were boring.

I fiddled with the exposure controls and tried again. And again.

Nope, still boring.

At that point I wondered why I’m bothering to learn photography anyway. Why couldn’t I make one half-decent picture of a graceful farmer’s field in beautiful light?

Arrrrgh. I’d risked stopping here, so I didn’t want to leave without a reasonable photo. But I was so impatient with my attempts at proper camera skills that I got fed up about being overly intentional with exposure and composition.

So. I moved the angle of the camera. I didn’t bother waiting for a gap in traffic. With a slower shutter speed, I clicked like mad at cars as they passed. I was so involved in this process that the fear of getting crushed in a rear-end collision was hardly bothering me. Well, maybe a little. Especially while the car quivered in the wake of roaring transport trucks.

Luckily, I had no incidents involving automobile collisions, weird car noises, barf, or pee. At home later, I pulled up the photos on my laptop. All duds… except (I thought) for this one.

march-3-1-of-1

With some help from Lightroom, I made it pop. I love the pattern of the moving wheel rims.

So I admit that this picture was kind of created by accident. And that the subject (or mood) isn’t one I’d first intended. And that it was the only one of a million shots that I liked. And also that Lightroom is my friend and hero. But if I’d given up when I’d gotten discouraged about my first failed photo attempts, I wouldn’t have ended up with it at all.

A happy accident, indeed. One I can learn from.

 

 

(Inspired by the WordPress weekly photo challenge: The Road Taken).