It was scorching hot sitting on the dry grass this afternoon. The lack of rain has made the grass around this old church brown and brittle. It crunched underfoot as I had earlier opened the chain link gate and made my way towards the solitary building.
I quickly framed the shot. Figured out the exposure. Screwed the 16 stop neutral density filter onto the lens and waited. In five minutes I would get to see what kind of motion the clouds behind the church would make. Clouds are everything in these kinds of photos and because the exposures are so long you can’t always or at least I can’t predict the outcome.
During the five minutes as the timer counted down I had the opportunity to get up and look for better, more interesting angles.
Photography like this is very contemplative. Alone on the open prairie the mind wanders from photography to other things. Family. Hockey, yes I am Canadian. Life and death. How long will remain on this earth? How will I pass? Will it be a quiet passing in my sleep? What will my wife and children do when I go?
From those thoughts to watching the clouds move overhead. How white are the clouds? What a dark blue the sky is. Butterflies flitting in pairs across the dry grass. Where are they going? How long do they have on this planet?
I see the cemetery behind me. It is old. What kinds of stories would be told by the people whose bodies rest there?
Did they attend this church? Were they christened here? Were they married here? Was their funeral service here?
The mind wanders and then the five minutes is up. Time to compose another shot.
I sit down on the dry grass. A bunch of wilted clover is next to me. It is so dry. We had lots of rain two days ago but June is normally torrential and it wasn’t this year. It’s the driest on the Alberta prairies in ten years I hear on the radio driving out here.
It sure is hot.
In all of my thoughts I think about this different direction in photography for me. It is strange and a little uncomfortable. It isn’t flashy and glitzy like color. It too is more contemplative than the color.
What happens if we are afraid to take chances? This is a happy road I am traveling down. It is new. Exciting. A little scary.
I don’t get anywhere near the views and comments that I normally do on photo sharing websites like I did with color. Is it not as good? Do people not like it? I know deep inside that it matters not what people say or think. Do from the heart. Never be afraid to be unpopular.
Never be afraid.