Tuesday, February 16, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 47

Taken: February 16, 2010,  6 p.m.
Location: Westside Road, Healdsburg, Ca

Since I was a kid and spent hours in my Dad's cramped darkroom developing and manipulating black and white photographs, I've been trying to figure out the magic of taking pictures. I'm attracted to landscapes and architectural shapes (and in recent years pugs, I say with a smile), but I'm mostly fascinated by light, particularly fading light. Mostly, it's a struggle for me to figure out how to take a good photo in the absence of said light. I could study on it I suppose but I try not to forget that my job by day is to write and taking a class is a luxury I don't have right now.

I find lots of help online and in books, but the ins and outs of aperture and exposure, of lenses and focal points, well most of that is pretty much lost on me. I know the bigger the lens opening, the more light goes in and longer shutter times are better at night. But like I said, I'm still figuring it all out.

Had to do a bit of running around today and on the way back from having my beloved ride repaired (oh no, I'm gonna need an $800 radiator repair soon!) I drove some backroads, looking for a new vantage point for this project.

I stopped along Westside Road near a long, wide open stretch of vineyard, next to a barn I've always admired. It's rusty red roof and white clapboard siding speaks of days past to me. It's part of the appeal of wine country -- the old stuff isn't built to be old, it actually is old. Not that I have any idea when this barn was built. Still, it's faded side paint and lovely winding driveway are picturesque, especially when you consider where it's sitting - right at the tip of a wide expansive of vineyard, framed by mountains way in the distance. My shot is grainy and out of focus and underexposed and no amount of work in Photoshop gave me exactly the affect I wanted. But I'll have to live with the result.

You might ask then: if I don't have time for this photography thing, why do it at all? It's a question I get asked all the time these days. It's a lot of work making sure I get one good photo a day. But it's the journey that's fueling this project.

My love of photography aside, I'm doing this for another reason. I want to look up, to pay attention to the world around me. That's why I didn't want to get caught up searching for shots -- if I concentrate on just getting what's near me, then most of the time I'm going to have to try to see the same things in a different way each day. I was hoping it would translate into my writing but I had no idea that it would be so pervasive.  The observations I'm making in my physical world is seeping into my fictional one. I'm looking around the edges more, going deeper, investigating avenues I didn't know (or remember) were even there. Scary and fun all at the same time.

Like I said yesterday, you can be writing when you're not actually putting words on paper. I don't see how you can separate the creative process from the creator -- for your work to be authentic, it has to come from the whole you, even the places you don't necessarily want to go.  Often, those are those are exactly where you mine the most interesting things. So my project, my attempt to see more of my world is helping me find more of myself as a writer. Whether it's making me better at my craft, well only the results will tell. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't kinda fun figuring it all out.

Taken with my K100D, using a tripod and manual setting. Edited with Photoshop.

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