Friday, July 31, 2009

Blog Scenes - Susan Sexton

A recent trip to Cave Creek, AZ, from Ignacio, CO, provided endless
possibilities for unique images.

I'm never sure which phrase I prefer. I'm very accustomed to "taking"
pictures, but what we're actually doing when "taking" a picture is "making" a picture. Where did the word "take" originate in this concept? The word "making" has always felt a bit contrived. "Capturing" sounds like it's against the will, although I'm not quite sure whose will that would be. So, I'm still fumbling for a word I like. Maybe "getting" a picture is the best way to go.

I love shooting from the car, and the way the day worked out, opportunities presented themselves all the way home. Shooting from the car also offers that one-of-a-kind filter, the windshield. Not only is there smeary crap all over it, raindrops make interesting effects.

The clouds shaped themselves into ever-morphing creatures born of cloud imagination.

The camera is sitting on the seat beside me while I drive. It's wearing the short lens, 16-whatever zoom. I don't remember, but it's nice and short, and is easy to use. At 75 mph, I can pick it up and shoot at random out the window (or through the windshield). This is bizarre, taking pictures without looking thfough the camera; just pointing it and firing. I have had enough experience so that I can make good educated guesses, but even then, getting a good picture is a miracle.

When I hold the camera up to look through the viewfinder, the tiny view of the road is distressing, and I suddenly can't drive. If I simply brace the camera on the steering wheel with the lens hood pressed against the windshield, I might or might not get something useful. Which is always the case in photography, anyway.

Rte 160 runs almost straight east/west for several hundred miles across AZ and NM. It is only two lanes wide, one running each direction, but it gets you to your destination. There is reconstruction on the road all summer long, stalling the traffic, as only one lane is open at a time. This time, a dust storm has been gusting about in tornadic circles on the flat desert floor, or blowing huge amounts of sand straight across it. It makes for interesting viewing and pictures as we sit in traffic, waiting our turn to proceed.

Rain was threatening off to the south, soaking in dark bruised clouds, while behind me, the sky was blue with light, white puffy clouds. A big yellow truck was back there, too.

At one point, I was racing along at my favorite speed (75mph), and I saw the utility towers up ahead. I grabbed the camera and fired off one shot as I sped under them. It was one of those where I can't look in the viewfinder. I just have to hope that something will come of the exposure. I had to pan, too. If I were looking at these pictures and reading someone's blog about getting a picture that way, I'd never believe the speed or that the panning was doable. Impossible, I'd say, so if you don't believe that it really did happen this way, I understand.

After the excitement of high winds, blowing sand and heavy rains, the sunset was sublime. Reflecting in the raindrops on the windshield was pretty, and a very long shutter speed left the trails of colored lights, but no trucks. I was parked alongside the road, and my headlights on the grasses worked for the picture, too.

Gotta try everything; you just never know what'll work and what won't. I always have to prove it to myself. ;o)

Carefree, Arizona

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