On Wednesday of this week I awoke to a lovely coating of white. About 4-5 inches of light fluffy snow had fallen overnight and the temperature was cold enough to keep most of it clinging to the trees. There was still a light flurry and I was anxious to get out to explore while everything was fresh, but I had to take care of my usual routine duties. I filled the bird feeders, prepared a quick breakfast and of course managed a cup of my favorite Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee. I have been hooked on Peaberry since our trip to the coffee plantations of Costa Rica. Finally, I had to clear the snow from the driveway.
My priority goals for the day were to go to the bank and hit the gym. I also needed to help Michael take down the chairs and tables from my Lightroom Class at Monadnock Imaging in Keene, New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the travel over Chesterfield Hill was paralyzed by the snow and I couldn’t get in until after noon.
Of course, when I finally headed out, I was hobbled by the “Winter Wonderland” beauty along the road. I worked my way into town first along back roads, around Stonewall Farm in Keene, NH.
|Grimes Brook Snap|
As I drifted along, I was reminded about one of my favorite phenomena of road-side photography, the “Snap” Moments. The views along wooded back roads are often clogged with dense road-side trees, making any sense of depth impossible, but occasionally, as I float along, scanning right and left, an opening will flash by revealing an interesting perspective. For just a second, the scene can snap to a view of interesting foreground and a complimentary background. I swear, when these magic scenes pop into view I hear a soft “Snap”, and then the magic is gone. The snap moments are not just openings in the forests. It also occurs when the foreground and background elements suddenly come into alignment with a flash of recognition. These magical moments can occur without warning, but they can also be anticipated from special situations. As I approach fields I always watch carefully for even the smallest openings that might reveal a lonely tree, rocks or perhaps animals grazing in the pasture. I look for roadside railings that could mark an interesting raven or perhaps a brook flowing under the road.
Farm buildings can also provide a nice colorful break from the monotony of the passing trees. I find it relaxing to scan the forest for the "snaps", but I must occasionally remind myself to check to see if I am going off the road. Lonely back roads are the best for this kind of scanning, since, on busier lanes, it is all too common to suddenly find yourself with a line of impatient drivers following close behind.
|Left, Right and Snap|
On my exploration of the roads around Stonewall Farm, I did my share of scanning for snaps. The snow was falling and there was a soft overcast light, I had to stop (safely) off the road and take time to slowly explore the lovely forest “dark and deep”. But I had “promises to keep” and had to move on.
I enjoyed shooting around Stonewall Farm’s back buildings, especially where the red structures contrasted with the trees and the glistening white, and the detail of farm equipment carried a creamy frosting of white. Buildings and streams offered their own snap opportunities. The red barn, with the flanking Apple trees in foreground, snapped momentarily into alignment.
It was beginning to get dark, but before I ran off to the bank and the gym, I had to cruise by the Monadnock Market Place area to look once more for Hillary the Snowy Owl. She was on one of her favorite poles next to the Days Inn. I had to grab a few more shots including a cute glance over the top of the beam. I have been hoping to get a few sharp shots of Hillary in flight, but the light was nearly gone, and my images were sadly blurred.
I finally made it to the bank and my desperately needed work-out. I got home very late for supper, but it is days like this that are too perfect to be ignored. If we did, what would this photography stuff be about?
Jeff Newcomer, NEPG