Sue and I are in Washington, DC for a few days visiting our daughter and planning on catching the Red Sox at Camden Yards. I am happy to report that spring is well on its way in DC. On the drive down, it was fascinating to see the process of spring exploding in just a few hours and I can attest that it is coming our way up north. We have a busy schedule for the next few days, so I thought that this would be a good week to do a quick blog about one of my favorite, and cheapest, photo accessory.
A key part of composing a compelling landscape photograph is to avoid distracting elements that might draw attention away from the central theme of the image. As part of this, I always try to remember to scan the edges of my compositions to look for intruders including extraneous bushes or branches. Often the picture can be recomposed to avoid these problems, but sometimes the best angle can only be achieved by pulling the offending foliage out of the way. In this image of the Old Stone Arch Bridge in Keene, New Hampshire, I found an excessive amount of early spring foliage obstructing an interesting angle on the arches. There was too much to pull aside while still working the camera, but, with my beloved mini-bungee cords, I was able to tame the jungle leaving just the amount of green that I wanted to offset the cold austerity of the stone construction. I can’t count how many times I have pulled out these little guys to manage an unruly scene. They are remarkably strong and, although only about 10 inches long, stretch to a surprising length. The bungees can also be daisy-chained when a longer cord is needed. When removed the branches invariably pop back to their former overgrown glory without significant injury. The best part is that, in this world of obscenely expensive cameras, lens’ and filters, a package of four chords costs less than $3 dollars at your local hardware store.
What more can I say. Stuff a few of these mini-bungees into your camera bag and you will be amazed at how often they will come in handy. Just a couple of points may be helpful. First, be careful how, and to what, you attach the cords. When they Break free, the elastic bungees become dangerous, whip-like projectiles. Second, remember to remove the cords when you are finished shooting. My region of the New England forest is decoratively laced with brightly colored cords that I have forgotten to remove. Thank goodness they are so cheap. If you find any of these, please keep them as my gift to you, but I would appreciate hearing that they have found a good and useful home. Now, off to photograph actual flowers!