|Contoocook River Below Noone Falls|
Here is a quick cautionary tale. It seems that at least half of my blog articles follow a cautionary theme. I am perpetually telling you what not to do by recounting the disasters that have befallen
|Noone Falls with Better Flow, Peterborough, NH|
Last week I was in Peterborough delivering a picture to a client.
|Contoocook River Reservoir|
|Contoocook River Through the Shoot|
As I got out of the car at the Y, I grabbed for my gym bag and suddenly realized that I would not be punishing myself on the weights that day. The "cagy, experienced photographer" had left his photo bag in its very secure location on the side of the Contoocook River 25 miles away. I took such great precautions to protect my bag that I had completely forgotten it. Horrified, I did a quick mental inventory; Macro Lens, Filters, extra battery ,memory cards, graduated and variable ND filters, somewhat ratty cable release, and of course one partially incinerated, but much beloved camera bag. There was no choice. I leaped back into the car and hurtled back to Peterborough, reassuring myself all the way that the chance of someone finding and absconding with my bag of random stuff was very low. But that thought didn't reduce my anxiety. and it didn't help to realize that, if I lost everything, I would have the makings of yet another sadly cautionary blog article.
As I pulled into the parking lot and rushed toward the river I knew I had no right to expect a joyous reunion. Against all justice the bag was still there, looking a bit hurt, but none the worst for this trial separation. I could almost hear it complaining, "First you light me on fire and now you desert me by a raging river? Is there a message here?"
As I sheepishly returned to the car, fate struck one more surprising blow. Along the informal path I came across a beautiful collection of Lady Slippers. These were some of the most perfect examples I had ever seen and at the peak of their unsullied pink perfection. Surprisingly I didn't notice them earlier in the day when my attention was drawn to the cascades, but on the way back to the car after retrieving my bag, my head was bowed in shame, and there they were! I placed my bag safely on the ground (really!) and was lying on the grass in an instant. I grabbed multiple, progressively focused images to allow focus stacking when I got home. The wind was light, so I was able to align the images and get good sharpness front to back. I also found an interesting new angle on the river from downstream. The water was churning around a projection of the bank which split the flow. Later, in post, I gave the water a bit more bite by blending in a tone-mapped layer. I found that an opacity of only 18% was enough to add the sense of the energy that I saw in the cascade. Nice shots, but my self-loathing was only partially assuaged by the photographs.
So what is the lesson from my latest screw-up? It may be that I should keep better track of the equipment and not get distracted by the beauty of the location, but I prefer to think that it is the reminder of the value of returning to a spot for a fresh look. Even when the visits are just a couple of hours apart, a fresh eye,(or head orientation) can reveal surprising new opportunities. Perhaps my bag knew all along that there was more to see along the Contoocook. Oh, and I did remember to bring that bag home this time, but the poor thing was watching my every move with practiced skepticism.