Monday, April 19, 2010

The View From The Ditch

I could take pictures for hours. Sometimes I do. It’s rare though that I have a large block of time to roam around taking photos, so I carry my camera with me 95% of the time. I squeeze in a few pictures between errands, and I’ve been known to pull over while driving across town for work stuff, hop out, snap off a couple of shots and head on my merry way. I see some marvelous sunrises on my way to work, and I’ve stopped a couple of times to photograph them. Last week I was beatin’ the band to get to work on time, and I kept eyeballing a gorgeous sunrise in my rearview mirror. I wanted so badly to stop but knew I’d be late. I can’t tell you how much self control I exhibited by not stopping. I just turned up the John Mayer and whispered to myself over and over again, “Keep drivin’, keep drivin.”

Sometimes on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons I do get a chance to wander around the countryside for a couple of hours, looking for things to photograph. It’s during these times I’ve discovered the intricacies of the woods behind my house, the wildlife in the nearby wildlife refuge and an occasional cemetery or two tucked away in the countryside. I’ve also burned a lot of gas, and here’s hoping Hubby won’t be too annoyed when he finds a gauge sitting nearly on empty when he gets in the van tomorrow. I should have filled up on the way home yesterday, but it was getting late, and I had old folks to feed. Sorry, baby.

It’s not unusual for me to take a few hundred photos on these outings, and I always learn a lot while I’m doing it. Mostly, that I still have a lot to learn. Some things I’ve discovered along the way:

-Always wear something with pockets, preferably something that will hold an extra lens, lens caps and car keys.
-Keep boots in the car. There’s a lot of mud out there. And snakes.
-Designate at least one old pair of jeans as “camera jeans”. These should be pants that you don’t mind staining with mud, covering in stickers or ripping on barbed wire. Please do not ask me about the barbed wire. Oh, and it’s not a good idea to pick a baggy pair of jeans for this purpose. Don’t ask about that either. Please.
-Carry your cell phone and be aware of your surroundings. There are some weird people roaming around on back roads. Seriously weird.
-Watch where you step. There are snakes out there. In fact, my days of wallowing on the ground with my head in the mud in the wildlife refuge are over for a few months. Too many slithery things are out of hibernation. Something flopped into the water about three feet from my right foot Sunday, and I jumped out of my skin.
-If you are going to spend a lot of time in ditches, and I do, bug spray is your friend in warm weather. I learned this lesson the hard way as I am sitting here now covered in some kind of tiny bites that itch like crazy.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is to revisit places. It’s interesting to see what time and a change of seasons does to your perspective. Remember this pond I shot last fall?

It sits just off the highway, and I see it all of the time. I often wonder why the property owner never moves that boat. Perhaps he does, and I just can’t tell, but I really don’t think it’s been moved in quite a while. I don’t really want to know the truth about it because my imagination is probably more fun than the real story. It’s my favorite little pond, and I have to wade through the weeds to get to the bank closest to the road. I try to get as close as possible while still staying on the public right of way, which is a little sketchy to be honest. (Another rule-don’t get shot by a gun toting property owner.) I didn’t think that pond could be any prettier than it was last October when the trees were ablaze in color. I decided to photograph it in all seasons, just to see what it’s like, so I went back in January when there was snow on the ground.

Still lovely, but the fall picture was still my favorite. I expected the spring picture to be nice but not as lush as the fall photo. I was wrong.

Spring may be my favorite now. It’s so ethereal and bright. I love it.

I can’t wait to see the summer shot, and I’m hoping that the owner doesn’t remove the boat now that fishin’ season is upon him. Even if he does, I’ve learned another lesson from that pond: Never assume and enjoy the surprises.


Louisiana Belle said...

I love your photos. Gorgeous shots of the pond. You're lucky to be surrounded by such beauty.

I have stopped and photographed something on the way to work knowing it might make me late. Not all the time, but if I see something I know I might not see again, I will stop and pay the consequences later. :)

Great tips also!

The Church Lady said...

You are so right! There are so many times I think...I should stop and take a photo of that, but it would mean getting dirty or not having the right shoes. Great idea to keep a change of "camera clothing" in your car!!!

Nice lake shots. Can't wait to see the summer image. Maybe you could do a collage of all four together??

oreneta said...

Hula, now you have to tell us about baggy jeans and barbed wire!

J.G. said...

Each photo is lovely alone (I prefer the winter one, go figure) but all together they are so much more.

Now, what about those baggy jeans and the barbed wire, huh???

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Wait. There was snow in KY?!? : )

I love the revisited shots. Very nice to see a change in seasons!

Jan n Jer said...

Your braver then I...wading around in swamp land and snake infested woods is way out of my relm. I stick to the well paved trails n roads. Having pockets when taking your camera is a big help. Love the photos,,,I think I like the spring one best also.

janjanmom said...

Looking forward to some snake and baggy jean/barb wire stories. 0:

I love those pics and it is so funny that I drive by it all the time, yet it looks so different through your lens.

If you ever see a for sale sign in that yard, let me know-it is on the short list of houses I would love to live in.

Debs said...

Wonderful Photos. :) Great tips!!