I usually don’t like to photograph landscapes on days with flat light.
Flat light is fine for portraits and especially weddings. Heavy overcast days when the light is flat can be flattering on some person’s aging face. When photographing a wedding flat light means less squinting and more keepers photographing that couple wearing black black and white white.
For landscapes I want interesting light and on Wednesday when I left home just before 8 a.m. the light looked good on my drive to Salmon Arm. I almost stopped more than once. There was one great scene when the light touched the burned remains of a truck from last summer’s fires. I thought about pulling over, but I felt it would be a bit crass to stand in someone’s yard photographing their misery.
My plan, after our quick appointment, was to photograph the Salmon Arm wharf. I had seen recent photos with dry land going almost to it’s end. However, when I got there all I could see was mud with dried ugly plants sticking out on a gloomy day.
I wasn’t interested in sloshing through the mud to waste pictures. I don’t like waste pictures. That’s probably because I am from the time of 36 exposure rolls of film when every push of the shutter cost money. Gosh, I do like digital, but I can’t get over my long time habit of “saving film.”
I walked back down past the hotel and the pond with it’s fountain turned off for the winter. I thought that the leafless bushes and trees of a covered path along the lake might be interesting. Sadly the colourless bushes and trees did not look good under the flat lifeless grey overcast light. Nevertheless I decided to walk to the trails end anyway.
The wharf was just across a small inlet and I eventually reached an open view and I knew it was finally time to use my camera. From that angle the muted colours of the sky actually worked.
In the foreground was tall grass with a light covering of frost. The water was a calm mirror and there some wharf posts were illuminated with slivers of light. There was also a small white shed, used for boat rentals, glowing against the black earthen breakwater. The cloudy sky and blue mountains in the distance made for a visually cold feeling in my photograph.
I stood there for a while before making my first picture. Then I squinted and made another. Many years ago when I took a class in photography the instructor said, “When using B&W film squint down to f/16 to see what the B&W would look like.” I have never forgot that and wanting to make a black and white as well as a colour, I squinted.
I walked to the end of the trail and took a couple more shots, but I knew I already had the photograph I wanted in spite of that uninspiring flat overcast day.
Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or email@example.com.