Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Early Bird

"Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark."

Rabindranath Tagore
Indian Poet

The best time to take photos outdoors is the hour around sunrise or sunset.   If you want to avoid other people in your photo, dawn is the perfect time.  Few people will be up and about at sunrise.   It's my favorite time to make photos.

The problem with taking photos at dawn is I have to head for my destination long before I know what the conditions will be like.  Will the sun paint the clouds with brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows or will the sky be overcast and gray?  I have found that weather forecasts will give a general idea what to expect, but often the moment the sun breaks the horizon will be very different from the forecast.   I have to get up when it's still dark and see what is in store when I get there.

Blue Heron in Morning Light

On a recent trip to visit my family in South Florida June and I got up early and left the house while everyone was still comfortably asleep.   Our destination was Wakodahatchee Wetlands.  This is a favorite place to photograph birds in a natural setting.  Boardwalks snake throughout the wetlands, making it easy to get close to birds, gators and other wildlife.  On this morning, there were fewer birds than what we had seen in the wetlands before.  Mid-December is a few weeks early for nesting activities and brilliant mating colors that present many photographic opportunities.  However, there were still enough birds to fill all our available time and the rising sun bathed the scenes in a warm soft light, like the photo above.

We don't always have the gift of sunrise colors on every outing but if we didn't get up while it is still dark we would never get to experience the beauty of a sunrise and the beautiful colors of dawn. 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 
Corrie ten Boom

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Calendar Chronicles - December 2014

The number of days left in 2014 is getting smaller and smaller.  Just a few more weeks left before it will be time to replace the 2014 calendar with the 2015 edition.  But, not yet.  

The photo for December 2014 is the road going from Carvers Gap on the TN/NC border up the mountain to the Rhododendron Gardens.   The only travelers on that road this day in March 2013 were cross country skiers.  It was a Saturday morning and I was able to get up to Carvers Gap just after sunrise before the road was plowed.  There were just a handful of hardy (some say crazy) photographers and skiers.  The snow was unbroken and beautiful.  The photo of the pines in the snow that is on the calendar page was  taken on this same day on the Roan Mountain Balds.

Taking photos of snowy scenes like this has special challenges.  You can read some of my suggestions from an older post here.

I felt very alone up there that morning.  The blanket of snow absorbed what little sound there was.  While I saw cross country ski tracks, I didn't see a single person on this side of highway 143.  It was like I was alone in the world.  But no matter how alone we my feel, The Lord is always in our midst.  I believe God rejoices when we are out in His creation, enjoying the natural beauty.  This was both a calming  and a joyful experience for me.  I am looking forward to more snow!