Monday, September 26, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 09/25/16: Taking Pictures at Watkins Regional Park, Nate's Coming to DC, Man Sprawled on the Trail

1.  I took some time to make sure the settings on my camera were what I want them to be, filled my water bottle, packed an extra lens, and slid into the Sube and wove my way south on MD 193 to Watkins Regional Park near Upper Marlboro, MD. It's a sprawling facility with a carousel, miniature train, picnic shelters, prodigious playground, nature center, and, to my delight, mildly challenging hiking trails. The weather was perfect -- low seventies and sunshine, and I was experiencing no discomfort in my feet. I walked the Wetland Trail and marveled at the numerous opportunities this heavily wooded area afforded me to take pictures of light and shadow and I thought more about eye-popping pictures and I realized that when something pops, I recoil, making me realize that I'm inspired to take pictures not to astonish, but to invite a viewer in.  Come in. Find quiet. Learn from this face. Enjoy the interplay between light and shadow and enjoy the shapes and textures and symmetry and asymmetry of the natural world. Do these images "pop"? I don't know. I actually hope not.  I'd rather they do something less dramatic.  At the end of the post, you'll find some of the images I created at Watkins Regional Park today.  If you'd like to see an album of such pictures, go here.

2. Before I left for this hike, I received an email from Nate Beard, who once was a student of mine at LCC and afterward became a friend and coffee and beer drinking mate in Eugene. He confirmed that he would be in Washington, D. C. on Monday, the 26th and so we made plans to meet when he arrives at Union Station at the Bolt Bus terminal.  I began to imagine how we might have some fun over the four hour visit we'll have in the afternoon. I'll keep my thoughts to myself for now, but will report back tomorrow on what we did and whether we were able to carve out a short visit to the D.C./Maryland border and enjoy a beer after its 4 p.m. opening at DC Brau.  

3.  As I was leaving the hiking area and making my way back to the Sube, suddenly I saw a young man sprawled out, face down, on the trail. An older woman -- maybe his mother -- was standing next to him and just as I was about to ask if they needed any help, he sprang to his feet. The woman looked at me and smiled, "He was taking a picture." I smiled back, relieved that he was all right, and happy that he was putting out such an effort to get the picture he wanted. "Hey!" she continued, "You want to see it?" "Sure."  I looked at the picture on the back of the camera of the trail leading out and the trees in their still summery leafy splendor looming over, their nobility heightened by the on the ground looking up angle. "That's beautiful," I said.  "Thank you!" he replied. I went on my way, uplifted. 

About these pictures: None of these images looks like what I saw with my own eyes today as I walked the Wetland Trail at Watkins Regional Park.  In order to play with the light and the shadows, I shot most of these pictures at f/8 and then used as high of a shutter speed as I could. I am experimenting with just how much darkness a picture might tolerate, yet, as I took these pictures, I thought of myself taking pictures of light. Then I edited them.

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