“We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere.” Bill Nye the Science Guy
“I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.” Gustav Mahler
So I’m driving down a backroad in the middle of nowhere when I see a van pull over and out of the corner of my eye I spot what looks like an animal up a tree. I quickly turned around thinking it might make an interesting photo.
It seemed that two large cats were stuck in a tangle of branches attached to a telephone pole. The woman with the van was noticeably upset and borrowed a ladder from a farmhouse nearby.
Now I’m basically a nice guy, I help old ladies cross the street and give money to the homeless though I’ve never rescued a cat and wasn’t sure if they really needed rescuing, but I got out with camera in hand.
Being a former house painter I’m very familiar with ladders and know that if you set them in the mud and climb to the top you end up on your ass. But after five or six tries I managed to reach the first cat and grab him.
The second one either liked the view up there or was panicking and refused to let go. Out of frustration I got off the ladder and pulled at the branches until the cat was within reach and pried his claws free.
The woman wrapped them both in a blanket to put in her van with two dogs who were watching the whole thing. I wondered what she was going to do with them and figured the dogs would probably have them for breakfast.
After it was all over she thanked me and my emotions were running high. I was annoyed that I didn’t take a few more shots, my mind was racing with thoughts of post processing and I had to pee.
There are a million stories in the naked county; this has been one of them.
I was on my way home the other day and stopped by these horses that were very busy frolicking in the mud. I tried to get them to come close enough for a photo but they ignored me.
Then I remembered how I used to get my dog’s attention by asking her if she wanted to go for a ride in the car. So I stood by the fence and said: Wanna go for a ride? Nothing. Then I said: Wanna go for a ride in the car?
The white horse slowly walked over and looked at me like I was crazy. Then he turned to his friend and said: This guy ain’t from around here is he Bo? And Bo said: No Jack, he’s probably a New Yorker.
I figured it must have been my accent. Fuhgeddaboudit.
I was driving around yesterday and realized I was near the house of the Amish Dahlia dealer I met a couple of weeks ago. I pulled into her driveway, grabbed my camera and she smiled and said: “You’re back for more pictures!” I was.
The usual questions began only this time with a special request. “What do you do with these pictures? Do the people leave comments? Do you ever tell the people where they can buy these flowers?”
I told her that I usually don’t but that this time I would mention that there is a wonderful woman selling the most beautiful Dahlias I’ve ever seen who lives on the corner of Ridge Road in Gordonville, Pennsylvania.
You can tell her the big guy with the Honda sent you and say: “Er is weenich ad.” Which means: “He’s a little off in the head.” I think she’ll know exactly who you mean.
“To be worth making at all, a journey has to be made in the mind as much as in the world of objects and dimensions.” Ted Simon
I believe it was Edward Weston who said there are no bad onions, only bad photographs of onions. So when I saw the Free Onions sign I stopped to grab some for a still life. But they were all bad and I didn’t want to stink up my car.
I took a few shots to see if I could capture their beauty even though they are basically pig food now. I’m not sure if this is a good photograph because I’m not a professional onion photographer, but it’s my best out of thirty five.
Weston also said something that I’ve always liked: “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” Now all I have to do is explain that to the Amish farmers.
Thomas A. Edison who accumulated 512 patents worldwide for his inventions once said: “I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing.”
I had other ideas for this challenge but the big train light seemed like a good one and I had nothing else to do. I’m actually very good at doing nothing but since I no longer drink its almost impossible to really enjoy it.
“Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge.” John Locke
When you think about photographing horses, you probably picture a naked woman riding an Arabian stallion on a sandy beach at sunset. It’s a good plan if you can manage to put it all together, but until then you may want to practice locally.
Living in Pennsylvania it’s easier to find horses than it is to find good lobster and they all love to pose. If you have trouble finding horses where you live consider going to a riding stable or school.
Tip 1: They usually have crud in their eyes. You don’t have to point this out to them but see if you can find one that has less. Another option is to get further away and avoid head shots.
Tip 2: As soon as it gets really hot they’re often covered with flies. While this may not seem like a big deal it really does take away from the beautiful animal that you’re trying to capture.
Tip 3: Horses are very friendly and will come up to you to see what you want. Despite the warnings, I always pet them and have never had my fingers bitten off. Your results may vary.
Tip 4: Consider converting to black and white. Unless you’re lucky enough to capture the perfect light, choose one of the many ways to do this then lie like a professional. Tell everyone how color is distracting, that black and white forces you to focus on the image, and that you were going for that aesthetic, artistic look.
Tip 5: This is the big one: you want to get a good composition, an interesting pose and ideally something in the background. Most horses have very little to do during the day so they just sort of stand there, which is good because you’ll have plenty of time to think about the shot.
Finally, don’t ask them why the long face, I’ve never met once that thinks that’s funny.