As breathtaking as the skies were in New York, Ohio had her cloudscapes all dressed up and waiting in the wings. And out they danced, one after another.
I have an absolute thing for anvilhead cumulonimbus. I adore this shot, with Ohio's omnipresent and iconic orange barrels standing watch. Really, it's time to take them down. They're a summer thing. It's like the buzzards returning to Hinkley. Summer comes, and ODOT rolls out the orange barrels to squeeze our already narrow highway passages down to one lane and make us all slow down to 55. That, or get ticketed. Which we do, we do.
But it was to get even more surreal, when a car bombed my next shot of this incredible autumnal landscape.
The particular strength of the iPhone camera is its ability not to be so overwhelmed by bright sky that the land color and detail is lost. I remember so clearly my disappointment with my early Canon film camera, and later my Rebel, for its one-or-the-other approach to sky and land. A professional photographer explained it this way: Either you take your exposure on the sky, and capture that, with the land going completely dark, or you expose on the land and lose the sky, all its whites blown out. Later, I got a Canon GS-11, followed by a GS-12, and it was obvious that Canon had been working on that particular problem. I'm a little chagrined to say that the iPhone has rendered my blocky little Canon GS obsolete. I can actually do more with the iPhone. Somehow, the iPhone knows that I want to capture both land and sky in perfect exposure. Sure, I have to do a little fiddling sometimes in post processing, which I never had before digital cameras came along. I'll sometimes open up the shadows on the landscape in iPhoto, but I do precious little fiddling. The iPhone 4S camera captures it all. And I love it for that. That, and the fact that it's always with me. No moment, no vista, goes unrecorded. Yay.
I kept my eye on that anvilhead, rolled on a little farther, and BOOM there was the dilapidated barn and silo just waiting for me. All I had to do was compose the shot. Holy cow. Yes. Ohio is beautiful. You coast-huggin' people ought to give it a chance.
This experience only reinforces my contention that making a habit of photography makes us much more sensitive to beauty. It turns us into artists and composers. More importantly, it turns us into true appreciators. And the best part is you don't have to have "talent." How many times have I heard, "Oh I wish I could paint like you. You're so talented." Well, having started out as a kid able only to scribble, I believe that talent is more or less equivalent to hard work, and yes, we have to work and study to learn how to paint. We can't just wish it into being. On the other hand, anybody can paint like this, because we all have eyes, and almost everybody reading this has a cameraphone these days.
There were some very special things happening with sunbeams, brilliant green hills, and dark clouds. I started shooting through the windshield as I often do when seeing something amazing.
And boom! there was a green hill, and a beam spotlighting it, pointing to I don't know what. I always love the dark clouds that cross white ones, the violet-purple ones marching along the horizon. It all makes me want to get out of the darn car and walk those hills. It also makes me want to paint them. I have a fantasy where I chuck it all and just start painting watercolor landscapes, using these ephemeral photos as inspiration. It's nice to have a pipe dream. It's cuddled up against the one about having a specialty mail-order greenhouse growing odd little plants that I love. I think the growing would be a lot more fun than the order fulfilling. Maybe I could grow them for someone else who had an established business.
It's all so ephemeral, so quickly gone. I have to roll around in it while it's here, this light, these leaves.
I'm thankful for sugar maples and cerulean skies, for slanted evening sun, for whatever basket of beauty the day brings.
By the time we reached The Three Graces, the light was gone, gone like the moa is gone. Color drained out of the landscape. The Graces all decided to go with understated Homecoming gowns this year. They didn't want to upstage each other. Red Maple (left) took it easy, as did Sugar Maple (center). And even gaudy Tupelo (right) decided against flaming red, her usual choice.