Ugh. Why did I even bother to brush my hair this morning?
As yet another gust of wind grabbed my long brown hair and shoved it over my eyes, I wondered why I didn't just cut it all off. It's not like you do anything with it, after all, Leigh. I said to myself. I turned my head to let a gentler zephyr push the mess back away from my face. Still, longer hair is a vanity I try to allow for in my rugged life. When I'm not in a professional kitchen, I'm grubbing in dirt and animal dung on my farm, or out shooting photographs in any kind of weather. Oddly enough, it's the grumpiest, most unsettled atmospheric conditions that creates the most interesting images. I think.
Earlier this morning, with 3 of the 4 seasons blowing through the valley within the space of an hour, I dashed off to try to capture some of the last bits of Autumn in our region. Car wipers flopping fiercely, wind and lashing rain switched over to splotchy snow, and back again. The vigorous breeze blew yellow, red and orange leaves across the road, plastering some to the windshield. Shafts of sunlight danced through the clouds, casting brilliant spotlights briefly on hilltops and meadows.
Ignoring the rain, sleet, and clumps of rain, I pulled my Outback over whenever I saw a safe parking spot. I'll stop at nothing to capture the right shot. I pointed the lens of my camera toward my quarry and clicked the shutter. Turning by quarters to check all vistas, I continued shooting. That's how I work. Unlike most photographers, my 3rd eye directs my vision. I sense where the shot is, instantly determining if the light will allow for the right image. It's all in the light. I do very little editing once the picture is taken, so if I don't like the light, I don't even bother.
Darn. Getting a bit off track there...
I suppose the point is, that over a period of almost 30 years, I've learned what I do best. I let my inner light meter guide me, and try not to listen to the gauges and suggested settings. As with so many aspects of my life, the weather dictates nearly everything, including photography. If the light is muddy, or flat, as disappointing as it is, I don't even try to hunt for photos. When storms are brewing, or just departed, I clear my schedule, because I know I'll be out in the countryside, eyes to the the sky, camera at the ready. Shoulder seasons are particularly wonderful for dramatic weather, as Mother Nature shifts gears for a new routine. I know people and property can often be the collateral damage during these times, so as I head out on each new photojourney, I offer up a safety prayer for all. Including myself. Although years of stumbles, crumbles and close calls have given me a keen sense of self-awareness, I still have accidents while out shooting. While my attention is utterly on the image I'm hunting at the moment, I can briefly lose touch with the world around me, resulting in damage to myself or my equipment. I suppose that's the trade off. As my mother says, "There's a price to be paid for everything".
Photography is my life's call. Regardless of what I do to earn a paycheck. Time spent shooting is cathartic and healing to my very soul. Alone with my quest, cosmic injuries heal, and the empty well of my day-in-day-out spirit is renewed.
My hunting season never closes. Every moment captured by my camera is my trophy. Ever sustaining and sustainable.
I can never ask for more than that.