About a week back, I started setting a new alarm to go off very quietly at 5:30 AM. The sun rises currently at 5:48 and I decided I was going to take advantage of my great view and photograph it as often as possible but only if I was rested enough that the gentle alarm woke me up.
It did do so this morning but I was quite disappointed when I walked out on my balcony and saw what nature was offering me. There was a fairly heavy fog still setting on the hilltop I face and I knew that I wasn’t going to be getting the sharp contrasts and vibrant hues I have come to love and adore.
Before giving up and going back to bed I did notice that there were quite a few seagulls flying around and calling out to each other. I decided instead of focusing on the sunrise I would center on them and see what I could do with it. So I upped my shutter speed and for about two minutes, from 5:40-5:42, snapped away. Honestly I felt like a reporter at a tennis match trying to keep my lens on the ball as one after another these birds flew past my field of vision.
Once I felt I got enough, I turned around and went back to bed. Part of the art of photography is the ability to cut. Despite what might have been implied in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, great photography isn’t so much waiting for that perfect moment and then stealing it forever in one frame. Instead it is about hoarding potential and then later digging through to find the gold.
When I came back to these pictures this afternoon, my expectation was that there would be 30-40 shots for me to dig through to find the keeper I would throw into my facebook collection. I didn’t take 30-40 shots. I took 183. Two things became quickly clear: 1) There wasn’t any single amazing shot that stood head and shoulders above the rest. 2) Neither was there any truly bad shots either. Frankly, things looked a lot better on (digital) film than I had expected. I was working my way through my second round of cuts when I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t really much difference from one to the next and they would probably work better as a set than any single shot could on its own.
So here they are. Except for an occasional bit of cropping, these are completely unfiltered and unedited. The only exception is the very last picture. I pulled on the red and played a bit with the shadows just to see what the potential was for all of them. Feel free to steal any of these for facebook covers, to create memes or scripture pictures, or whatever else you might like. I am a firm believer that all creative property should be open and free. After all, all of nature, wisdom, and beauty is God’s. We just happen to capture a glimpse of it now and then, here and there.