Tuesday, March 29, 2011

From the Wayback Machine

ESVA 83, 2007

I recently subscribed to a “cloud” service for off-site back-up storage of my photographs and work files. It’s not like I foresee a house fire or other tragic calamity in my future. But those who’ve experienced such events would tell us they didn’t foresee them, either.

So I’ve got this cloud at CrashPlan. When you have as embarrassingly many images to back up as I do —would you believe something north of 27,000?— and many of them are quite large files, it can take a while to back everything up. In my case, it’s taking about 27 days.

When I mentioned this the other night, an artist acquaintance quickly scolded me for not doing a better job of editing my work. He said no one has any sane reason to need 97 gigabytes of storage space. I didn’t argue the issue. He’s a painter primarily. Maybe their output just isn’t as prolific. But as I do every now and then, his comment provoked me to drop into some of the old folders to see just what it is I’m so concerned about protecting.

ESVA 83, above, is a good example of what I found. It was taken on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on a cold and windy Saturday morning four years ago. I’d gotten up around 4:30 a.m. to get to the Eastern Shore before sunrise. I took my first shots of the morning in a wildlife management area on the Atlantic Ocean coast. The pictures weren’t stellar, but I enjoyed watching a herd of deer feed in an open field for a while.

Then I drove a quarter mile over to the Chesapeake Bay side and took pictures there for a while. As I was leaving where I’d parked, I happened to look over and see the house above. I’ve seen this house dozens of times over the years. Each time I pass the house is a little more abandoned looking. But on this morning I felt compelled to stop and consider it for a picture. The sun was just coming over the horizon and the light was stretching across the abandoned field and bouncing off the house.

It took a moment to pull the car off the road and find a good vantage spot for the photograph that wouldn’t be marred by power lines or other distractions. As those of you who like to photograph things at sunrise will know, lighting conditions change quickly that time of day. At other times of the day it seems as if the sun is barely moving. But at sunrise and sunset, it can seem like the sun’s racing across the sky. You have but minutes to get the shot you want before the light changes considerably.

This turned out to be one of the iffier shots from that day’s expedition. It was far from the best of the day, but not quite bad enough to discard immediately. When I came across it the other night I decided to pull it out and see if I couldn’t clean it up some and capture some of what it was that drew my eye that cold morning. It’s still far from a great picture. But I suppose that if it triggers such a memory as this, that alone makes it worth protecting.


  1. Your "iffy" is my "stunning". I think it's amazing.

  2. Beautiful! The house is just being enveloped by those grasses, and the sky is incredible.

  3. I miss my drives up the Eastern Shore to the in laws place in Delaware. Now we head over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and most of the trip is through the highly developed DC-Annapolis corridor.

    The Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland seems somewhat apart, and from a different time. I think about all the pictures I wished I'd taken, like the forlorn and abandoned basketball court, just off of 13, north of Pokamoke City.

    I like this picture. My first guess would never have been Virginia strangely enough.

  4. If it wasn't for the flat terrain that shot could have come from so many places around here. I think it's an interesting shot....makes me wonder at the stories that old place could tell and how many other eyes have witnessed similar sunrises from your vantage spot.