Monday, March 3, 2014

Looking at Up from Down

Let's Dance, 2014

(Click on images to see larger)

Back in 2007 I made a series ofphotographs of things “at my feet” when I took my daily walk. I normally walked before sunrise in those days and only noticed when one Saturday morning I started my walk later in the day that the seemingly quiet suburban streets in my neighborhood were teeming with various utility markings.
I don’t walk that early any more. But most days when it’s over 40F I do get out at some point during the day and walk at least five miles. The actual time of day varies according to my work schedule, travel, etc.
I’m a proponent of always having a camera handy, even if it’s just a cell phone camera. Every now and then, though, I forgot this and almost immediately regret it as soon as I hit the street.
Last Saturday afternoon I didn’t have a camera with me when I walked. It killed me when I didn’t have a way of capturing images of some of the things I saw, particularly shadows on the street. So you can be sure that when I walked the next day I had the iPhone and its camera with me.
A lot of people getting into photography start by looking up at the sky. To be honest, an empty blue sky can be boring. But clouds are so available and so interesting when you start paying attention to them. Photographers know there’s nothing that will add drama to a landscape photograph quite like a dynamic sky. 

 Walking Hand in Hand, 2014

Sunday was one of those days where the sky was clear and blue. But that was okay because what caught me eye was what was happening in the ground at my feet; namely, the shadows cast by the sun. 
The idea with recreational walking is that it’s less harmful to aging joints than, say, running. But you still want to build up enough steam to get some cardiovascular benefit. What I do isn’t to be confused with race walking, that silly looking strut where you keep your hands up by your chest and swivel your butt back and forth like a duck. I look ratty enough when I walk. I don’t need any additional reason for people to confuse me with a duck. 
 They Went Into the Storm Wide and Came Out Thin, 2014

To move things along, let’s just say that after loosening up I build up to a purposeful pace. But on Sunday that was hard to do because I kept stopping to photograph shapes and shadows I saw on the street. I’d get humming along and then come to an abrupt stop to capture the image of something I saw on the street. In other words, not much momentum or steam being built up. This went on for a good forty-five minutes, and I must confess that it was actually a relief when the phone’s battery died and I couldn’t take any more pictures.
I like the images I caught. But I tell you this: being an observational photographer is hell on your health.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, 2014

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