Have camera? Seize the moment, or else…

This area of Virginia has beautiful serpentine roads with inspiring vistas at almost every turn. This is an inevitable opportunity for a good news/bad news story.

The good news is these Virginia byways provide a wealth of attention-grabbing images for the photographically inclined.

The rolling hills are covered with a patchwork of farms, forests, log cabins, rivers, mansions, shacks, country stores, and picturesque bodies of water.

Almost every day, I see an image worthy of immediate capture because it will entertain or elicit admiration from my friends and family. I have been able to capture a few of these here and here.

The bad news is that for every image I have been able to capture, there have been three or four extraordinary images that I was not able to shoot, because these wonderfully scenic winding roads do not have space to pull off the road!

When you drive on Route 53, for example, you need both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. You are generally driving at 20-45 miles an hour on a road with no shoulders. Even a moment’s distraction can put you in a ditch or into a tree. There are too many trees marked with crosses to commemorate the deaths of drivers who were careless.

The other night on Route 53, I glanced out over a field and saw a sunset like nothing I’ve seen before. The dark blue-violet sky was entirely clear except for a single brilliant red-orange cloud with incandescent edges. This glowing smudge of fire hung just above the horizon and was lit from below by the already vanished sun.

I looked desperately for a turnoff or a place to stop, but I was in a line of traffic and the road was bordered by huge fields with no gates or driveways. I drove another three miles through patches of forest before I could find another place with a view of the horizon.

I pulled into somebody’s driveway and scrambled out of the car with camera in hand. I ran down beside their garage to a place where I could see the last few moments of this sunset spectacle. I was able to take only a few shots before the light disappeared entirely.

This picture provides a mere hint of the earlier splendor. I am showing it here to remind myself that in opportunistic photography, preparedness and speed are essential.
Few among us have the determination to emulate Ansel Adams and place ourselves at a time and place to capture the exact moment when light from the sky strikes an object in just the right way.

Fortunately, there are those like Marie, Fletch, Ana, and Fred who do a much better job than I. Also Nicole.

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0 Responses to Have camera? Seize the moment, or else…

  1. fredf says:

    Oh how I feel your pain, brother. I drive along so many time actually saying “CLICK!” and thinking “kodak moment missed”; but as the old John Denver song says, I lost a friend but kept the memory. And hey…the image today is nothing to apologize for!

  2. Marie says:

    I cannot remember which wise old photographer told me that “The worst thing you can do as a photographer is not to stop and take a photo..” I have often done some very stupid behaviors all for the sake of capturing the moment. An on a side note, you and Gretchen are both incredibly wonderful people 🙂

  3. Ana says:

    I hear ya. There’s always the one (million) that got away. Marie –I’ve never heard that saying, but it’s a great one! I’ve lost more moments than I can count due to the silly voices of “it’s embarrassing”, “it’s getting late”, and “I can’t turn around now”. I should tape that saying to my forehead.

  4. Trey says:

    Beautiful shot.

  5. Beth W. says:

    Your word picture did it for me. . . especially since we would much rather have you safe than down a ravine, camera in hand!

  6. I hear ya!!! I carry my digi or my mini cannon. gurl

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