Lucky, for once

I have commented before on the fleeting nature of photographic opportunity. Although I don’t keep up with many photoblogs one that I do admire and follow is Eloquent Nature by Gary Hart. On more than one occasion Gary has described a day spent searching for images only to be thwarted by uncooperative conditions. And then he’ll tell how the clouds cleared for just an instant to allow the sun to shine down to illuminate yet another exquisite landscape. Many times, while driving, Joanna will observe that the weather is grismal. And then, a la Mr. Hart, there will be a brief moment of clearing or a dramatic cloud formation that provides a brilliant backdrop for a photo. Sometimes we’ll pull over but more often than not the moment passes even before one of us can say anything. I experienced something similar this afternoon as I was finishing up chores. I had stepped from the porch to the back hall and doffed my boots and coat. I walked into the kitchen to check the firebox and to linger a moment by the warmth of the cook stove before asking Joanna about the schedule for the coming day. We had some nasty weather over night and the day which followed wasn’t much better. It rained lightly which melted the thin layer of snow only to expose the ice underneath. It was cloudy and grismal. As I stood by the kitchen table my eye caught a bit of brightness to the west. I waited a moment. The sun had broken through a clearing in the clouds and was, like a spotlight, illuminating the landscape. Snow and ice which clung to the high treetops glistened. I ran to get my camera. At the top of the stairs I yelled to ask Joanna whether the sun was still out … she said it was. I hurried. No coat, no hat, no gloves, and in my haste I put on my sneakers rather than my boots. Half walking, half running, I switched out the 24-85 for the 70-200 which would capture the distant hill more effectively. The first image in the series of forty-four was time-stamped 4:29, the last was taken at 4:33 … and then it was over. Our elevation here at the farm is right around 900 feet and the top of the hill shown below is perhaps 500 feet higher, just enough to preserve the snow and ice over the course of the day and allow the precipitation to fall as snow rather than rain. A very fortunate coincidence of circumstances … sun and slightly cooler temperatures. Lucky me … for once.


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