It was all my fault. I admit it. I made the five inches of heavy, wet, slippery October surprise snow happen. You can blame it on me.
Been walking around the back forty musing about how odd it is that green is tough for a nature nut like me to photograph.
It can be maddening: There I am — entranced by light that knows no equal, a sky that Ruysdael would kill for (much tougher to come by here than in Holland), an evocative scene — straining to get the angle just right, braced perhaps against some scraggly tree to steady the hand, hoping that the hound will keep looking for that squirrel at least until I am back on my feet again, craning my neck to see the stupid little screen on the back of the camera and the scene it’s supposed to catch … and what does it show but a big diagonal swath of green grass in the foreground spoiling the mood entirely.
That’s not nature doing it’s own thing in the least. Someone mowed it. It looks healthy and summery rather than ready to go to sleep for the winter. It has no subtlety, and when I push the image in the computer to get things that little bit more the way I saw them with mine own eyes rather than the way the powers that be who make the camera work think it shoulda been – when I do that, the green takes on a poisonous hue and begins to dominate entirely.
I don’t see the grass when I look at it of course… I see just the subtle play of shape and color and movement that speaks to me with all the romance it can muster – that says to my eye: that!
The first thing you learn in photography 101 is to check the perimeter of the frame: make sure that a streetlight isn’t growing out of your lover’s head as he becomingly leans against a medieval wall. It takes undoing the power of the human eye to see only what it wants to see. And you’re supposed to get it right with the camera if you can – Photoshop is second best. To me, photography is in large part becoming aware of the difference between my eye and that of the camera and trying to get the camera to show what my eye sees.
And my eyes dismisses the thing I walk on most often. The background color of all I survey. So like a good doobie I try to take care of it in the camera, crawling on my belly instead of on my knees to get the right vantage point. Barging head first into the bushes or hanging far over the water so that I won’t have to enlarge to the point of pixellation. But in the process I spend my summers cropping the green out of nature, until, finally, sigh of relief, late fall does it for me.
I have no idea why I don’t want to photograph green too much, other than that it seems to hold less visual interest. It sort of just is. There’s something deadening about it – that must be why TV’s green screen is green, and why operating rooms are painted that way.
So that’s how come the other day when I was out wandering and meandering with the hound hoping for some magic to happen as it sometimes does I saw with great relief that the green will soon be largely gone from the landscape. A bit of snow right now, thought I, would make it so much easier to see the world for what it is.
I guess I was obliged. So you can blame me. I will take the fall. And it worked! Now, now every bit of color, every leaf, including green, is above average and worth a minute or even fifteen minutes of ponderation.
The change from green to white. Check the images — if you click on one you get the album — which takes a moment to load if your umbilical cord of to the information highway is slow like mine.