A Midday Sun Battle

There are many that believe you can only create a superb image at the edges of the day. The reality is, that even during the long days of summer, during midday sun, you can come up with creative ways of expressing your vision. Weather and schedules don’t always collide to provide you with the best situations. Sometimes you have to make it collide. You have to make your vision come through.

This is exactly where I was last week. When Heather and I left the house, we were enshrouded in clouds. The hillsides were covered with that misty drama that I love to shoot in. This was going to be the day that I was going to be able to get mist and mountain biking in the forest near my home. We dropped the kids off at day-care and proceeded north to the trail that we decided to ride on this day. It was only fifteen miles from our house as the crow flies and as we got closer and closer, the clouds began to dissipate. Before I knew it, we were in full-blown sun. This is where the words that can insult many of you begin to come out of my mouth. My favorite begins with the letter F. It was safe to say that I was generally aggravated with my choice to go further instead of staying where I knew we could succeed. A classic concept of the “grass is always greener” illustrated right in from of my face. At this point in my life and my career, I should know better. Learning experience number 2,546,300, some review of my life may be necessary again.

As I finished kicking the dog, the ground, myself, and my bike, I finished my coffee and decided to just simply go for a ride. I may have returned with something different and I may have not. My images may have all gone into the trash. Heather reminded me that this was all okay. I completely disagreed, but I cleared my head so I could be open to what the day sent me. We agreed to ride a bunch of trails that we have never ridden before in order to see what else was available for future image making. Climb after climb in the sun and heat, I passed by opportunity upon opportunity. The light just wasn’t right. It was high-noon after all.

Just as we came to the finish of our ride, I found what I was looking for. I wasn’t really sure how great the finished product was going to be, but I spent a few minutes having Heather ride my composition numerous times. I varied my exposure and my framing slightly for each image and gave her instructions on how I wanted her to tweak her body position and at which point on the trail. The beauty of digital is that I have the chance to see what I am creating as I create it, so I know when the moment is complete. Usually, it is that last sequence. As I shot the final photograph, I was pre-visualizing it as a black and white, but I wasn’t really sure of the technique that I was going to apply to it. After some trial and error, I ended up using the over exposed highlights of the backlit maple leaves as the whites in my final conversion and then added light to my shadows. I am really happy with the results and the final image, even though it was created in midday light it represents something unique and different.

Maybe the grass, or should I say the leaves, are greener on the other side of the fence if you go beyond those standard expectations?