Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

In the Gloom

Overlook, Taughannock Falls, Taughannock Falls SP, NY

Overlook, Taughannock Falls, Taughannock Falls SP, NY

It’s beginning to look like this might be one of those summers here in the northeastern U. S. that is remembered not for hot days and sunburns but for gloom and sogginess.  Things could turn around, of course.  It’s only early July.  If the weather gods decide to shift the jet stream north into Canada, then the current pattern will change very quickly.  This coming week, for instance, should see the sun’s return and temperatures into the low 80’s.  But where are the 90’s?

I’m not complaining, mind you.  My wife is, but I’m not.  I prefer cool weather (although the daily rain is beginning to get a little stale).  This stuff definitely makes photography easier, at least with respect to dynamic range.  If you don’t mind getting a little wet, anytime of day is a good time.  There is no harsh light and no sun induced shadows to contend with.  And if you happen to find yourself at a place like Taughannock Falls, there are very few people to get in the way!  On a bright sunny summer day, this spot would be crawling with people, all trying to take a picture of the falls even though the afternoon sun would literally be in their faces.

I guess that makes photography sort of like fishing.  If you want the best chance of “catching” something, don’t go when the weather is absolutely great for a picnic.  Go when everybody else is at home in front of the TV because the weather sucks.

Not to mention the fact that anyone currently sitting at home in front of the TV has got to be getting just a little tired of hearing about Michael Jackson.  So you get to avoid that, too.  Heck, Popes and Presidents don’t get this kind of coverage when they die.  I’m not denigrating the guy – I liked him too.  The “Thriller” album was an absolute gem.  But saying things like “he changed the world” (Al Sharpton) is silly.  And was he the “best ever” entertainer?  I don’t think so.  He might not even make the top 10.  The Beatles have to be at the top of the heap, followed by people like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sammy Davis, Jr., Bob Dylan, and a few others.

Call me a cynic, but I think all of this soap opera is designed to accomplish one thing and one thing only – to generate revenue for years to come.  First you create the myth, then you sell it.  It’s American capitalism at its best.

All of which, of course, has nothing to do with photography.  Sorry for the tangential editorial.  But with all the real problems we face (two wars, health care, unemployment, global warming, etc.), it bugs the hell out of me that even “news” channels like MSNBC spend most of their time talking about who’s going to get custody of the kids, who is in the will and who isn’t, and what drugs he might have been taking when he died.  I mean, who cares?


4 Responses to “In the Gloom”

  1. Don

    Real nice shot, I think we are all getting plenty of practice shooting in the rain.

    And you couldn’t have said it any better about the coverage of MJ, move on people, there is life after his death.

  2. Steve Weeks

    “Bad weather makes for great pictures” and this one proves the rule. In my mind it tells a great story of a couple enjoying the serenity of a majestic view.

    In spite of the flat light, I think Ansel would be proud. You captured the spectrum of his zone system. Well done and a joy to look at.

    I would trade the 60-70’s even with the rain for our 100+ with killer (for us desert rats) humidity. Of course that is easy to say when it is not endured for long periods of time.

  3. Paul Maxim

    Thanks, Don. As a fellow New Yorker, I’m sure you’re happy about the sun’s return this 4th of July weekend. My wife can’t understand why I’m not rushing out with my camera to capture all that blue sky. “Too bright”. I tell her. She just shakes her head and walks away, disgusted with my lack of appreciation for all things sunny. I don’t mind sun with clouds, but all that blue sky just turns me off (photographically, that is).

    I do think, Steve, that I’m improving a little with this black and white thing. Tonality is everything (assuming you have decent subject matter). Tonality defines the character and mood of the image, especially when it’s a “straight – up” black and white photograph (no color tinting).

    I missed experiencing the “desert humidity” when we lived in Las Vegas. We arrived in August and moved back to NY the following June, so we missed July and August. But we did catch a number of the 100+ days, and I didn’t like them much. Nope, I’ll take the 60’s and 70’s anytime. But I do miss the southwest….

  4. Ken Bello

    Very nice , Paul. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I didn’t take it myself. I prefer the weather in the Northeast as well. We don’t seem to the severity or extremes (tornados, hurricanes, etc) that plague other parts of the country. And I like 4 seasons. Again, thanks for sharing the images.


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