Play misty for me…
When I walk the few hundred meters to the the end of the hamlet with my two small plastic sacks of domestic garbage destined for the communal rubbish recycling skips, I rarely have a camera hanging over my shoulder. I should, because although the former is a chore I do every ten days or so, either at dawn or dusk… throughout the seasons I get to see the surrounding farmed landscape in many different and unexpected lights.
A week or so ago I went out, armed for once — so to speak — but unprepared for an extraordinary early morning mist. Living on the side of a shallow valley I sometimes see a thin ethereal ribbon of white nothingness hanging over the invisible course of the local river, hidden half a kilometre or so in the distance by a winding canopy of trees. But on that morning I felt I could almost touch the semi-transparent veil of damp air it was so close… although, as when chasing the proverbial rainbow, it was always just beyond arm’s length.
Rubbish deposited, I thought of continuing beyond my intended destination toward the moated Château de Boussay (yes, I thought, water… even more mist) down in the village, and idly snapped away at the gradually changing scenes en route. But as the old business saying goes, “If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail!” And what I hadn’t accounted for was a potential shooting bonanza, because I only had a 2GB card in my Nikon and no spare in my pocket. But why would I have carried a spare memory card in my pocket when I was only intending to dump the rubbish?
Well, since I only shoot 12mg RAW files in my D300, which allows around 75 shots on a 2GB card, and the card was already two thirds full from the previous evening’s walk… I knew I had to be careful, or rather, selective with my shutter-button pressing forefinger.
Knowing the atmosphere would rapidly change and disappear with the warmth of the rising sun if I returned to the house for extra photo supplies, I pressed on to enjoy the immediacy of the situation… but stuttered and stalled every few paces as the views unfolded and revealed themselves through squinting eyes and an even narrower camera viewfinder.
It’s surprising how quickly an atmosphere can change with just a degree or so of added warmth… and so as the rising sun became blinding in my eye-line, the mist retreated not back to it’s watery source, but evaporated upwards to reform as clouds overhead.
Because it’s difficult to photograph ‘nothingness’ I concentrated on contrasts… the stark outlines of Walnut trees and their branches against the fields of perfumed, flowering Canola; or the glowing walls of the neighbouring hill-side village where I was headed, sun-bathed in warm light; or the unmoving silhouette of a sleepy horse in an apple orchard… all more apparent against the backdrop of fast disappearing mist in varying stages of evaporation.
And then it was all over as quickly as it had begun… my two dozen or so shots had filled the remaining free space on my only memory card. My personal memory couldn’t have carried much more visual information anyway… so flimsy and unfolding were the veils of mist and what they revealed in shapes and colouring. It will happen again many times, for sure, but being an ‘image conscious’ person I’ll never be sure if it will be exactly the same again… and what would the château down the lane have looked like on that wonderful morning?
Images / words © Ed Buziak 2016.