November 4, 2010

Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' - Progressive Abstraction

Look | Sensory Inspiration

When photographic legend Jay Maisel speaks where I teach, he refers to the "terror" of seeing something wonderful, but missing the shot.

When I drove over the ridge yesterday morning and saw this sky, my adrenaline began pumping as I raced through the town of Turners Falls to get to my "spot" along the Connecticut River. A cigarette-smoking, cell phone-yakking, crossing-the-street-without-looking teenager slowed my progress.

Music For My Eyes

Park. Open trunk. Retrieve camera. Check ISO. Check white balance. Assess exposure. Take a shot. Check histogram. Climb down riverbank to water's edge.

Like Butter
The files came out of my camera looking like this.

Tech Tips: Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70 mm, ISO 200.  My shutter speeds progressively slowed, from 1/60 to 1/13 to 1/2, and with Music for My Eyes and Like Butter I moved my camera progressively faster during the exposures. ©2010 John Nordell


Benjamin Swett said...

Astonishing. Gorgeous.

John Nordell said...

Thanks Benjy! It was a delightful time shooting.

Tom Rothschild said...

You just officially had your "Moonrise over Hernandez" moment...

John Nordell said...

Tom - I am just glad I did not have to unpack a view camera.

Mark Mullen said...

Lovely shots John. Really nice.
Your post brought back a memory for me of a similar situation with a different lesson. I was working as Second Assistant Cameraman and Stills on a German feature film in the desert outside of El Paso. (Long story.) We had just wrapped after a long night of shooting and had an hour drive to the hotel. I was riding in the van with the DP and 1st AC, both of whom I really looked up to. Just before sunrise an amazing dawn presented itself over the desert (much like your shots) and we pulled over. The three of us got out an I started franticly diving for a camera and mag. "Cmon, guys, we're gonna miss it" I yelled. The DP calmly turned and said, "sometimes we have to understand when not to shoot." As the three of us stood quietly by the Texas highway the epiphany washed over me.

John Nordell said...

Mark - What an evocative story. That DP shared some important wisdom. In fact, this morning I saw an intriguing scene, debated getting my camera, thought of this comment of yours and just enjoyed the moment.

Thanks for another illuminating comment. - John