One of the things that I learned when I was photographing weddings is that you must be able to “roll with the flow and get the shot” because the event won’t stop if you’re having a camera issue. I have learned that to be true with landscape shooting as well.
Before I go out on a shoot I always go over my equipment to make sure I have freshly charged batteries, clean memory cards, that have set my camera back to “zero settings” (which is what I call my basic settings that I use like AF settings, ISO, WB, and such), and I also make sure my glass is clean and free of accidental finger prints and dust that may have happened on my last outing. But, no matter how prepared one can be, there is always something that you may have overlooked along the way, and this shot is an example of that.
I was driving home on this hot summer morning after the sunrise I had hoped for fizzled out. I had my camera safely tucked away in my bag on the front seat of my car as I drove through the Shenandoah Valley towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sun had just risen above the mountain line and my photography senses began going off as my eyes darted left and right looking at the beautiful light hitting the scenes along the roadside. I spotted this scene and made a quick (but very safe) U-turn, then pulled over to the side of the road and once parked grabbed my camera and a lens and ran over to the fence line to shoot. When I placed the camera to my eye I thought “what the heck is going on! I can’t see a darned thing!”. When I spun the camera around I saw immediately what the problem was… my lens was fogged up! Yep, I had the AC on in the car and it was a typical humid summer morning. “DOH”!!!
I had a cleaning cloth with me and began to wipe away the moisture, but it reappeared instantly. I was thinking about waiting things out for the lens to warm up, but I was losing the light fast. So instead of being frustrated I decided since there was already some light ground fog, and that is what drew my attention in the first place to this scene, I’d let physics help me out naturally by adding a little extra “mood” to the scene. I shot and wiped, then shot and wiped some more.
If I had stayed “in my box” and gotten frustrated I would’ve packed up my gear, gotten back in the car and missed out on this image. So if you’re reading this, I hope this will be a reminder that if things aren’t going as you want them to, stop and ask yourself this, “What image CAN I make with the tools I have before and with me”.
Thanks for reading!