I hate driving in the fog. Scares the heck out of me. It gets a little misty outside and my palms begin to sweat. Hate driving in the rain more, but that’s a story for another day.
But yesterday morning, I was so jazzed about taking pictures that I completely forgot to be afraid when I woke up and everything was shrouded. What I saw instead was an opportunity. So I packed up the camera gear to take with me when I dropped my son off at around 8. The mist was thick around us as we drove over to the college. No matter. I was a woman on a mission.
I wanted to find a tree in the distance to shoot, and I had the perfect one in mind, one I’ve shot before during the various seasons. It’s a grandfather oak standing alone in field at Anderson Marsh Historic State Park, which used to be a working ranch. It’s an impressive specimen. As I drove over to Lower Lake, I went over a variety of scenes in my mind, thinking about how I would capture this beauty in the fog, which was lifting fast as I parked. I hurried down the park’s driveway to the ranch house and barn, stopping to frame different shots with fences and overhanging branches as I walked. They all seemed to have potential, but I didn’t get that special feeling I had “The One” for the day. The fog continued to lift and I decided to call it shoot and walked back past the barn toward the car. I glanced over my shoulder one last time at the tree and – whoa – I saw my shot. I brought my camera to my eye, fired off two frames, and headed back, never running into anyone else; I had the park to myself.
As I reached the car, I thought about the fog and dreams and shots and trees. I glanced down past the key as I put it in the door, and came to the embarrassing realization I was still in my pajamas, a short denim jacket thrown hastily over them! Dreams, indeed. I was certainly in a fog when I left the house, thinking of nothing else but that majestic oak.
Slightly red-faced and grateful I hadn’t run into anyone else, I returned home and hastily popped my SD card into my computer. There were many nice shots of the oak and fences; the oak and rural decay; the oak and a post in the way; the oak too obscured by fog to make an impression; and the oak, framed by the corner of the barn, a denuded tree, its black branches making lace in the sky, and a country fence. It’s the last frame I took and it spoke to me.
In post processing, I felt it cried out to be converted to black and white, and I played with the contrast until the board fence in the very foreground was a suggestion, not a distraction. Other than some minor tweaks, that's it. Below is the finished image; It's titled “Echo”: