Huh.

After a long first day back from a week’s vacation, I look up from my work and see it’s pitch dark both inside and out.  I look at the clock.  It’s 7PM.  Rain streaks the glass on the windows.  I pause long enough to wonder how long it’s been dark and raining without me noticing.

I realize I haven’t thawed Tisen’s dinner yet.  I dump some frozen nuggets into his bowl and set them out to thaw.  Twiggy, visiting for a few days, dances at my feet, her butt wiggling back and forth with the force of her wag.  Tisen jumps at me.  Both are impatient to go out.

I put Tisen’s rain jacket on (he hates to walk in the rain) but he won’t hold still while I zip it.  After the 3rd attempt, Tisen is zipped in and I grab the leashes, checking the poop bag holder to make sure there are at least 2 bags.  I grab an extra roll just in case.  Then, I head out into the dark leaning back against the leashes like a water skier.

As we walk around the park, I think of what I want to shoot tonight.  I decide I should take advantage of the rain and see if I can capture rain drops.  This is something I have failed at so many times that I have no problem failing once more.

But this time, I am armed with a flash.

Back home, full of optimism, I walk out onto the balcony, attach the flash, position a reflective wrap to bounce the flash, find something to focus on, and take a test shot.  Nothing.

I decide it’s not raining hard enough and sit down to wait.  My glass of wine makes the time pass.  The rain picks up and I try again.  I try focusing close and far.  Repositioning the reflective wrap and shooting without it.  I get a few shots that have some white dots in them.  Nothing very exciting.

I try another round, this time, including out-of-focus street lights to add a background.  I manage to get a few more dots and I kind of like the blurred balls of colored light.  Not exactly what I was going for, though.

The rain slows and I look for something else interesting to try.  I decide to try panning with passing cars to see what I get.  This is just good fun.  Don’t ask me why I have so much fun creating completely bizarre images that really don’t work well, but I do.  I particularly like the one shot of the car crossing the Market Street bridge off in the distance.  Maybe it’s the blurred Christmas lights in the foreground that I like so much?

I am reminded of a photography workshop where the instructor talked about how at least one thing must be in focus for a shot to work.  He’s probably right.

Rain Day

The rain is back.  I have nothing against rain. I would just like to be able to schedule it.  For example, the summer afternoon thunderstorms in the Rockies are nice.  They roll in, drop their goods, and roll out like paratroopers on a daily exercise.  Having done their duty, there’s no need to linger and keep the sky gray for days on end.

While Chattanooga seems far sunnier than Columbus, the winter has brought a lot of rain.

Living on the top floor in a faux-loft apartment changes our relationship with rain.  I don’t have to look out the windows to tell if it’s raining–the sound of it hitting the roof gets so loud in a downpour that I frantically hit the mute button during conference calls.  In heavy rains, mysterious leaks start to appear that seem to be related to the angle and speed of the rainfall and can’t be pinpointed or recreated for maintenance men.

After a few hours, the rain drumming in my ears starts to fade into the background so that when it finally stops, it’s a similar experience to being in an office building when there is a power outage–the sudden absence of the white noise leaves the building in an eerie state of silence, often causing its inhabitants to start whispering.

While there is never silence here–there is always something making noise whether it’s a  delivery truck rumbling down the street, a car stopped at the intersection with its stereo blaring, people shouting and laughing over the sounds of traffic–there are moments of less noise.  When the droning of the rain suddenly stops, these other noises pop to the forefront and I find myself missing the buffer of the rain.  So, I have come to appreciate a slow, gentle rain that is just enough to wash away not only the debris in the streets, but also the noise pollution.

I have visions of shooting rain drops sharply in focus in the foreground with the blurred but recognizable backdrop of the aquarium across the river.  But first, our foster dog must go out.  After taking him out in the rain, drying him off, and setting up my tripod, it, of course, stops raining.  I shoot the aquarium in the mist.  Then, I aim for the clouds over the mountains in the distance.  Finally, I discover water drops forming on the balcony overhang and decide to try to get the effect I was looking for by shooting them falling.

An interesting thing about photography:  it’s one thing to envision an image and another to capture it.  After 30+ shots, I manage to capture the drops falling, but they disappear into the light gray background of the sky.  I cannot capture anything close to the picture in my head.

When I set my camera aside and buckle down to a hectic day at the office, it starts to pour.  If only I could schedule the rain . . .