Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If You Meet The Buddha On The Road...

We are in the midst of an extended autumn here in Wisconsin. We had some very cold nights - freeze warnings - earlier, yet today the temperature is 75 degrees (F). I am working comfortably in a short sleeve shirt with windows wide open. I suspect I will use a motorcycle to run my errands this afternoon. One of the benefits of these temps is that we still have flowers blooming. On Sunday I took a walk over to a friend's house a few blocks away, and found much to shoot along the way.

If you meet the Buddha on the road, stone him.

The Buddha head is one of many (many!) sculptures created over the past decades by the now-deceased Syd Boyum. Boyum lived at the other end of my street and was either eccentric or crazy depending on your point of view. By all accounts he was a nice neighbor as long as you did not mind his backyard being filled to crowded with dozens of sculptural objects. After he died, the city and privately-raised funds bought and installed about a dozen of them and installed them all around this neighborhood. Boyum's son inherited the house and all the sculptures and some of them remain, visible in brief or in part to passers-by.


Flowers were mostly what was catching my eye, and I loved the shocking contrast between the flowers and the leaves. My beloved said she almost did not believe the color of the flowers was real, but the leaves color was right...


I spent some time before making each photograph looking at all angles trying to see what most intrigued me. I seemed to be drawn to strong back-lighting that day which can make for nicely dramatic images. It can also leave the foreground dark and insufficiently visible. Such was the case with this beautiful rose. The first exposure was unsatisfactory, so I exploited a wonderful feature on my camera: Scalable flash. There is a menu that lets me control the output of the on-camera flash, from full down to 1/128th power. So I took a good guess and set it at 1/4 power and popped off the photograph I wanted. The use of the flash also darkens the background so there is little clutter, just that nice, light streak coming down on to the bloom.

I see the world differently when I have my camera in hand. That is often enough to turn a simple errand into a satisfying walk.

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