Let there be light..
“Quick, grab your camera and get that cloud” the Editor exclaims. By the time I change lenses and get my gear ready the moment is gone. Or so I thought. The light had indeed faded on the southern exposure but when I turn around and look west into the setting sun, it was as if there was a fireball in the clouds above the river. The image is still etched in my mind. It reminds me of the iconic clouds that the great painter, Michelangelo, created on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with the mighty hand of God reaching out. In my mind I can hear a voice crying out of the darkness, “Let there be light!”
Sunshine has been a scarce commodity since Punxsutawney Phil declared six more weeks of winter. The week’s weather brings dark cloudy mornings, and cold misty rain. The familiar honk of Canada geese is heard as a pair head upriver. Although the marsh is alive with gulls, pelicans, egrets, grebes, eagles and occasional flocks of shorebirds winging by, few have been close. Seems all I see on most days is clouds, rain, and buzzards.
A few bright hours did provide some passing opportunities however. A Brown Pelican sweeps low and disappears behind the bend in the island emerging in front of me as the wings flare to land. A click on the doohickey captures the touch and goes action in the fading light. Then I see him. Old Man River, the venerable Great Blue Heron, rounds the bend and flies right towards me. Holding my breath he continues seemingly unaware of my presence. Suddenly spotting me he banks right reversing course so quickly I am amazed. Then he lets out a loud cry I am sure was a foul fowl word. Gotcha though! Almost. At such a close range only a wide-angle lens can capture that wingspan.
I have been learning some new “photartistry” tricks recently. Unlike the account in Genesis, I can’t just declare, “Let there be light”. But if there isn’t good light we have ways to generate some now in the photo editing software available. All I have to do is take a bird image and mask it, enhance the light with software, and then change the sky, and “Voilà”, we have light! The “photartistry” comes in making it look real. I will let you be the final judge but you can expect to seem some different images from time to time that make you wonder “is it real?” What I saw painted by the hand of God in the clouds though was real and you just can’t beat that feeling of awe. Be blessed. Harry