Photograph by Mark Bowie
Scurrying Before the Storm
1 Second, F/8, ISO 200
Nikon D70 Camera, Nikkor 12-24mm lens at 14mm
Summer has always been the most challenging season for me for creating unique, impactful images of the Adirondacks. By then, spring’s painterly flourishes of multi-hued greens have merged into a rather monotonous green—beautiful but pervasive. However, other opportunities present themselves, most dramatically, in the ever-shifting weather and the subsequent play of light across the landscape. We could see thick morning fog dissipate to placid blue skies in midday and later watch a storm front bring billowing clouds, torrential rain and lightning. The extremes are often photogenic.
In a Champlain Valley farm field, near Essex, Queen Anne’s lace and clover swayed in the breezes beneath threatening storm clouds emanating from high peaks. Rather than trying to freeze their motion using a fast shutter speed, I decided to work with the conditions, allowing the flowers to whip about in a one-second exposure, as if scurrying before the storm. The menacing blue-gray clouds, verging on black, loomed low over the field, like some prowling beast. There was a latent energy to them, as they set to unleash. The build-up was thrilling—the wind, the fresh smell of the flowers, the palpable sense of rain on the air, the encroaching evening darkness. And that’s what I want my images to convey—sensory visuals that viewers can share, atmosphere they can feel.
Have your camera follow the weather. Truly “see” the subtleties of light, and immerse yourself in the action. Summer may be short-lived, but it’s eventful!
Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations in-person and via Zoom for conferences, camera clubs and other groups. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. For the latest information on API’s fall workshops and 2021 schedule, see www.adkpi.org or ask to be added to the contact list. Please visit Mark’s website, www.markbowie.com, to view image galleries and keep abreast of his workshops, presentations and product releases.