The elusive image at Jordan Lake continues to be elusive. In all likelihood, I may have to wait until next year to make another attempt, since the row of trees I spoke of in recent posts is now leafing out, and they are no longer mere skeletons. But it was a chance to get out of the house and escape the virus lockdown for a couple of hours. It wasn’t that there was no color in the dawn sky, there was some in the sparse clouds, but nothing special. So, I walked the few hundred yards toward the bridge for an unobstructed view of the lake, and found the bushes in the post two weeks ago, were also beginning to leaf out, and the color reflections on the water were not nearly as interesting as then.
But when a fishing boat was slowly passing under the bridge, if the previous visits were any indication of what would happen next, a quick change from ISO 100 to 400, a faster shutter speed, and larger aperture was made to freeze the boat as it then picked up speed and sped away, leaving a long lasting arc marking its path. Again, nothing special, but something to keep in the practice of anticipating what may occur, and preparing for it.
Ripple Patterns — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia
As the ripples left from the boat’s wake settled down on the calm water, an interesting pattern began to emerge, and I photographed it quickly before it disappeared. It was during the processing that I experimented with changing the color combinations. By wildly moving the sliders for temperature and/or tint in Lightroom, I was able to completely alter the appearance of the abstract pattern, from warm to cool, to otherworldly. Again nothing spectacular since there is barely any focal point, but something to do to fill up the enormous amount of time spent within the confines of the house. It would have been nice had a duck paddled into the design, but that was not to be.
By now the sun was higher and lighting up the trees surrounding the lake with some clean directional light. So I headed back toward the car, knowing I would pass an area that should have some good side-lighting. The water was completely calm there, with small wisps of mist drifting off the water surface. I was looking for a shape in the trees that would provide a focal point, and found one, but it didn’t balance well in the frame. A second frame to its left was needed for the balance, and so a simple two panel panorama solved that problem (top). The warm tones of the spring leaves, and the cool tones of the water and trees in shade, provide an additional layer of separation from the background line of trees; something that can be enhanced by split-toning.
In the image above, it’s fairly evident where the sunlight is shining on the rocks. The warmer tones of those on the right are quite different than the cooler blue of the ones further toward the top left; and the deeper the shadow, the more blue they are.
Although the season of spring will “officially” last about 2-1/2 months more from when these photos were taken, photographically, it’s almost over. The leaves will lose their bright yellow/green coloring and drift toward the bland green of summer. It was a long range intention to travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway where spring peaks about three weeks later, but with the restrictions and danger imposed by this virus, that plan was shelved early on. Something to look forward to next year when, hopefully, this virus will just be a nightmare memory.
Even though not much came from today’s outing, it did serve the very important purpose of keeping the creative spirit alive. Whether you remain inside the house and continue creating or learning new things, or you venture out to enjoy the gift that each day is, whatever your passion is will help in getting through this unsettling time.