Sunday, February 24, 2013

Frosted Tree Branches

These days photography is mostly a means of documenting my jewelry designs, but there was a time when film was my medium of choice.
When I was twelve years old my friend, Ann, had a neighbor who worked for Polaroid.  My memory is a little vague, but I think she was testing a new color film for her job.  I do remember dressing in my favorite fuchsia dress to be her model.  After that I wanted a camera of my own in the worst way.  The next Christmas morning I found a camera under the tree and I was thrilled!  It looked like a 35-mm, but was a point-and-shoot.  Made completely of plastic, it was not manufactured by any known camera company, but it was mine!  It came with a couple of rolls of black and white film.
I loaded a roll of film and went outside to see what I could photograph.  We lived a few miles north of Boston and it had snowed on Christmas Eve, the kind of wet snow that sticks to the tree branches like frosting.  Behind the houses across from mine was a wooded area that looked like a winter wonderland on that Christmas morning.  I shot almost the entire roll of film on those beautiful, snow-covered trees.  
I still can't resist snow-covered trees.  This photo was taken during a snowstorm on April 28, 2010.     
Back then I didn't know anything about composition, the rule of thirds, depth of field, or that a red item hanging from one of those tree branches could make all the difference.  
Same late-April snowstorm.  We had put out the hummingbird feeders about a week earlier.  Those poor hummingbirds were really taken by surprise with this storm!
These azaleas were in full-bloom when we were hit with the storm.  Fortunately, the flowers survived. 
Money was far from plentiful when I was a child, so when my parents had the film developed they were horrified to see that I had wasted all that film on trees.  They didn't get it.  They thought I would take pictures of people that we could put into a photo album. I lost my enthusiasm for photography after that, although I did take an occasional picture of our dog dressed up in the jumper, tights, and bonnet that belonged to my sister's Patty Playpal doll.  That poor dog.  I'm sure she would have been happier if I had continued to photograph trees.  I think the camera was eventually stepped on and broken.
It wasn't until the day I graduated from college that I invested in a 35-mm Minolta and began taking pictures again.  This time I read photography books, joined a camera club, and eventually set up my own darkroom.  I even shot two weddings!  Kodachrome was my color film of choice, although I still loved taking black and white photos.  After a few years my job became more demanding and began taking up so much of my time that my picture-taking ended.
A couple of years ago I bought a wonderful 35-mm Fujifilm digital camera.  I love that I can take pictures of trees now and not worry about wasting film.   I love that I can fix mistakes and crop out unnoticed distractions in my photos from my computer.  I really should  learn how to use all the settings on the camera and stop depending on the Auto setting.  Is it too late to make a New Year's Resolution?
I love the textures of  the wood, the peeling paint, the sugary snow, and the frost.    I also like the vertical and horizontal lines of the wood.


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