Taking a trip to collect photo reference does not always work out the way you “picture” it will. Take for instance, this weekend’s trip to Vermont. We set out for a 3 day adventure in the Green Mountains. The trip up was lovely, sunny and I was awarded with a few opportunities to pull over and click scenes that were quite beautiful. With the light of September, I was really looking forward to late day photo sessions capturing long shadows on hay fields, back lit woods, old barns and shacks that begged to be part of my compositions. Instead, we awoke to a chilly 40 degree day with a forecast of 70% showers by afternoon.
Needing to get some exercise, we headed up the Mountain Road at Okemo. There were some engaging views of wildflowers, grasses and ferns but without sunlight, most of the values were mid tones. I envy artists who are very successful at rendering the mood of foggy, overcast day scenes; unfortunately I am not one of them. But I did snap a few shots, and tried to make mental notes of what I saw, which was understated beauty. Our hike covered 10 miles round trip; the rain began to fall regularly in the last 20minutes of the hike, so we timed it perfectly. I am including 3 photos taken while hiking, as you can tell, visibility was a few hundred feet.
The moral of this story is …. “Carpe Diem”! Yes seize the moment when the light is stunningly perfect … pull over and have that camera at the ready to capture the moment. When planned reference collection trips turn out to produce the full spectrum of grays rather than the full spectrum of light… be ready to experiment with capturing the mood of a gray day on your canvas. Liz Haywood Sullivan is extremely successful at capturing the grey of the atmosphere, as you can see from this link http://www.lizhaywoodsullivan.com/galleries/atmosphere/
Once again I am reminded that it is all in the journey, whether shades of grey or stunning light shadows, we are lucky to witness the moment.