Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The March Project at WPII

This building is in pretty good condition, but it's been unoccupied for as long as I can remember, and I've lived in this part of the state and driven past from time to time for more than thirty years. It may have come to life, briefly, a few times without my noticing, then gone back into hibernation.

As I shot this, the "gentle light" that is the theme of this series of pictures was fading away. There were snowflakes in the air, though they don't show in this one. By the time the snow was thick enough to photograph, the light had died—a sullen, leaden presence.

So just a few words about this experiment of March postings. I love to travel and find new places to photograph. When I get to do that though, I spend an awful lot of time driving while finding only a few places that inspire me to get out and look for pictures. Luckily, there are a few places right near where I live that are just the sort I would stop and shoot if I found them a thousand miles from home. Returning to these places repeatedly over literally decades, walking the same shopping districts and residential areas, I often make very few exposures because I don't see anything I haven't already done. Light that may have seemed promising when I left the house may be gone half an hour later. No new curiosities, no dramatic changes in the scene.

Sometimes though, a day works out perfectly. The light and weather are exactly the kind I like and the conditions continue for hours on end. Since I know the locations intimately, the perfect conditions unveil a whole crop of new pictures. I may jump back in the truck and move to another familiar spot as the light changes. On a day like this I may get a remarkable harvest of pictures that strike me as successful. Payback for all those hours invested looking and searching while little or nothing quite comes together.

February 18, 2009 was one of those days. A storm was forecast, but in the late morning there was high cloud cover and beautiful, luminous light. From just after eleven till just before two, when the snow began to swirl around the green block building, things just seemed to fall into place. Later, when I looked over the day's shoot and began a preliminary edit I realized it had been one of those really nice harvests. For no reason I can think of, it occurred to me to arbitrarily limit my edit of the 357 captures to 31, the number of days in a month, and post them as a series here. When I thought about sequencing the pictures, my first thought was to make it simply chronological. First thought, best thought. So there's the March experiment. The pictures are the most interesting things I saw as I walked through several neighborhoods of Waterbury over the course of several hours in my favorite kind of light. Minus, of course, the 326 captures that weren't as good.

PS: For the technically interested, the pictures were all made with a Pentax K20D equipped with a 31mm FA Limited (normal focal length) lens.

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