Right Place, Right Time.
(Mt Shasta, Northern California, 2008. Image copyright Hamish Reid. Click image for larger version).
Right place, right time: I really wasn't looking for yet another damn Mt Shasta shot, but in a weekend of miserable weather when Shasta was usually shrouded in cloud, this was a shot that I just couldn't resist, for what I think are obvious reasons. I could see what was coming as I was driving north (away from the mountain) on Interstate 5 towards Yreka, and I guessed I had maybe ten or fifteen minutes to get it before the clouds rolled back in. I had to get off the freeway in a hurry at the next exit, double back to the south, and drive as quickly as I could along old two-lane blacktops to where I knew the shot would look great
(up towards Highway 97). I didn't have a tripod with me, so I did the shot hand-held with the Nikon 70-200mm VR lens on the D2X, in slowly-fading early-evening light and ferocious winds, standing on the side of the road just out of range of the occasional passing truck. All I'll say is the vibration reduction (VR) in this lens is a miracle this image has been printed to 17x22 inches on my Epson 4800, and it's sharp and evocative even at that size. And yes, a few minutes later the clouds came back and I didn't see the mountain again the entire weekend; a few hours later I was driving across snow-covered roads and fighting a blizzard.
You'll see this shot again in a very different context later
The Indecisive Moment
(Oakland, 2007. Image copyright Hamish Reid).
Fruitvale Rail Bridge from Park Street Bridge, Oakland Estuary, Summer 2007, during the fires. I can't believe I almost didn't bother taking this shot. I live and work (and have my studio) maybe half a mile from where it was taken, and I was walking across the Park Street bridge into Alameda to get some breakfast when I saw it. For several days the light had had an eerie copper tinge due to the brush fires running wild in some of the hills and mountains surrounding the Bay, and that morning everything
was reduced to this beautiful near-monochrome (and everything smelled of smoke).
The Fruitvale Rail Bridge just stands there semi-abandoned, always open, but still a workaday structure next to the smaller (and very much alive) Fruitvale road bridge (like the Park Street Bridge a drawbridge). The smooth morning water really made this view work that day, allowing for the bridge reflection as well as the the overall tone. A great sight.
But, unusually for me, I didn't have my camera with me, and I decided I just couldn't be bothered to go back and get it (translation: I'm not really much of a photographer a lot of the time). I was hungry and tired. But by the time I'd walked across the Park Street bridge into Alameda, I felt really guilty about just walking on by a sight like this. So I turned around and started back across the bridge to pick up my camera. About ten metres onto the bridge I had another change of heart, thought (again) that I really just didn't want to walk back to get the camera (I just wanted a bagel and some coffee, dammit), and headed back into Alameda. You know the rest: a few seconds later, once again, I turned back, trudged home, picked up the camera, and spent an hour or so taking photos all around my neighbourhood
in the strange alluring light. This was one of the best. It's entirely unmanipulated beyond flattening the contrast a little.