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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

When the lighting is good...

Under the right lighting an ordinary scene can look good. I realized this years ago when I was walking along the upper Patuxent river. Like other Piedmont streams, the Patuxent in its upper reaches isn't very scenic. Mountain and flat tidal streams often are photogenic even when the lighting is commonplace, but those in the mid-range often don't merit a second look. 

One afternoon, however, I hiked a stretch of the upper Patuxent whose waters I had often fished for trout. Although this was well before digital cameras were built into phones, I had brought along a 35mm camera just in case I spotted some wildlife or something similar to photograph. It was late winter or early spring with the late afternoon sun getting lower in the sky and I turned to look upstream where my eyes took in a look at the river which I hadn't seen until then.  The slanting sunlight on the river painted a beautiful scene. Of course, I immediately took the picture and still have a framed enlargement.

Lighting can make a plain woman lovely or a beautiful woman drab. I have passed by the spot in the park shown in the photo below possibly thousands of times without it ever getting my attention until a morning a few days ago. Suddenly, the light and the sky brought out beauty in an ordinary scene. The building is a public bathroom, and you can't get much more ordinary than that.

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