I’m playing around with a 50mm Nikkor lens. I took this photo at 10:20 p.m. without a flash. Headlights illuminate the lane, but the yard and far hillside were black. I’m sort of amazed.
Then a took another shot … no headlights … no light whatsoever. I focused on a tree because it was the only thing I could make out in the darkness. And look what my camera caught in the background …
The horses. The ridiculous fuzzy-haired beasts who would rather paw for dried grass out in the field then sleep in the cozy barn with fresh hay. Don’t get me wrong — they do eat the hay — but then they’re back out in the weather, be it snow, sleet or pouring rain. If it’s windy, they hang out down in the valley between the two hills. It’s quiet down in there. Hot summer sun is the only thing that keeps them in the barn.
Unless of course I lock them in their stalls — a predicament they regard as highly insulting.
I think they think they’re wild Mustangs or something. Perhaps they just enjoy being tough old broads with a sense of humor. Perhaps I should purchase red and purple halters.
But back to the photography.
If you’re a professional photographer, you’re probably cringing at my initial amazement. I’ve just never had a really good camera before. I’ve never scrimped and saved for special lenses before. I had a 35mm camera with one lens that I learned on as a youngster. I even captured a few great shots that were published in Farm and Dairy … but I didn’t really know what I was doing.
Now I’m concentrating. I’m learning.
Maybe you start taking things more seriously after you’ve had a few kids and added a couple of decades to your carefree youngster days.
So I’m amazed … that I — little old me — can take a photo of a pitch black tree at 10:20 p.m. and see shadows on the snow and horses 100 yards away, and distant hillsides 300 yards away.
It intrigues me. Makes me want to pull on my snow boots, grab the tripod and march out into the vast, black, fluffy whiteness. Makes me want to snap photos into the early hours. What would I capture that my eyes don’t see? Perhaps a timid rabbit hopping through the snow? A skulking coyote? Falling flakes? Bright eyes in black night?
On the other hand, Farmguy just came in from chores and told me it’s a perfect night for sledding.
“The toboggan would fly down the hill!” he said enthusiastically. “It’s chilly, but build a little fire for warmth and light — it’d be perfect!”
The kids are sound asleep.
The home fires are burning.
The chores are done.
We’re old, married folk.
Do we dare?