Our fair city was graced on January 2nd with a perfect snow – just enough to be pretty, not enough to get in the way. It melted as soon as it hit pavement but stuck to the trees and the foliage. Snow also threatened the following day but succeeded only in filling the air with moisture particles that reflected the available light. The world seemed to glow. Zero wind and temperatures just above freezing. A perfect photographer’s day.
Today I’m beginning a series of about a dozen works captured on that day, each with very little applied from the photo artist’s toolkit, each work in black and white (I still like to call it ‘noir’). It’s as near to straight photography as I get, hell and gone from the abstract work I’ve been doing. All were captured with my Nikon1 V3 using a superb 1Nikkor 18.5 lens.
I’ve always found January and February to be creative deserts. Once in a while, the universe grooves an easy fast ball your way. It would be rude not to say ‘thank you’ and smack it into the bleachers.
* * *
The child sat low, behind the pilot in the cockpit of the starfighter, half asleep and oblivious. Dropping smoothly out of light speed the craft skirted the edge of an asteroid belt, then just as expected the first raiders appeared, and the pilot plunged the starfighter into it.
Raiders were faster but with the move into the belt had to quickly reverse thrust. Advantage went to the pilot who knew where he was going. He fired off lasers to the left, then to the right, then back to the left again as he danced around tumbling space rocks. He positioned the starfighter behind a large one where the raiders could only wait for him to leave its shadow. When he did it was a quick shoot down a narrow corridor the pilot knew would circumvent a choke point where more raiders would be waiting; so quick a turn made in the shadow of the big asteroid that what few raiders saw it, missed it. The starfighter cruised free of them for the moment.
But this part was tricky. The pilot could be quick but due to the narrowness of the corridor also had to be extremely cautious. A spinning boulder or even another raider might pull in front of him at any moment. The child seemed to become more alert now, sensitive to the perils. The pilot steered left into a new, even narrower passageway, then right, then left again, then finally emerging into the clear with just the slightest yield to assure himself he wouldn’t move straight into something. He opened the throttle now. The raiders had been slowed by their own bottleneck. The pilot could see them closing but knew they would be too late, and sure enough he hung the starfighter right, under the umbrella of the planetary defenses and coasted into its atmosphere.
Then everything changed. The pilot’s grip on the controls eased. He could feel the starfighter’s connection to the ground as movement slowed and became measured; the starfighter itself morphed into a more sedate configuration, the cockpit surrounded by glass, the controls simplified. The child rustled behind him, gathering her possessions in anticipation of leaving the craft. And finally the pilot moved carefully into the drop off lane and neatly stopped, just up from the yellow school busses and the throng of teenagers mulling their way towards the building.
“Here you go, kid,” he said to his daughter.
“Thanks, dad,” she said, unbuckling in the backseat.
“Got your horn?” he asked because more than once she’d left her coronet in the car, her ambivalence for playing it overriding her memory to take it.
“Yes, dad,” she held it up, annoyed with his question, “And my backpack, and my lunch, and look,” she announced sarcastically, “I even got completely dressed and put my head on straight!”
“Ok, ok,” he said. “Mom will pick you up after band practice. I’ll see you tonight. Have a good day, I love you.”
The ‘love’ part always softened her a little. He hoped it wasn’t because he didn’t say it enough.
“Thanks, Dad.” She climbed from the sedan and closed the door. Of course, at fourteen, the ‘love’ part was less likely to come in the other direction.
He watched her join the stream of classmates into the building, used his laser – now his turn signal – before pulling away from the drop zone, slipping past the busses and the other parents. As he moved out of and away from the school zone everything changed back; his focus sharpened, the sedan re-morphed into a starfighter, he punched the rockets and roared back into his imagination.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.