Monday, March 17, 2008

A day ends in an ordinary place

End of a winter's afternoon
London, ON, March 2008 [Click to enlarge]

While driving to pick our daughter up from a friend's birthday party, I notice the consistency of the sky and decide I like it. I don't spend a whole lot of time staring at it, though. I'm driving, after all, and photographic composition can't take priority over piloting a kinetic vehicle at relatively high speeds.

But as I pull into the hotel where the party's being held, I find myself staring into a late winter, late afternoon sun that's painting the mostly cloudy sky with neato shades of yellow. It's not a typical sunrise/sunset scene, but it stands out just the same. I'm a little early, so I park on the deserted west side of the parking lot and get out, camera in hand.

At first, the antenna that brackets the left-hand side of the image bothers me. (As an aside, it's the aerial for London's A Channel, the city's main television station. Wait, make that only, because the little cable channel that "competes" against A Channel and features bored housewives trying to be Oprah just doesn't count.) But I realize without heroic Photoshopping - which violates my photographic voice - any picture I take is going to have this giant metallic , phallic-looking thing in it. So I roll with it. I find it ironic that some of my work has been broadcast from that very place. There, it's my antenna. So I'll shoot it.

I look around and realize how plain this place is: The back of a hotel parking lot overlooking a sea of suburban homes. It could be anywhere. I climb an 8-foot snowbank to try to get a better angle through the trees. I almost fall - how would that play with the insurance agent, I wonder - but manage to get off the shot before I destroy my equipment. In the end, I get an image of a memorable moment in a forgettable place, and then head inside to pick up one of the four treasures of my existence. Life is once again good.

Your turn: An extraordinary photo taken in an ordinary place. Please discuss.

One more thing: This moment reminds me of this old photo as well. Blowups available.

Make that two: I lied. It's not too late to submit your caption for this week's Caption This image. Click here to see what the fuss is all about. I promise it won't hurt. Much.


fragileheart said...

Hello! I found your site through Beeker's blog... and I'm a little too drunk to read your post right now, but I just read your mini-profile and I just wanted to say Thank you for believing in random acts of kindness - we need more of you around!! I will try to be back tomorrow to read your blog. :D

Michael Manning said...

Good Morning, Carmi: I would say that before my 30-70 mm zoom camera was stolen with my car about 7 years ago, I managed to capture a parked jetliner through a cyclone fence by carefully placing the zoom-out lens through a link in the fence and angled the small camera to get my shot. It was a victory of sorts, since I was allowed this shot, but was not allowed on the tarmac. Ha!

Have a good day, Carmi!:)

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Hey Carmi--

I snagged your header gif to go with the link to your blog in my sidebar, but it's not a great graphic, especially all mixed in with the others I have. Have you thought about creating a button for Caption This? Better yet, could you create some kind of link alias so that the button always shows a thumbnail of the current Caption This image? (I have no idea how to do that BTW).

Just a thought!

david said...

I don't have anything to say that's nearly as long as prior commenters, only this: Thanks for sharing the picture and the story.

Omykiss said...

I loved this post because it makes the ordinary so interesting ... glad to hear you didn't spoil your equipment ... that could have been nasty ;)

Jan Parrish said...

I love it. :)