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.