Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ethereal water vapor

London, Ontario, March 2007 [Click to enlarge]

As I loaded little man into the van this morning, he looked up in the sky and noticed three intersecting aircraft contrails.
"They look like an H, dad," he said, pointing with that wide-eyed look of wonder of a six-year-old.
"They are, indeed," I answered.
"Are you going to take a picture?"
Not wanting to disappoint him, I dashed back into the house and grabbed the camera. In a scene that we seem to repeat fairly often, I took a few rapid-fire pictures as he chattered with me from his booster seat. While the rest of the world seemingly played out the same old morning routine, we found one of those in-between moments that seem to present themselves almost at random.

I showed him the pictures on the screen before it was time to go and got a big thumbs up from him. My wife smiled as she came out of the house and saw what we had been up to. She's seen it all before, of course, and likely will see it again before long.

About these pictures: London has an international airport, but it doesn't handle much real international traffic - unless you count the charters to Cuba and the puddle jumpers to Detroit as international. We're a mere spot on the edge of the air traffic network. But our geography seems to make us prime territory for overflying high altitude aircraft. Some mornings and evenings, the skies seem to fill with contrails of barely-visible planes. When the clouds are just so, a contrail just below the cloud deck will cast a shadow when the just-rising sun hits it.

It's one of those rare moments that we miss when we're rushing to get out of the house on time. But with the early advent of daylight saving time, we may yet see more sunrise-derived magic in the days to come. As much as I love to stare at the shadows-on-clouds uniqueness of these images, the importance of this image has more to do with who inspired it than the technical aspects of its capture.

Your turn: In-between moments. How do you take advantage of them before they disappear?


therapydoc said...

F.D. (my guy) has said it a million times, usually referring to someone not dusting, People don't look up. They're missing everything.

Great work, C., and thank the little guy for making you take it!

Anna said...

I love it when I get moments like that....

And I am glad that you ran in and got your camera! What a good dad! BTW, I got a speedlight today. :) Very excited.

Later Carmi.

Michael K. Althouse said...

You know, it's funny, sort of. I am starting to look at things differently, like I used to a long time ago. I often say to myself, "That would make a great shot," or, "How would I compose that to make it come off the way I see it?" Although I usually have my camera with me, I don't always. Sometimes the once-in-a-lifetime shot escapes me - and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. Other times, I get it , and often it's better than I could have hoped for.

There are certain subjects that I am drawn to; the sky and its countless different incarnations is one of them. Condensation trails are exceptional because of their ethereal quality but at the same time entirely synthetic - 100 percent man-made. Yet, like a sand castle on the beach, there but for only moments before being consumed by forces much more powerful than we.

Nice shots -


awareness said...

the in between moments is where you find grace......the grace notes of life. I try to grab them whenever I can......and often it is in the vicinity of the car.

Cloudscapes and skyscapes and contrails are often shared. We too live under many flight paths and try to guess where the jets are heading. The sky is an open ended mystery isn't it?

great question, Carmi. It triggered many conversations I have had with my children as well.

kenju said...

Like you - photograph them. At least, I should. I really have to carry the camera with me everywhere!

Carolyn said...

"And me without my camera!" is what I nearly always say. I close my eyes and burn the image into my mind. At least I carry my memory with me everywhere I go. (For the time being, anyway. LOL!)

Unknown said...

Great shot. My (now 13yo son) used to call those "cloud rainbows" when he was about 2yo.

Tell your little guy that his keen eye brought back a sweet memory!


Lifelong Learner said...

I take advantage of in-between moments by enjoying them and being content in them. Just being in the moment.

Your story reminded me of a time when I was small. I woke up early in the morning, looked out the window and saw a comet. I ran and woke up my parents. I was so afraid it would be gone by the time we made it outside. It's a great memory: the three of us standing outside marveling at that comet. I love that my parents took the time to observe the heavens with me. You've created a great memory between you and your son! Enjoy!