Sometime in early 1968 I was moving a bunkhouse bed that belonged to another soldier who had served his required time in the army and was headed for home.
Under the empty mattress was a book I had never seen before called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. About four years later, after I too had left that bothersome military service chore that I and many other young men were forced into, I was wandering through a huge used book sale and came across three books tied together: The Lord of the Rings. I was so excited that I saved the books for a weekend, hid myself away, and in a non-stop session, read them all. (I will say that my girlfriend at the time was not at all understanding of my three-day disappearance).
Like any good story The Hobbit does come to mind when I am in some creative outdoor setting.
This past weekend I joined my friend Jo and four costumed models at a cold waterfall surrounded by ice and snow. My main job was to move the large wireless flash around, but I was also able to get some photographs of our subjects when they were not posing for planned portraits. I wasn’t especially trying for anything specific, mostly just some outtakes that included Jo directing and photographing her costumed friends.
Most of my photos were not shot with the flash. I was using a 70-200 mm and a 24-70 mm. I would set the flash up for the person Jo was photographing and either wait for someone to look at me or choose a place where I could get a good shot.
I wasn’t expecting much, just some good individual photos that were different from Jo’s, that she could add to those she was giving to her friends.
Now comes that moment when I let my imagination take over.
When I loaded my photos on my computer and selected those I would edit to pass on to Jo I had to sit back as I began to see characters that could fit in Tolkien’s wonderful tale. In my imagination I saw water sprites, fairy queens, elves and wandering heroes. Gosh, there was even the mysterious Tom Bobadil posing for us in the white snow in front of raging falls, soft green backgrounds and foreboding rock walls.
In the beginning I didn’t see any of that as I had trudged through the snow and cautiously kept my footing on the ice beside the turbulent icy water as I was photographing our models.
Nevertheless, there was story of the Hobbit as I looked at the images on my computer display. All I had to do was employ some creative and subtle editing to bring the story to life.
Philosopher, writer and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”
Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.
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