Saturday, December 22, 2012

Good Snapshots: Oxymoron?

 This morning's scenery is quite a contrast to Thursday's when I took the photos in my previous post.  My thinking was, "I need to get a couple of snapshots to show the sudden change.  I didn't want to get my camera wet, so I moved quickly, taking a couple from my covered porch, then feeling I had to include my struggling birch tree.  So, to get the third photo, I stepped off the porch briefly.  It's amazing how quickly my world changed from full color to black and white - that is, except for a few items like the green trim on the well cover and the beige pipes below.  In the context of all that black and white, the spots of color look like they could have been added by Photoshop or a traditional colorizer's paint brush.
 My original intent, consistent with the overall theme of this blog, was to portray nature.  But, for some reason the fact that the word 'snapshot' entered my mind, I got distracted into finding out exactly what a snapshot is.  Seems like the consensus is that it's a photo taken quickly without serious artistic or journalistic intent.  Other definitions emphasize amateurish quality such as blurriness, poor composition, heads cut off, that sort of thing.  My three photos fit the first definition, but, hopefully, don't fit the second.  Thus, the rhetorical question implied in my title.  Is there such a thing as a good snapshot?  An excellent snapshot?  A professional snapshot?  My research continued until I came across an article titled "The Snapshot Aesthetic."  Interesting stuff.  Seems that for a while lots of professionals were exploiting the concept of Kodak's 100-year-old idea of snapshots by giving it a professional twist.  The kind of thing that might happen when a gourmet chef makes 'road-kill chile.'
So, the last of my three excellent snapshots features my struggling birch tree.  It was bent down to the garage roof by the weight of heavy wet snow last year.  When the snow melted off, the tree regained some of its stature, then during the spring and summer, negative geotropism took over and it started to grow straight up again.  A birch tree with scoliosis?  I'm pretty sure it won't make it through another winter.  Today's snow is extremely heavy and the neighborhood snowblower is already active.
This time, when it lands on the roof of the garage, I'm afraid I'll have to cut it down to prevent damage.  One of my favorite features about this particular birch tree is that it is a favorite haunt of a Red-breasted Sapsucker.  I do still have one birch nearby that is standing straight and tall.  I hope he'll discover it next spring and become a regular visitor.

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