The long and winding road*

imageWashington, Connecticut © Steven Willard

It’s odd that I have never noticed this drive and house before. Granted it isn’t on a road I travel often, but I know I’ve been past it before. What attracted me today was the profusion of wild flowers growing right up to the stone wall. I saw that and only then did I notice the curving gravel drive that wound it’s way to the house in the distance.

I parked the car on the grass just off the road and walked back with the camera with the kit zoom attached to see if I could compose a photograph. I liked what I saw but realized I was going to need the extra coverage of my 15mm as well as it’s better resolution. Back to the car to get the tripod and mount the wider lens, then back to the spot I had selected. I knew this was going to tax the depth of field of even the 15mm lens in order to maintain sharpness in the stone wall which was only about three feet from the camera, and still hold sufficient sharpness in the house in the distance. Normally I try to operate in the middle “sweet area” of my lenses, stopped down about two stops, but avoiding the smallest apertures to prevent losing sharpness due to diffraction. This was a situation where I had to break my “rule” and stop down all the way to f22 and hope for the best.

Wouldn’t you know that just as I was ready to make my first exposures a car pulled out from behind the house and started for the road. Had the owner seen me and was coming to run me off? I was pretty certain I was on public property, and in my “rights” to photograph, but I hate confrontation, and besides I could imagine how I would feel if the roles were reversed. I made a couple of exposures then had to stop because the car was in the picture and was kicking up a dust cloud. I got ready to apologize for intruding when he drove up. He rolled the window down and asked what I was up to. I told the truth about the wild flowers and offered to drop off a print if it was worthy. He said he would appreciate that, and with that he drove off. You never know.

*A nod to The Beatles. I was humming their song as I worked.

Pentax K5IIs with 15mm f4 lens processed in Nik Snapseed on my iPad Air. The sharp-eyed will notice the “distortion” visible in the house, a result of being at the extreme corner of the lenses view. I could have corrected this in Photoshop, but I didn’t feel it was worth it.


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