Chasing the rainbow

December 18, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

There is a difference between waiting for the light and chasing it.  Many who love landscape photography know all too well what it is like to rise early to be in position for dawn's early light only to return home frustrated that waiting for the light was a bit like waiting for Godot: it never came.  No dramatic pink skies, no (or too much) cloud detail.  Ah well, another day.  Waiting is what we do and sooner or later the wait is rewarded (it isn't like Godot after all!)

Chasing the light is different.  It means actually chasing.  Perhaps you have a suspicion that the light might just be 'right' tonight.  But you can't make up your mind whether to take the risk.  You take a look outside.  You wonder.  Another look.  And then it is unmistakeable - the light that wouldn't come the days you waited for it is on its way.  You grab your gear and your boots and you are gone.  Keeping to speed limits (of course) you keep gazing anxiously at the sky.  You might just make it.  But Murphy is at his work again.  A tractor pulls out of a field and for three miles - it seems more like thirty - you idle, convinced that the farmer is enjoying his power over you.  Eventually you reach the spot... in time to watch the last tints of the sunset fade to grey.  Given my experience, waiting is more likely to succeed than chasing.

But there are exceptions.  And this was one of them.  I'm not even sure I was actually chasing.  More like just driving around Slemish, wishing the weather would break.  And suddenly a tear appeared low in the western sky and the sun blazed through.  I pulled the car into a convenient area of hard standing, beside a barn.  And farmer Murphy was there again.  But this time he smiled - go ahead, you're welcome!  With the rain streaming down I grabbed the shot.  The right place at the right time with the right farmer.  God bless them everyone.


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