I was pleased, but not all that surprised that one of my photos won our department’s photo contest in the Nature category. Not that I’m such a great photographer, but this one shot did come out remarkably well. What surprised me was the title given to it by the contest coordinator: Storm. The Sunday afternoon when I took it was cloudy, but the rain had been over for several hours, and the skies were clearing as I stood in the park looking for a good place to point my camera.
The scene was not nearly as dark as it appears in the photograph. The trees in the background were various shades of green, and occasionally I could see people cross the bridge (lost in darkness here, but it formed the horizon in my view). If my camera had had manual controls over exposure, and I had known how to use them, I would have tried to lighten up the scene. And perhaps I would have gotten a washed-out picture with no chance of winning a contest. (The contest rules prohibited enhancing the photos.)
I looked up some information on taking good nature photographs, It recommends waiting for “dramatic skies.” And “to capture drama, you need to look for the sun peeping out of the clouds and backlighting them.” I had taken another photo at the same time, facing in the opposite direction. It has all the color and detail that the first photo lacks – but none of its drama. The bottom half looks pretty good, in my opinion, but the top is washed-out and dull. I didn’t bother even submitting it for the contest.
I was a bit disappointed that my entry in the “Other” category didn’t win. When I first saw the array of smiling pink Abuelita Rosa dolls at Walmart, I decided the scene was just crying out for a bit of contrast. I would have settled for any dark, sinister character in a box the right size, but I was lucky – after a few minutes of searching up and down aisles in the toy department, I found just the sort of plush Darth Vader I had in mind.
But my “Toy Shelves” lost to a co-worker’s “Tea Kettle.”