Coates Kinney wrote these lines more than a century ago, and yet, even today they make sense :
When the humid shadows hover
Over all the starry spheres,
And the melancholy darkness
Gently weeps in rainy tears,
What a joy to press the pillow
Of a cottage-chamber bed,
And to listen to the patter
Of the soft rain overhead!
Today afternoon, sitting alone inside the house, while the dark clouds beautifully cover the valley in front, and the rain drums its music on the roof, I ponder on the present and the future. My camera rests on the table on one side, and the calendar shows the empty days on the other. Rainy days always bring with them a mix of feelings. Somehow, the sadness today is stronger than the joy.
(When the sun appears through an opening in the clouds and lights up a distant village on the hill)
Just outside my window, the blue whistling thrush also is resting. It has its nest up near the roof. Sometimes when my table lamp is switched on, the light filters out through the window, and on a cloudy day like this one, it seems to find some comfort in the warm glow of the light. No singing today. The bird also seems to be waiting for the dark clouds to take a break and let the sun shine through.
Everytime, the phone rings, I fear some bad news. I have recently lost some very good friends. Some are still recovering. Many other things in my life are also not going on fine. Due to the ongoing pandemic, and some delayed projects, the finances are starting to run dry. The fear of ‘what next’, is there in the back of my mind. How long will this all last?
The camera sits in front looking at me, inviting me to pick it up and click something. Maybe as always, that will help. Maybe my spirits will lift up.
The rain keeps on going but I have made up my mind. Just picking up the camera and going out should help. It has a 135mm lens mounted on it. That will work fine. Even if I don’t capture anything worthwhile, at least the photography will distract my mind and let me admire the beauty of nature. Somehow, as if out of good luck, the rain also sounds like slowing down. I’ll continue this write-up when I return…
(f/8 at 1/320 sec shutter speed, -0.3 Exposure Compensation, ISO 100)
A walk in the Clouds
The last hour was very well spent. The rain took breaks in between, giving me enough time to capture some photographs of clouds floating around. The sun also shone for a few minutes to be again covered by clouds. This is quite common here. One moment it is cloudy and rainy and the next it gets sunny. Villagers joke around saying that the weather on the hills is similar to the mood of the girls here, no predicting possible!
While photographing clouds, it is a good idea to underexpose by -1/3 stop. The evaluative metering / 3D matrix metering mode tends to overexpose the scattered clouds, loosing their texture details. Interestingly this does not happen if the whole scene is covered with clouds or haze. It is more about how this metering mode works. For ease of use, I recommend previewing the exposure and clicking raw.
The state of mind always works itself into my photography. The images captured initially were dark and sad. With passing time, I clicked some not too depressing landscapes. The walk outside capturing the clouds did get my mind of the troubles. No, the troubles are not gone. They are still there, however, I feel more hopeful. A bit of walk in fresh air and photography always helps. I feel more connected with the surroundings and nature as a whole.
After I came back, one of friends called me up. He stays about a little distance away from my place. He saw the wonderful vistas that appeared for a short time in the last one hour and he wanted me to photograph some of those for his phone. He wants me to capture some photographs so that he can use them as wallpapers. He does have a very capable camera in his phone. But who am I to deny his request? After all, requests like these do boost one’s ego a little.
Just a note about post-processing. Be on the look out at the greens. If you have clicked any such landscapes, don’t overcook them so much that the greens loose their natural colors and look too psychedelic green.
(A scene of the valley in front, with the clouds scattered around. I had clicked using 135mm lens so had to crop this for a better composition)
It’s already dark outside. Sitting once again in front of my desk, looking out of the window, I could once again see the dark clouds (darker than even the evening outside) descending into the garden and the valley in front. The blue whistling thrush was no longer sitting on the window sill. It had flown back to its nest. It’s day was over.
Yes, the days are cloudy now. The melancholy darkness surrounds me and the rain still patters on. Waiting for the darkness to pass over and for the light to shine again.
I can hear the kettle whistling downstairs. The water I had kept for boiling is now calling me. A cup of hot tea and a good book should help. And then, I’ll press my head against the soft pillow, while the rain patters on, try to find the joy in the small things, and hopefully wake-up tomorrow on a more positive note.
(I saw these lovely flowers while I was outside for sometime today. Flowers always make one feel happy.)