Turn back and see what you missed
I almost drove by this scene without stopping. Traveling back home from a photographer's conference I was wondering about the conditions of the road ahead of me but just as I passed this line of trees faint sunlight came through the overcast and made the highlights in the trees glow. It was a mile or so down the road before my conscious brain reacted - what did I just see? Turned the car around, drove back to this strip of windbreak and pulled off the road just as the sun came out again to remind me. Conditions the previous night were just right for hoarfrost formation and the wind had coated the leaf-less limbs with ice, which captured the subsequent snow to put icing on the scene. Had the sun not hit at just the right moment I would have disregarded the landscape but part of my mind was still working through exposure lessons I'd learned just that day and the combination of highlights on the tips of the limbs and the dark bark of the trees enabled me to see what it ought to look light through the camera.
I set up my gear on the edge of last year's corn field and worked the composition to get the right elements in the scene. Then I waited for the right sunlight to come back, to revisit the impact that had originally intruded on my consciousness. The wait was worth it. Behind me cars were whizzing by on the highway, drivers as intent as I'd been on reaching their destinations safely, or at least quickly. But I was entranced by the scene, the mystical nature of how water can transform the basic elements of life on the plains into a wonderful portrait of the season. I was thankful to the settlers who had the foresight to plant these trees and marveled at how well they performed their function. Wind brought the ice and snow to them and they received it effortlessly to provide me with a fairy tale image.
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