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  • I can't, won't stop.

    Since 2008 my personal goal has been to take/make photographs every day, and post at least one favorite to flickr. I'm not batting 1.000 but pretty darn close.

    Some days it's easy. Snow falls on a flower. My dog naps peacefully on the couch. I witness a glorious sunset of almost a new range of colors.

    Other days, like today. the sky greets with heavy thick moody clouds. The light is flat, everything looks dull.

    How can there be a decent photo out there worth sharing?

    Without trying, I never know.
  • I always try to get some photos early, just to have some in the can. It cracks open the pool of possibility.

    This day just seems devoid of interesting detail. But the dog needs walking. And so does my soul.

    Yet, that bit of twisted barbed wire I have walked past hundreds of time, looks interesting up close.

  • The end of the wire is wrapped around a middle aged juniper. You can see it's been wrapped there a long time.

    It's metaphorical. Or maybe fodder for a "De-Motivational Poster." I won't know until later when I review the day's worth of photos.
  • A tilted traffic sign, labeled "American Traffic Services" is almost falling off the side of the road. It's out of kilter, like many people feel. About to fall. Into a ditch.
  • I've eyeballed this old Ford pickup truck before, but need to take a few steps onto the property to get the photo. Are they peering out the window wondering what I am doing? Do they have a gun?

    But it's a classic shape, a faded color. I have an old Ford pickup too, not this old.

    Maybe you've heard the old line about what "Ford" stands for? "Found On Road Dead"? My mechanic, Bob, who just fixed mine, shared a new one, what it means backwards... "Drive Returns On Foot."
  • We cross Wingate Way and enter National Forest Land, along a trail that is not a trail, just worn from elk traffic and my own repeated walks.

    I see a pile of abandoned cut wood, several years or decades old, worn, weathered, likely piled when the Forest Service cleared a bit of the edge as a fire break.

    Again I have walked past this many times, but today, the texture on the wood looks more vivid. And I can almost make out a pair of eyes staring at me.
  • This unofficial trail (I have heard them called "social trails" meaning just worn from local traffic) is very muddy today for weeks with recent snow melt and rain storms this month. The trail is almost it's own creek.

    But I notice the contrast of the brown mud and an end of fresh pine branch that has fallen there. Okay, I admit I picked it up and moved it to a slightly more interesting location. There's not rules against composition out here.
  • Here right in the trail, almost back where it circles to the neighborhood, is someone else's recently constructed residence. I marvel at the perfect roundness of the entrance, and this interesting mesh of webs with small drops delicately decorating.
  • I have found it better not to think too much before taking the photos. If I find myself hesitating or overthinking, it feels like it kills the magic.

    A few months ago I was walking the neighborhood, and while waiting for the dog to finish his business, notice interesting colors in a tiny plant at ground level, nicely lit by the late afternoon light. I just snapped. That one, uploaded to flickr, got picked for "explore" and garnered about 6000 views and 40 comments.

    Two weeks later very close to the spot, I was focusing on some wood texture in the grass and spotted a $20 bill.

    See, you can benefit from this noticing activity.

    I went back several more times, but never found more cash.

    There are days when I think I could never find another interesting detail in places I have been so many times before. Yet, just my relaxing that self critical part of the brain, and just looking... something nearly always provides.

    The best part of my day is in the evenings, when I load the day's worth of photos into my computer. I first cull out the ones I don't like. Invariably I keep one third of the total taken.

    Then I go back and fine tune. I touch nearly every photo, maybe just a bit of cropping, or increasing contrast, a bit more sharpening of focus around a person's eyes. Or I do more with black and white or HDR filters. To say revisiting my day this way is "rewarding" is quite the understatement, and often the photo I pick for "The One" is not the one I thought at the time I took the photo.

    Even on a cloudy, dull day, there is a treasure of detail to be found in familiar places.

    All I have to do is look.
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