Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Grainy And Dark

I shouldn't have done it but I did. I got a count down app for my phone. I can now tell you with confidence how many months hours and seconds it is from now till 6:00pm June 8th.  Yes I know I should live in the moment but there are times when daily living requires you to look up a  moment and stare at the future and think about how different it will be.  I am an odd fish because as much as I enjoy the prospect of change I am also quite full of nostalgia and to that end I wanted to be able to remind myself of early mornings with Rusty.
Cudjoe Key
On the mornings I have to be at work in Key West I'm up at the 4:25 and  if I'm not up an impatient snout in my face will bring me back to reality. Rusty likes his mail check walk even though he may spend just 15 minutes checking the neighboring streets, or sometimes 30. I trail along close by with flashlight and plastic bag to hand.
Cudjoe Key
Digital photography is amazing to a certified sceptic like me. It costs nothing and is endlessly entertaining while making it very hard to wreck your pelvis in the pursuit of a picture. That's a good thing. But at the same time it is endlessly fiddly with more settings than the human brain can easily handle. So I figured I might as well spend some time pushing those settings to their limits to see what happens. Coronavirus has shrunk the palette of things to photograph already and its not like a fresh season in the tropics brings fresh topics to photograph. Might as well test the camera with the same old views. By day these streets are a brilliantly lit stage, by night the darkness is impenetrable.
I was really quite surprised by the pictures which evoke for me the nostalgic views of those all important early morning short walks with Rusty. He pretended to ignore me as long as I was close by and obviously watching him. If I slowed down to focus the camera he walked ahead and sat down to wait for me as I fiddled with the apparatus. To be a dog requires patience if you are going to be around slow poke humans.
 It is our time to be out like vampires in the moonlight. 
Wandering these streets with a camera is  not going to yield much of interest, at least not to me. The Keys are a hundred miles long, normally less than a mile wide and no more than three feet above sea level all of which conspires to require homes be built on stilts. By the time you've done that there is much room left for individuality or innovation or eccentricity to be expressed. 
On my days off I like to drive Rusty in to Old Town to take advantage of the lanes and streets and old wooden houses but around here I have long since worn out out the photographic possibilities. Except for this little experiment with light sensitivity. And by now it is clear that this is an essay in the vein of a diary, a memory preserved.
I felt like I was getting away with something holding my tiny pocket camera in my hands when I looked at the pictures on the monitor on the back of the camera. To my astonishment I found what I hoped might be useable images. Rusty ignored me, head down, checking the mail left by dogs passing this way during boring bright lights of daytime.
Street lights are not very common on these back streets so pools of light don't do much to make the whole street visible.
Mostly I found bright moonlight more useful. One weird lone political sign. There is one Trump flag in the darkness of my own street but most people around here don't go for lawn signs. This guy went large, not holding back. It shore like a beacon in the darkness but I don't know who it was going to convince to change their minds.
I am still impressed by the clarity of the picture. Granted there was a street  light shining on the sign but even the blades of grass are discernible.  Modern technology saves me from tripping over my own feet.
Around the corner we marched, me testing the camera in the darker spaces, Rusty sensing the barn not too far away.
At this hour there is no traffic to be heard, though sometimes a single car might head south from the main road towards this area, most cars turn into Venture Out the trailer park before arriving at this end of Spanish Main. We are alone.

At 4:30 in the morning human nonsense seems remote and watching the clouds fly across the face of the moon is entertaining, much more so than people who are all asleep and out of my life temporarily. My 911 starts at 6.
By 5 o'clock at the latest we have to be home and our short time together is over. Rusty chews his bone while I get ready for work. More car accidents, lost wallets, angry break ups and some minor theft to fill one more day at my desk when I should be spending it with Rusty.
I try to avoid checking the countdown clock, it is enough that it is there in my pocket for emergencies.


Anonymous said...

Key West is a target rich environment for Street Photography.

Unfortunately I think it goes against your nature.

You could photograph Key West from Rusty's point of view !

Conchscooter said...

It depends what you mean by street. Honestly most people on the street in the traditional sense are no longer hugely interesting tramping along in their uniform shirts and shorts. Characters are in short supply. I may be wrong but Bruce Gilden is not my style you are right there.