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Entries in cliche (3)


Orange Sky


The sky out my driver's side window was washed in such a fierce orange glow that I wondered for a moment if I had missed the headline about a new forest fire.  I was racing against myself to get to the cabin where old friends awaited our arrival.  I fumbled blindly for my iPhone so I could try to freeze the sky's furious drama without having to slow down.

My big camera spends a lot of time in my camera bag these days, silently rebuking me - transmitting signals that only I receive about how I'm not worthy or that the view in front of me is too simple or too obvious.  My iPhone happily shoots whatever banal scene I point it at, without judgement.

Over me the ominus virga of mountain rainclouds started dropping intermittent sprinkles and the road unfurled past the reservoir in a slick black ribbon.  I slowed down a little, mindful of my tires worn down by endless repetitions of this drive.  With one eye on the iPhone screen scanning past my driver's-side window and one eye on the rain-slicked road ahead of me, it hit me.

Look to the right.

I gasped when I turned.

The foot of a thousand-watt rainbow, perfectly framed in the passenger window, thisclose.  I moved the iPhone to my right hand and snapped.  Thank god for the iPhone, which doesn't sniff at cliches or make me second guess anodyne beauty.  

Then a directive rose from deep in my gut: pull over.  

Pull.  Over.

I didn't want to, but the directive pointed out that if you are thisclose to the brightest rainbow you've ever seen in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and you have a big camera in the back and you can't make yourself stop because it's too pretty, you're probably an asshole.  Or if you have the next four days with nothing time-sensitive to do, but you're in too much of a rush to pull over?  Again, asshole.  Not, you know, politician-level asshole or Wall Street banker-level asshole, but still.  Just stop the car.  Appreciate what's in front of you.

I may be self-absorbed and stuck in my head.  I may think too much, about the wrong things.  I may try too hard and have too little to show for it.  I may be the queen of white girl problems.  

But I'd like to think I'm not an asshole.

I pulled over, got out the big camera, snapped on the wide angle lens and gave myself permission to stop thinking and for once, just shoot.


Rainbow  City

275.365 10.5mm f7.1 1/1250 ISO 200We've been having insane weather here over the past week, violent electrical storms and torrential rains.  (Not that I'm complaining because the tomatoes and basil in the garden look amazing.)  Yesterday when the sun was blasting and the rain was coming down in sheets I knew I had to go find a high spot to view the inevitable rainbow.

I sat there taking in this view thinking Double rainbow!?!  Oh my god!  What does it all mean?!?

Not really.  I know this is a totally cliche metaphor, and I try not to traffic in those, but it was a good reminder to me that even the challenges of the hard times can offer us a glimpse of something beyond the darkness.  Beauty, even.


Stalking the Moon

42.365 55mm f5.0 1/4 ISO 1600I had taken a perfectly nice picture of the beautiful bowl of pho I ordered for lunch yesterday (all while joking with my co-worker that I had to shoot it for my pho-tography project) that I had every intention of posting here.  And really, a cluster of bright green jalapeno slices topped with a squeeze of orange Sriracha sauce is extremely photogenic, as well having the virtue of cleaning out one's sinuses.

But then on my way home I noticed how the full moon was backlighting the Denver skyline and was kind of taken by how it looked.  I was in a bit of a mad dash to get home (as usual) and I thought night skyline, could I possibly make it special?  And anyway my tripod is at home.  But I remembered the encouragement I got from a reader here last week about how I shouldn't be afraid of cliches because they're cliches for a reason.  Usually because there's something beautiful about them.

So I found myself ducking into the college campus and trying to find a good vantage point.  I MacGuyvered a tripod with my iPhone and a cardboard box I've been meaning to bring in from the car for about a month.  And then I sat and waited.  And waited.  And waited like I was on some kind of safari for the moon to pop up over the building.  It was kind of nice to find a quiet little corner of downtown to have to myself for a few minutes and just to sit still and watch. 

As it turned out, I liked the picture better before the moon actually materialized.  But I'm glad I didn't know that earlier or I would certainly have run off to the next thing before enjoying the moment.