The Photographer as Witness

Thunderhead on Lake Pontchartrain, August 10, 2009. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Thunderhead on Lake Pontchartrain, August 10, 2009. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Yesterday while driving home across Lake Pontchartrain I had another one of those amazing moments. Off to the northwest as the sun was setting, rays of light illuminated massive, gigantic thunderheads that were building up, magnificent billowing clouds of vapor. They looked absolutely Biblical in their majesty and proportions. Of course I had to stop.

I pulled into a crossover on the 24-mile bridge I drive each day and got out a camera.

The air was still hot and steamy, another August day in south Louisiana. I shot for about 10 minutes, watching the clouds as the light changed on them, surprising in how quickly blue clouds turned yellow in places. It was one of those times I felt myself almost giddy with excitement, glad once again to be a photographer.

Maybe one of our jobs as photographic artists is to function as some sort of witness to the grandeur all around us (or the misery, poverty, etc., depending upon what inspires you to shoot). Witnesses tuned in to the visual, I suppose. But witnesses, nonetheless: for everyone else too hurried or bothered or preoccupied or simply uninterested in the moment to truly see what’s right there in front of them.

Another version. I haven't decided whether the addition of the bridge in the foreground adds or subtracts from the composition. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Another version. I haven't decided whether the addition of the bridge in the foreground adds or subtracts from the composition. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

selfport1aHi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Gallery, Inspire

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

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