Unbeaten by the weather

The Baltimore Sun

It was to be the first baseball game that I had photographed in several years, and I was looking forward to shooting the Kansas City Royals game until wind-driven rain swept in to dampen my spirits and much of the East Coast earlier this month.

The game was rained out, so my baseball mission was suddenly replaced with a need to get what we call "weather art" - an all-inclusive term, covering the sunniest to the dreariest of days.

The images can be most interesting in bad weather. But wind-blown rain has a way of getting onto the lenses and into the electronics of our cameras, and darker skies give us less latitude for exposure. When you add cold to the mix, think miserable.

I went by Camden Yards to see if there were any pictures to be had ... the lonely stadium or some such. The doors were locked, so beneath my umbrella I walked around toward Eutaw Street looking for a baseball-related image. Nothing caught my eye and the wind was grabbing at the umbrella, the lenses were getting wet and my mood was deteriorating.

The downpour let up, but alongside a souvenir stand it was splashing into the flower-box area. I stopped and thought about how the rain was bending me over but wasn't doing a thing to the sturdy tulips planted in the box. I had discovered a potential piece of weather art. But capturing it on this wet and windy day would be a challenge. For the proper angle I had to kneel in a puddle. I would need a fast shutter speed, but the sky was fairly dark so I wouldn't have any depth of field, which, translated, means not a lot would be in focus. The taking of a picture isn't a methodical step-one, step-two process: All of the technical things are going on at the same time concerns over composition and subject matter are rattling around beneath the surface; add rain to the mix and you have the recipe for failure.

I kept making adjustments to the camera, hoping to capture the strength of the plants in the face of the rain's onslaught. The successful photograph should evoke an understanding, a response, without much explanation - the growing promise of spring standing against the challenge of a wintry onslaught.

I'll have to work on my baseball timing on another Day. A dry one, I hope.

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