A Story Without Photos

This past Sunday in Chicago was a strange weather day. In my part of the city, it was quite brisk compared to 24 hours earlier. It was also completely overcast. In fact, the puffy clouds that took over the sky displayed an array of colors from white to gradient shades of blue and gray. When I actually paid attention, I realized it was quite beautiful and made the city skyline look magnificent. You will not get to see photos of this beauty…because I didn’t take any. And, for that, I owe you my sincerest apology. My mistake!

You see, I am what some people would call a “sun worshiper”. Not in the literal sense, but I definitely thrive in the sun, like a plant, and LOVE being outside under its warm rays. And on that day, I had already written it off as a gloomy day to stay indoors and do household “chores”. And I’m guessing, on days like this, I’m not the only one.

The fact is, Winter is looming in the wings here in Chicago. We all know it’s coming. We can see the leaves changing and the sunrise and sunset coming closer and closer together. Some have already begun cleaning up their caves for hibernation.

That afternoon, I decided to partially correct my mistake. I decided that, even though it was chilly outside, it was still a warm day in comparison to what’s ahead. So I went for a walk. To strengthen my argument, I gave myself destinations by running errands (or, I should say, walking errands rather than driving or using public transportation) to make it feel like I was being productive in the process. I walked through an area I’ve explored at least two dozen times before, both with and without my camera, and on this day was without. About one mile away, I realized I should have brought it with me.

If you’ve spent any time taking photos, you have likely heard “Cloudy days are a photographer’s friend”. I often try to take advantage of those days. Many times, the sky is “blown out” from the sun brightening up the overcast sky, which is another reason I had written off the day. But on this particular cloudy day, the lighting EVERYWHERE was perfect! As I continued to walk, my eyes were overwhelmed by all that I saw. Things I had never seen before, strolling the very same streets, because either the sun or the shadows usually hide them. It was amazing! It was like someone had removed the filter and exposed the world. The entire rest of my walk, I did my best to make mental notes of places to return, realizing that on a sunny day, these same things may not look as fantastic.

So I will pay more attention to the next day when the clouds are as they were on that day. And I will not be so quick to write it off as a “household chore” day. I will promptly pick up my camera, put on my walking shoes and march out my door determined to not make this mistake again.

What photographic opportunity have you missed? How has it changed how you perceive and prepare for future situations?