Chasing light: Going mobile

This red-tailed hawk feather has been adorning the windshield of my car for the past six months. When I sat down in the car after a recent morning walk, the sun happened to be directly behind the feather, with the tint at the top of the windshield casting a blue glow.

I’ve been snapping photos since my dad gave me a Pentax Spotmatic SLR when I was about 10 years old. Within a few hours, I was standing next to a busy city street experimenting with time exposures to try and recreate the streaking car headlights I had admired in so many other photographs.

The technology of photography has changed radically since the late 60s, and despite my early immersion in film processing and print-making, I’ve fully embraced the mobile, digital era. No more waiting a few hours or days to get prints back from the photo shop! Now I have a darkroom in my pocket. Within a few seconds of snapping a shot, it can be processed through filters, sharpeners and other programs to help interpret the image, and it can be published and shared globally with the push of a single button.

But even though the technology has changed, photography is still about finding the right light, when, even with an iPhone camera, you see water droplets in sharp relief on the petals of a wildflower, or imagine the miracle of feathers, which enable some animals to escape the bounds of gravity.

The connectivity of modern photography also has a functional side. Documenting weather events, like a big hailstorm on Mt. Evans, is easy. And if, after an October snowstorm, somebody says, “It NEVER snows this early,” I can scroll through the gallery on my phone and show them pictorial proof that it snows EVERY October in Summit County!

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