After the theft last week I was definitely saddest about losing all my photographs from my laptop. The passport I cancelled, the bank account I transferred, the glasses I made do without (20/50 vision means everyone has great skin!). But the photographs…I know the normal response after a theft is not to think, “Oh no, now I don’t have the full-resolution version of that picture of the Lawn in Autumn!” But luckily, I remembered that my computer had started dying last fall, and I had backed up some files on a external hard drive (actually just an old hard drive from my sister’s laptop, wrapped in a tshirt to keep it safe since it doesn’t have a case). I plugged it in and…I had almost every picture up until last October. Happy ending!
So now I can show you some of the pictures that I’m glad I still have–some of the ones I was mourning when I thought I’d lost them. I also had a gift card on Shutterfly to use, so I printed my favorites out–this is essentially my version of showing people my grandkids, except mine are photos of trees and pieces of grass.
Paulownia or Princess tree on UVA grounds, taken on a photo ramble with a friend one snowy evening, only about a month after I got my dSLR. Completely unretouched. When I see this tree, even during the daytime, I always think of how wildly blue the sky was that night–I love how the twigs look like blood vessels.
Taken at Blandy Farm in Winchester. Somehow, a daisy seed found its way two stories up in a crevice of a brick wall, probably sown by an errant bird bowel movement or maybe the wind. Anyway, the flower rooted itself and bloomed jubilantly all through the summer, a speck of yellow against the grey brick. I racked my brains all summer to try to figure out the best shot to explain this flower’s “story” as it were (that sounds excessively pretentious but you know what I mean). Taken head-on showed how high up the plant was, but was frankly an ugly shot. My dream was to get up on the roof and shoot downwards, showing how far down the ground was, but acrobatics on top of a Civil War-era building were not in my stars. This view came out the best, and I love this photo not so much because I think it’s a gorgeous shot (I don’t, I should have waited for a better cloud background, and I’ve since lost the color version of the file), but because it reminds me of that plucky daisy growing thirty feet above the ground with nothing but brick and grout to nourish it.
Unforgettably unique view of the Rotunda, taken fourth year after an especially rainy two days. I stopped in my tracks for a good ten minutes, looking at the lit Rotunda reflecting in the night against low-lying clouds. Then I ran to my friend’s lawn room and begged to use her camera–in fact, since we took turns snapping shots, there’s a good chance this shot is actually hers. It was so dark that we had to expose the pictures for seconds (2.5 seconds exactly, now that I check the specs on the file). As a reference, pictures can often turn out blurry even taken at 1/60th of a second. For two-and-a-half seconds…count that out and try not to breathe, move, or even shake the camera with your heartbeat! You’ll notice that this shot, one of the least shaky, still has blurry branches in the foreground. To this day I still make a point to check the Lawn if it’s rained for awhile, but the water has never pooled up like this again. That year (2010) was when Charlottesville had the snowiest winter in recent memory, and the ground was frozen enough to collect a couple inches of water. One day, I’ll catch another reflection on the Lawn, and this time…I have a tripod.
Taken during a sandwich break on a hike in Scotland this past winter, where the view was pretty much a Bob Ross painting. To be economical we scrimped on food to pay for gas (it was much more expensive than we had originally budgeted for). We pretty much lived off the cheapest bread and cold cuts we could find, and copious amounts of black tea to keep us warm. Also potatoes, cheap and filling–there’s a reason they’re a staple. But I’m not complaining. This sandwich might not have been the richest fare, but with views like this, it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
I have a healthy obsession with ginkgo trees, and have plenty of photographs of them. This one is probably my favorite. It’s so exuberantly…ginkgo tree…with those chartreuse pinwheels of baby leaves bursting their buds against the blue and grey. It makes me miss Spring and reminds me of how happy I am every year when the ginkgos start unfurling their leaves. This might not make sense to you, if you don’t have a favorite tree. But seriously! Ginkgos are stately and have been around since the dinosaurs. And they smell like rancid butter in the fall (er, which is…a good thing?).
That photo of the Lawn in Autumn, the one I immediately was sad to have lost. Not much to say about this one. Not even sure that it’s really a “good photo” (I’m never sure if any of my photos are “good photos”, I’m really bad at analyzing the rule of thirds and composition etc). But I just really like it. Fall is my favorite season and Charlottesville is my favorite place to be during it. You guys should all visit. We can go on photo walks together (just please don’t steal my laptop).
And in case you think I only take pictures of trees, here are some moments immortalized that I’m so glad I didn’t lose. Graduating after four years with some cool friendships (and photos) to show for it. Bonding with med school classmates by making them jump off 40-foot cliffs (and then making them stand in the middle of the road so I could take a picture). Pretending to be athletic as part of my class’s flag football team, and winning!. And being an Oompa Loompa for Halloween, perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had being painted orange (literally my best costume ever, I have never felt more popular, also my hair was green for a week after).