Solo Snaps: A Slice of Sky

Welcome to a new series I’m calling “Solo Snaps”, exploring some of my favorite photos, their stories, and the musings on being solo that sometimes come with them. Click here if you’d like to know more. If you’d like to buy customizable notecards featuring this image, click here.

There are some – a very few – photos that I know are going to be amazing the moment I press the shutter button. This was one of them:

Here’s the story:

My travel friend and I were on a short visit to Canada in April 2018. Winter still had a firm grip on the landscape. We were on our way to the Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, Canada, and found ourselves on a very back-ish of back roads. As we came into this marshy valley, the light seemed unreal. Metallic silver and gold that made the entire world shimmer. I almost leapt from the car.

We spent most of the stop shooting on the other side of the road, at a little dock that jutted into a swampy pond/very large puddle. The silvery light turned out to be terrible for taking photos. My friend took a few shots and then climbed back into the warmth of the car, leaving me alone in the cold. The wind was bitter, the kind that numbs ungloved photographing fingers.

I’m not sure why I decided to cross the street and check out the other view, but once I spotted that little strip of water, my heart gave a skip. I looked up: blue sky. The sun was behind me…perfect. Could it be that the sky was reflected in that strip of water? Maybe? Please?

It was, and I laughed out loud as I lined up the shot and snapped. I knew I’d gotten something wonderful. Here it is again.

I climbed back in the car with a warm glow in my chest. Later that night, after an exhausting day, this was the only photo I pulled from my camera. When I shared it on my social media, we discovered it had another gift to give. My travel friend had a friend who grew up in this part of Canada, and her grandparent’s house is visible in this photo. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

I’m an amateur, and I can always do better, but there isn’t much I’d change about this snap. I did a little post-processing: a minor crop, and applying one of my favorite Lightroom filters to increase the saturation, and the result is what you see here.

I love that this would be a totally nothing photo without that little strip of water. Why did I see that when my friend didn’t? He asked me why I was so excited when I got back in the car, and I pointed to the strip of water. I’m pretty sure he looked skeptically at me as we drove off. I guess that’s the beauty of photography; sometimes it just takes one person, alone and shivering in a Canadian marsh, to see something special.

NOTE: This photo was taken with my Canon EOS Rebel T5. I used my 24mm prime lens. Settings were ISO 100, f/9, 1/400.

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