The Free Lance-Star Photography Department shares the stories behind the photos.

RSS feed of this blog

Just a little patience ….

Photography is often an exercise in patience. Whether it’s waiting for a telling expression to reach a subject’s face, catching a peak moment at a sports event or having Mother Nature dress up a drab scene, it all boils down to patience, patience, patience and a little luck.

Such was the case on Wednesday when I was assigned to shoot a scenic picture of the Rappahannock River in Caroline County. Frank Delano wrote a story about Northern Neck native Richard Moncure, Jr. who was named Tidal Rappahannock River Steward by the Friends of the Rappahannock. We had what was essentially a mug shot of Moncure, but we needed something that could run as a section front centerpiece photo.

So I headed down U.S. 17 to make a pictorial photo in the noon hour, the time of day that photographers regard as having the worst light. There was no option to wait for the “golden hour” because that would mean leaving my 11-year-old twin sons home alone. No way that was gonna happen.

After a lackluster stop at Portobago Bay near Port Royal, I headed to the town of Port Royal. The kind folks at the waterfront restaurant Buster’s Place gave me permission to wander around their property at the end of the 301 bridge. What I found was a drab, gray scene. The dormant long grasses that served as my foreground looked very dormant under cloudy skies.  The bridge and waters of the Rappahannock were equally drab.  I had my composition down; I just needed a little help from the skies above.

Time to conjure up some patience. I noticed a break in the clouds that were moving in from the west. The sun would probably poke through and hopefully make the scene pop at some point. After a relatively short 20-minute wait, the dormant grasses took on a glow, the clouds took on a little color and the Rappahannock picked up some nice reflections. The break lasted roughly 15 minutes before a bigger, heavier bank of clouds brought back the drab.

The bridge photo was by no means an award winning, “Hey, I can’t wait to show my friends!” kind of picture. It didn’t even make the final cut. It was merely a demonstration of what can unfold if one exercises some patience.

Shoot a drab photo and head back to the office? Or wait a bit and see what happens? No brainer. Who wants to go back to the office? See how my fortitude paid off and read Frank Delano’s story on the new river steward in the Friday, Jan. 20 edition of The Free Lance-Star.

~ Peter Cihelka, staff photographer