It was early afternoon outside Chosun National University. The sky was heavy but quiet with expectation. Those outside scurried on their way to where they needed to be. School having more or less ended for the term, his usually busy area was now passive, quiet. As such, the stillness within matched the mood provided by nature herself. Something had to give, but not just yet.
There have been few dry days the past week or two. Several good drenchings seem to have satiated this land’s thirst, at least for now. Such times may seem difficult for the photographer who wishes not to have their gear drenched. Yet, if so, being largely housebound during this time helps us to utilize those brief moments when the rain stops. While the sky recomposes itself, the camera can often find images which depart from the norm provided by clearer skies. Such was my experience the other day. I emerged from my hovel that a.m. to find streets surprisingly dry, yet still bearing their watery scars from the night before. Trash had been washed into organically shaped piles around drains. Puddles in potholes moved to their own rhythm to the cars passing nearby. Water still dripped in irregular cadence from the odd gingko leaf above. It was perfect, not just because of the relative scarcity of such sights, but also because it would not last.
Acting and producing images within a set amount of time is nothing new to wedding, sports, and session photographers. Yet, such limitations came as a welcome surprise for me this day. For, youthful summers spent in Florida had accustomed my bones to the knowledge that there is always more water on the way. With that embodied sense, I entered the city with full knowledge that ten minutes might well be what I had to work with. It turned out I had five. The rain started slow, yet like any tremor worth its muscle, quickly picked up steam. Before I new it, the morning was back to normal, and I conceded my efforts, yet not before finding the image above.
Stay dry, friends.
[Photo taken with a Nikon FE2 shooting Kodak Tri-x 400 pushed 1 stop.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)