Sunset and Spruce, Newfoundland

From 2001 to 2012, we took annual trips to mark the palindromic dates that highlighted the first dozen years of the new century. You know the sort of thing:

01/01/01 – Jan 1, 2001, or 2001 Jan 1, or 1 Jan 2001

09/09/09 – Sep 9, 2009, or 2009 Sep 9, or 9 Sep 2009

We figured we’d better do it this time around: 2101 through 2112 might be beyond us. And so 2001 saw us in Astoria OR in January, collecting sand dollars (Begin as you mean to continue) and 2009 saw us in Newfoundland in September, collecting fascinating little communities.

I was making an effort to get evocative photographs and sometimes it even worked. One night, I wandered out behind our motel to see this sunset.

Purple and peach sunset above a black border of black spruce.

Black spruce at day’s end.

Nice, eh?

But here’s the thing. That’s what I saw, but it wasn’t what was there. Well, not all of it. Take a look at the original photo.

Power line and purple and peach sunset above a black silhouette of black spruce.

Black spruce and power line at day’s end.

When I saw this photo on my computer screen, I was truly, magnificently stunned.

It wasn’t that I had taken the shot, intending to crop it later to remove the power line.

It wasn’t that I had taken the shot, intending to start a photo website called “A Power Line Runs Through It.”

It was that I had gazed at the sunset, taken the shot, and never even seen the power line.

As a faithful reader (and much better photographer) recently said to me, “It’s amazing what the camera sees that the eye doesn’t.”

I now try to pay a little more attention. I also bless the cropping software that allows me to recover when I didn’t pay enough attention, or when I had no other place to stand.


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4 Responses to Sunset and Spruce, Newfoundland

  1. Alison Uhrbach says:

    I’ve been the victim of many similar photos. The ones I find most frustrating (because they are easily avoidable) and are the infamous photos of people with trees sprouting from their heads!

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Alison – Yes, it’s very easy to get focused, as it were, on the thing you’re taking a picture of, and forget about what’s behind it.

  2. Power lines are so ubiquitous and “noisy” that we have learned to block them out. On the long and narrow Balboa Peninsula near Newport Beach, the poles were removed and all the lines have all been put underground. What a difference it has made: the place now exudes calm & causes a quietening of the nerves. I couldn’t figure out why it all reminded me of a small Italian town or the Riviera of the 1930s… it had to be pointed out. It is bliss. The city is continuing the change up the coast.
    Rather stupid, tho, when the sea rises or there are floods…but, hey, it looks lovely. And everybody has cell phones anyway.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – When the City dug up our downtown street about 10 years ago, replaced all the watermains, and repaved, we asked why they didn’t put the lines underground at the same time. So ugly. They said it would cost a fortune, even though they already had everything dug up. I guess we need to figure out how to beam electrical power into our houses, too – not just WiFi beams.

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