A funny thing happened the other day on my way to taking winter snow images in Garden of the Gods park here in Colorado Springs. Just as I settled into position for a great scenic shot of Pikes Peak between two rock formations, a commercial jet arced over the mountain, dead center, leaving a bright contrail in its wake.
Timing really is everything in a case like this. Had I gotten my butt on the road even a few minutes earlier, the morning light would have been even better, and there would have been no ugly airline graffiti. I am sure the navigator aboard the aircraft would argue the plane was not at all “misplaced,” but I would beg to differ, from my vantage point on terra firma.
I pride myself on not retouching any of my images with digital software like Photoshop or GIMP, and I am still debating on whether to bother in this case. People viewing a manipulated image would never know the contrail was there, but no matter what I do to obscure or erase the “defect,” I would still know. I literally “can’t un-see that!” It will always be an indelible vapor trail in the landscape of my mind.
That is what really bothers me, I think. Any time afield, no matter what the results, is time well spent, but a true wilderness experience is getting harder and harder to come by. It is nearly impossible to avoid litter of some kind, and then there are those planes. I have to wonder how many flights I have been on that spoiled someone else’s photographic souvenirs 30,000 feet below me.
Yesterday I walked the dog around our complex of townhouses, just after another snowfall. Ours were the first footprints, even on the sidewalk. I have to admit it was both exciting to be a momentary pioneer, and disappointing to spoil the pristine cover of white.