East Sandwich Preparative Meetinghouse
I am recently retired, and reveling in it. As I drove toward Cape Cod for the first of my two trips (with two meetinghouses each week, in two subsequent weeks), I was realizing that it was as if I was driving to work. My lunch was packed for two days, my gear was packed, and I was prepared for two full days on site at East Sandwich and Yarmouth Meetings this first week. However, the feeling of "working" is different now. I looked forward to these days at my "office" with anticipation and excitement. It is my chosen work, my avocation, and I am thrilled to be doing it.
For those interested in gear, this is what I have loaded in my car: 2 cameras, (Nikon D7000 and D7100), tripod, remote, gray card, polarizers. I primarily use my 16-85 mm lens and the 10-22 mm lens, but on several occasions I have used the 105 mm, and the 70-200 mm lens. I also have a piece of black velvet, a step stool, an opaque screen, my journal for notes, and various batteries, photo cards and rechargers. I carry the Silas B. Weeks book called New England Quaker Meetinghouses and notes about who is letting me in and when. I use my iPhone for a GPS to find the meetinghouses.
Once I am at the meetinghouse, I walk all around it on the outside. When my contact person arrives, I chat a little and am let in. Then I look over the interior of the building or buildings. Sometime there is only one floor, one building, one room. Sometimes multiple floors plus an attic. Sometimes there are carriage sheds, community buildings, cemeteries. I look over all of them. After I have the lay of the land, I meditate for about 10 minutes. This helps me to be totally present, to have the rest of my life and the rest of the world drop away. It becomes just me and the visual feast in front of me. Meditation helps me to open my third eye. It helps me to be totally present, to "see" in a different way.
I photograph until finished. In East Sandwich, I arrived at 8:45 AM, began photographing about 9:30 AM, and left about 5:30 PM. There was an attic, two floors, a beautiful staircase, a foyer, and the outside of the building with outhouses, cemetery, and carriage sheds. There was also a newer community building. All of it is beautiful. The Meetinghouse and grounds are old, but in beautifully maintained condition. Lots to photograph here. I was in hog heaven.
I am usually exhausted after such a day. During the photographing, my mind is working on all cylinders, being present but also focusing on technique. My third eye is working, but I am also thinking of the best way to get the shot, and how to best do it technically. I only have one visit to get the shots, so I try not to miss anything.
Once home, I load the pictures onto my computer and take a quick look. As I begin to edit, I am in despair, thinking that I missed that shot, or I didn't get the other shot, or I did not get any good ones. After a day or two, when the actual experience begins to fade, I can look at the pictures again with a more objective eye. I make my initial stab at editing, knowing that once I review them with my mentor, there will be more work to do on them. Only a few of them will remain as true "keepers". This is the part of the process that I am learning, and I still require Alison's skillful direction and experienced eye. I am learning how to translate what my mind's eye is seeing to what is on paper, ready for others to see.
The photograph below is me, standing on a ledge, trying to get a shot of the staircase at Sandwich Meeting.
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