Where do you find inspiration?

on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Here in Dairyland in January, it’s cold, the days are too short, the snow is an inconvenience (although sometimes beautiful, but it overstays its welcome), and the pandemic continues to harsh one’s buzz. So, how do you stay inspired? Do you read the latest railroad book? Do you work on your model railroad? Do you organize your photo collection? Do you share photos online? Do you bundle up and head out for a few hours trackside?


For me, it’s still worth it, even if I don’t see a train, to get trackside. I enjoy the solace, the stillness, the cold breeze with its razor edge, and my undying hope that I’ll hear a far-off whistle. I’m lucky to live within walking distance of the Canadian Pacific main line. I get in a nice stroll before settling down on a wood stump, bracing an overpass, above the tracks. What a view! Train or no train, it feels good to wait, to think, to size up the photo I’d like to take.


All seasons and all weather frame a photo in such awe-inspiring ways. Since I’ve been working from home, closing in on a year now, I’ve been able to examine this CP main in nearly all types of weather. Isn’t it cool to take in one spot several times to see what you get? Some people might find it boring, I suppose. Perhaps, they have a need to jump in the car and drive hours to find a really good spot. That’s cool, too. But, I enjoy my special trackside spot. I enjoy the whooshing of cars that pass by, the birds flying about, the “shhhhhh” of the wind through the trees and grasses. Whether there’s a delicate butterfly flitting about or an elegant snowflake finding its perfect resting place, I’m meant to be there, waiting for a train. I’m often reminded of Claude Monet’s “Haystacks” series. How different the haystacks look in different light and in different seasons. Is one more beautiful than the next? Or, are they all beautiful in their differing hues, shadows, and angles? I enjoy taking photos in this same spot, examining what the light and weather do to the final result.


What inspires your photography? Is it another photographer or artist? Is it your mood? Is it the subject matter? Is it your special go-to place?


Incidentally, the photo contest theme for 2021 is “Gray Area.” Embrace the theme with your interpretation and enter your images. Details about our contest, sponsored by Sigma Lenses:


In the meantime, I’m going to rest my rump on a stump near the tracks and wait. In the cold, in the sun, with the breeze. Whatever it takes.

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