I was apprehensive at first; the forecast called for rain and lots of it. The location in mind was Sauvie Island1; a favorite of photographers offering an accessible forest setting close to downtown Portland. It didn’t tale long to find our first location – a desolate muddy road flanked by two dead corn fields.
As it was duck season we were never far from the sound of gunfire. Hunters were our constant companion. As the cracking of rifle blasts drew ever closer we decided to move to another location. A 10 minute drive later and we were at the beach shooting along the Columbia River. A clear benefit of shooting in the rain was that, save for a couple walking their dog, the beach was ours.
After the beach we drove inland a short distance to another spot I was familiar with. Unfortunately it was being used by a large group of duck hunters who were clamouring into a small boat outfitted with camouflage to make it look like some sort of giant floating bush – we were all looking for that perfect spot to shoot. We drove further towards the boat ramp and near the end was a large cargo container, it’s content and ownership unknown, but behind it was a small clearing between two large trees. This was to be our third location.
Locations can be funny things. Some of the photos will actually depict where we are but others could’ve been taken anywhere; someones’ backyard, a school field, a park, or along a road. What I’ve found out is that a good location inspires the shoot and acts as a catalyst for the idea. Likewise a bad location has the potential to destroy it.
A lot of times it just takes driving around to find that perfect location. On the way back from the boat ramp our next location materialized itself on the side of a dirt road; a wooden telephone pole surrounded by bushes with trees in the background. We exited the car and quickly got into position.
Not unlike kids who play in the street, when we saw the truck coming down the road we stopped what we were doing and got out of the way to let them pass unimpeded. I still wonder about the conversation that must’ve occurred between father and son or maybe they just drove past in stunned silence.
Our last location was along a muddy trail. By this time the rain had somewhat abated and a low winter sun would peak out through the trees bathing us in a light reminiscent of early summer evenings.
In the end I told myself I will always shoot in the rain.
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