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Coyotes, and various photographic musings


This picture was taken November last year and serves two purposes here. 1. It is about 30 meters from where I just a couple of hours ago saw a coyote and 2. it was originally a colour photograph. Entirely unconnected topics but that’s how it goes some days.

Earlier today I was walking my dog in the valley and a cyclist rode by and without stopping told me he had seen a coyote about a kilometre back. I was slightly concerned about a possible meeting between my dog and the coyote but only slightly. Then a few hours later I am driving home and across the road runs this large doglike creature and as I passed where it had crossed I looked over and saw it still in an open grassy area. It was just a little way away but I could tell it was quite large.

The thing that really got me though was how it threw my dog into an utterly domestic category. My dog is a husky, one of the breeds thought to be a little closer to the wild, and in some parts of the world kept near feral. But this was the canine reality check. This coyote could not have been mistaken for a large dog; it screamed out wilderness and even a bit danger. I have always felt comfortable around any breed on the loose but this was different.

Alright that’s the coyote bit. Now about the black and white business. Another picture now, this one just a few days old (also originally in colour).

What is it that caused me to convert these pictures?

Neither of them are great pictures to me, though I do like them. They certainly could have had better resolution but that is not the issue. Obviously, you cannot just convert every one of your pictures just to see how it might look; there has to be some sort of metric at work. I know that part of it comes from the colour in both these pictures being rather lackluster, the scenes low in light and somehow something pleasing in the shapes coming through.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we decide what to photograph in the sense of how we determine what might work. I am of course assuming some sort of walking and editing, that is not just shooting everything but claiming a vision here and there.

This will be expounded on more later but there are multiple photographic templates, something like cognitive filters, that pull out of the landscape possible photographs. I know that sometimes I know what I will be getting, and sometimes it is only when I look through the viewfinder do I see something worthwhile. I do know that in many ways this is terribly removed since there are so many moments of natural beauty that could never be conveyed in a photograph but the interesting moments are those where it doesn’t look like much but you just know that in a frame, there it will be.

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