The story of an unpredictable photograph

It’s Sunday, mid-November. The Corona pandemic is still holding us at bay and the 2nd lockdown is again severely restricting life. So I don’t have much choice but to spend my time in the home office working on various projects. In the last few days, the weather hasn’t necessarily shown its best side anyway, which made it easier to spend so much time at home. Today, however, the sun is shining like there’s no tomorrow and an inner voice tells me that this will probably be even the last halfway warm day before winter finally sets in. So I firmly resolved to take advantage of the beautiful light and maybe take a few autumn photos before the last leaves have fallen and the trees have finally become bare. Absorbed in work, however, the day passed me by without giving my plan another thought. It was a casual sound, nothing special really, that made me look out the window. When I now saw the light of the slowly setting sun, my plan suddenly popped back into my mind. Damn, this should be close!

I shut the laptop, put on my jacket and shoes, grabbed my keys and headed out. It wasn’t long before I suddenly realized that I hadn’t even taken my camera with me. The sun was very close to the horizon by now and I could already see myself trudging through the forest in the dark, but still I turned the car around and drove back home, annoyed. My destination was a piece of forest in Herdecke, in which I have not been for a long time. Of course, this meant that I was now heading for the wrong parking lot and the walk was a much longer one. Meanwhile, the sun merged with the horizon and I suspected that twilight would also soon set in. To make the best of this situation, I just walked on it and improvised my route. In the meantime the hope for a halfway interesting photo had disappeared anyway long ago.

While I was finally trudging through the undergrowth, I saw an old half-timbered house through the trees on the opposite side of the small valley I was in. It was hidden in the middle of the forest, surrounded by conifers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good angle for a photo, so I continued on my way, which after a short time led me onto a hiking trail. I had long forgotten about the house as I followed the trail downhill, waiting to discover something interesting. After a while, out of a sudden intention, I decided to turn left into the forest and run cross-country up the steep forest. Feeling 15 minutes and some slippery passages later, I came to a narrow path that meandered crosswise along the hill. It may have been due to exhaustion and lack of oxygen after the steep climb, but in any case the sight of the narrow path amazed me.

The remaining daylight still hit the treetops up here, while it breathed a unique mystical atmosphere into the forest and made the foliage of the trees appear in melancholic colors. I headed for a small clearing that caught my eye from a distance and there it was again! On the opposite side stood in the middle of the forest the old half-timbered house. From up here, I could see for the first time that there was even a second house below. The view through the viewfinder of my camera told me that this could be an interesting motif.

Immediately my curiosity was aroused. It did not take long until the remaining daylight finally disappeared and the darkness began to take hold. In the time that remained to me at the end, however, the light could not have been better. I realized this in post-production when I came across this particular photo. What was initially meant to be a photo walk ended up being a desperate scurry around in the woods, just to have at least tried. Given the circumstances, I guess I can consider myself lucky to have come home with such a result in the end. The picture has something of an oil painting, don’t you think?!

(click for larger image)

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