At Risk of Ruining The Magic … The TRUE Story Behind the Header Photo
By Jeffrey Bishop
I am especially enamored of the picture used as the header of this site. To me, it suggests a sun setting on another world — a world of mystery and magic, shrouded in mist. The tent village looks at peace … except for that one tent which the viewer may or may not have yet noticed has been knocked awry. The color and mood of the image fits well with that of the site.
In this post, I want to share with readers the unaltered version of the original photo, along with background information about it: I took the picture October 2011 at the Boy Scouts Lewis and Clark Council Aviation Camporee at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL. It was the last day of the event, and this scene is what greeted me as I emerged from my tent. The mist and sunrise obscured — no, removed — the modern, industrial setting that surrounded us when we’d bedded down the night before (we camped on an airfield bracketed to the West by heavily used train tracks and to the East by Interstate 255).
The impression that the beauty of the day was immediate, and was strong. Bleary-eyed, I nonetheless was able to find my camera in time to capture the image with more permanence and for sharing than my memory alone could allow.
It was only after I’d captured the still image that I noticed the tipped tent; no, it wasn’t a mystical happening in our midst (mist?), nor was it a Scout practical joke; it was merely an early rising camper trying to dry the bottom of his tent before packing out. I was at first annoyed that this “ruined” the shot, but again, I think it’s subtle, and when viewed with no prior knowledge of the context and as part of a website that features spooky campfire stories, it is absolutely fitting.
So for photophiles among the readership, camera information follows: taken at daybreak Oct. 9, 2011, on a five-year-old Kodak point-and-shoot 3.something-megapixel digital camera, on auto-everything. I did use a tad bit of technique beyond point-and-shoot on my point-and-shoot; I autofocused on the sky to ensure the ground was underexposed for that mystical look. As for that date stamp, I blame the photographer (me) for not correctly setting this when he (I) changed the camera batteries.
For use here, I rotated the image 1 degree to the left and cropped it. That’s it. As for the black bar that makes it a diptych? Courtesy the WordPress theme (ChaoticSoul). Don’t necessarily like it the bar, don’t necessarily dislike it.
I hope you enjoy both images — the original and the site header — along with its TRUE back story!