Not far afield


Now that it gets dark so early, Buster and I usually walk in the field behind the Howard Elementary and Kelly Middle schools instead of down at the river. Before they built the new sports facilities (not to mention the slick new buildings), we used to run around the schoolyard unimpeded by children, soccer balls, and other dog-walk-interrupting nuisances (the nerve!). While walking and grumbling I shot a few pictures, telling myself I was learning about exposure and white balance, but it turns out I’m getting really interested in the new schoolyard.

It isn’t just the uncluttered stretch of ground–rare in this suburb–open to the western sky and its amazing Oregon sunsets. Another part of it is the contrast between the battered, drafty school buildings that remain and the genuinely cool (and eco-friendly) new campus. And it’s been fun watching the Pop Warner kids throw the pigskin around in a real football field.

For someone who takes pictures to say they’re “interested in light” is about as insightful as anyone who’s alive saying they’re “interested in breathing,” but it may be that the biggest lessons I’m learning in the schoolyard have to do with light, and what qualities and circumstances make certain conditions more intriguing, more mysterious, maybe even more beautiful.

Gallery: Howard Elementary and Kelly Middle School Athletic Fields

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