Misters pump out a refreshing blast of water vapor over the blazing 45 C paved outdoor walks of a shopping center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Story Behind the Scene:
On the first full day of our field photography work in Arizona, our host Ken Ross took Peter Carroll and me for lunch. We went to a place in the Scottsdale Quarter shopping area, and after eating we wandered around for a brief time trying several compositions with the architecture of the place. The buildings had some cool features and lines, and the interplay of light over the structures created some interest. But at a certain point I became fascinated by the chaotic, organic look of the clouds of water vapor being sprayed out over the sidewalk.
Why were these misters there? One wouldn’t think of a desert environment as the kind of place to “waste” water by spraying it over a pedestrian sidewalk. And indeed, from a water conservation viewpoint, this is something to think about. But it’s done because in the intense Arizona summer heat, having a fine mist lightly descend over you is very cooling and refreshing. Unless you’re pointing a camera lens directly into the spray, that is.
I worked up and down a couple of stretches of walk and eventually found an angle where the sunshine raked across the mist, highlighting the swirling spray between the darker, back-lit pattern of the building across the lane and the deep shadow of the overhang directly above me. I liked the way the chaos of the mist was overlaid on the regular lines and rectangular shapes of the wall. I kept the framing of the image a bit off-center so the background lines would form shallow angles and not appear too static with exact 90-degree corners. After taking a few exposures, I moved on.
During the exhibit editing work, weeks later, I found the results of this experiment were very appealing. I selected this scene for my set in the exhibit, and titled it “Cool Mist Is Cooling”.