Sky Puddles: “What does it mean to photograph with passion?”
Once upon a May morning, I was photo walking along the Coast Fork of the Willamette where it flows around to create the boundary of Mt. Pisgah Arboretum here in Eugene, Oregon. I was surrounded by the lush fairyland of waist high blue larkspur and camas folded into the rich green grass starred with buttercups and wild Nootka roses.
I was clicking away taking standard shots I’d taken every spring for decades.
I felt a little depressed by what seemed to be impossible—to see all this with new eyes.
I sat down on a bench by the river and asked myself,
“What does it mean to photograph with passion?”
I didn’t exactly know the answer, but I let the question seep into me. Then I got up and started to really look through the viewfinder for something that satisfied some richness I’d been longing for.
I put my camera in the “pop art” setting that I’d heard others scorn. That bumped the colors of the flowers up into the stratosphere. Then I stopped down the exposure until backgrounds blurred to interlocked circles of green or blurred to paintbrush swatches of barn door red and sky blue.
When I could, I positioned flowers against dark shadows, so they would glow with jewel tone intensity on the velvety black backdrop.
At the pond, the lily flowers were radiant little suns about to open against maroon lily pads floating on dark water.
Suddenly, within an hour of asking the question, I had a method, an approach I could take to deepen my vision of a passionate world.
It was Laura Valenti, my photography instructor for “Light Atlas,” who told me, “Sandy, face it: at heart you’re a landscape photographer.”
So how to bring something new, that “what else” factor to the everyday landscapes of my little snow globe of a world?
I was out yesterday with that question, and as is my habit, I made a little nature video like a journal entry for the day—these grew out of the Gratitude Walks in another of Laura’s classes. This one is “Secret Places, Country Lanes.”
For today, I select this image as the one that seems most to suggest worlds within worlds.