Ephemeral, yet the impression is lasting and grows in strength as time passes; this is how I recall moments of Grace. The experience of having recognized an extraordinary moment, and then created an image that communicates the essence of what I saw, fills me with the inspiration to continue to seek those moments. Grace is subtle, fleeting. We must cultivate awareness in order to be ready when it appears.
In the fall of 2008, while teaching with my buddy Rick Holt in the Poconos of Eastern Pennsylvania, I created my favorite photograph from that year. We started at 5 that morning in order to catch the mist and fog if we had a bit of photographer’s luck. It was still quite dark upon reaching our destination but I knew there were photographs to be made in the coming pre-dawn. Walking slowly along the lake shore I could see some outlines of slender birches and then I could make out some gleaming yellow leaves. I walked a bit further, but within 10 minutes I had come back to that spot. I could feel a photograph calling. When I returned I noticed there was just enough light to refine the composition and illuminate the mist that was lying densely in the woods behind. Stillness fell upon the scene, the leaves held their breath, and I made a number of exposures, experimenting with and refining the framing. The whole episode might have lasted 5 minutes, but the strength of purpose, confidence, and gratitude that I experience from that time has sustained me through the last year.
I’m anxious to write more about visual literacy and how we, as photographers, can expand our abilities by caring for the vast store of imagery that has been given to us by the Masters of painting, drawing, sculpting, and photography. Perhaps you’ll tell me about your favorites?