•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Horizons II


That was a heady time a year ago in Southwest Harbor shooting, as I thought through the lessons of that first summer workshop. There was much that drew me back to Southwest Harbor now, but especially on my mind was the shot I missed. Of course, there's nothing worse than looking for some shot. One winds up seeing nothing. One must stop thinking, watch, and take what is given. Midday on my one full day in Southwest Harbor and I had been given listless gray skies, but I had been given hope of some late day clearing. I decided to find a high prospect from which to shoot the harbor while nothing else was possible. The clerk at the wine and cheese shop had proven himself a connoisseur of good stout, so I took his advice on a trail just north of town, and a good cheese for dinner later. I also took another bottle of the tasty stout.

The trail rose steeply and was much rockier than I expected. As I neared the top, it began mounting over boulders. Threatening clouds began brushing me with rain, and I worried about the nasty trip down and how much more slippery things might be if the full storm came my way. If I tripped and fell would anybody pass for the rest of the day? I thought about retreating, but the clouds that threatened rain also beckoned with the promise of images. At least for me, shooting into fog and mist is very uncertain. Sometimes when I think it is too thick for shooting, it turns out perfect, but I've also been surprised at how uninteresting, pale fog can surprise me with passionate images. At other times, the best looking fog has totally failed. Perhaps I need more fog experience. A similar process of reasoning persuaded me ignore my sense of vulnerability and continue across the top of the rocks toward some interesting, low clouds just passing in front of me.

I haven't made up my mind on the series of shots I made up there above Southwest Harbor, so I'd appreciate some honest feelings about this one. It was one of the very last before I turned and headed back down. Just as I did, a dog appeared and licked my hand. Then I heard someone call and two parties of hikers with kids and backpacks and good wishes appeared. We stopped, exchanged talk about our homes and our travels and compared weather news. As stragglers caught up and the crowd grew, I turned and headed off for my next photo destination. The sky had grown a bit lighter.