Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Southwest Harbor, Gunmetal & Silk


PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY - Why am I back here? The story of the shot I missed two summers ago is hinted at through the series of TODAY'S that concludes with a photo taken from this same spot almost a year ago.

Well, I'm here to "debrief," and process whatever energies or ideas have been generated by the workshop I just took - to use it as a springboard and a guide to new photographs. In this case it includes the intimidating example in Neal Parent's photos - his determination to push the edges of his art, to grab at experiences almost beyond photography.

I'm here also for the ever-changing water and sky and the fishing villages and this magical bay that catches light like no other. I'm here because it has always felt right to immediately take the experience of a workshop into a setting very different from my usual shoots, and because last summer I only began to explore what is here; I'm here with keen anticipation and eager to begin. I'm also here because these annual jaunts set a marker for reexamining my photography and seeing what a year has wrought.

The bay has not yet produced that frothy whipped cream head that I saw & failed to capture on my first serendipitous visit. This year the bay did not quiet until after the sun was nearly set, so no masts gleam against the water, nor is the bay so pink as I've seen it. I should be disappointed - another summer without catching the shot I'm after. However, the slight agitation still simmering on the surface of the bay is all gunmetal and silk. Lights on the dock are coming on, and this is the last of the evening's light. What a palette of colors! I'm certain I would have passed it by a year ago. As I processed the image I tried a dozen different ways to make a more conventionally "pretty" image, to unmuddy it, but no matter what I did, some vital quality in the light as caught by the camera was lost. If you can blow this up to full screen size, turn down your lights and spend a moment looking at the colors... That's what brings me here.

ISO 400, f14, 1/60th, 102mm