•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meadow Gold, Macricostas Preserve, 9/9/06


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  I spent much of the summer of 2006 standing in Macricostas Meadow shooting images into the sun. It was a summer of meadow textures in preparation for a fall show. Even before attending Freeman Patterson's workshop in Shamper's Bluff, New Brunswick, I had pointed my lens toward the sun, but I did so guiltily and went back into the woods. The images I made were more swiped than composed. As expected, the images were filled with lens flare, but the little, hand-held Nikon 4300 I was shooting with left little chance to shield the lens. That December I returned to shooting with a single lens reflex camera and bought a hat with a wide brim.

My last morning in Shamper's Bluff, right after Freeman's workshop had ended, he invited me back to his gardens. For the first time all week the sun came out. After using the best of the morning light making compositions from the textures with early sidelight, I began packing up. Freeman suggested I go to the foot of the hill and shoot back toward the sun. I stayed and shot from there for an additional hour or two. Freeman had validated what I'd wanted to do, and I shot into the sun shamelessly.

Meadow Gold is but one of many photos made at Macricostas Preserve over the summer of 2006. Such backlit meadow textures were a significant addition to my photo palette and a favorite way of shooting even today. Throughout the summer of 2006, Macricostas provided an ever-changing variety of shapes and colors as layers of plants kept unfolding, throwing shoots and buds, blossoming, and going to seed. Each stage brought its own host of insects and the activities of the birds changed with the seasons. Every few days the show changed as I continued to look for new ways to shoot the same fields and new things to shoot in them. 

Looking back now I realize how important the experiences of that summer were. There were few barns that summer, but I'm still wading into grasses.