Saturday, March 14, 2009

Winter Burn

MINOR WHITE: "Let the subject generate its own photographs. Become a camera."

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: I took this photo during the first snow storm of 2005. Back then I was still a bit nervous about being out on the roads at the storm's worst and wasn't sure how much snow abuse my equipment could suffer. I knew enough to realize the sun was worth experimenting with, but I had no idea how powerful it could be in the finished images or how to properly expose for it. I got lucky, but had I known then what I know now, I might have spent the whole event at the top of Rabbit Hill and never driven down to the lake.

By the time I got there the snow was falling again and the sun was still trying. I stopped the car determined to make a solid effort at shooting, even though I hugged my car like a security blanket. If it were today, I would pull into the lot by the state park and walk, as I do on clear days, until I saw shots. I would have been relaxed and taken my time and known what I had when I went home. Back then I shot, excited by the beauty but convinced something even more spectacular must be happening over the next hill.

In spite of myself I made a few shots that day that I've often returned to, but this and one other taken a few moments earlier were milestones when I shot them. I've decided it's time to reinterpret this one in a new, finished image. The hardest part is getting the whites right. Too light and the sun loses impact. Too dark and the mist and snow can no longer be accepted as filtered and shadowed white. I've also removed branches from a tree that intruded from the side.

The image was used as the cover for the Winter, 2006, Washington Art Association Seasonal Bulletin.