Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunset Pastorale



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: I arrived at Sunset Ridge Farm to the same spot I had photographed from six months earlier. (See yesterday's TODAY'S.) The photographer is a light chaser; the wanderer is happy to take what comes. On a given day I may be either. When broken clouds provide a light show I can be both at once.

That was what I expected at Sunset Ridge, but the balance between cloud cover and cloud break had shifted decidedly to favor the clouds. Twice the sun strafed the hills with light, and then it seemed there would be no more, and my shooting companion suggested we become chasers. We lost each other on top of Winchell Mountain when I followed a strange dewy, yellow light and stopped on this hillside with a dream of the Catskill Mountains in front of me and the low sun painting shapes on the hillsides. If someone had said I was in Brigadoon, I would have believed them.

Back at home in my computer "dark room" I struggle to recall the eerie glow that flickered over the hills and to catch the misty haze filtering bits of the slant light from the setting sun. It was a magic almost gone by the time I could click the shutter and maybe beyond the reach of photography.