Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drowned Land Swamp, study #1

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL:  I took this photograph on Sunday at the Drowned Lands Swamp Conservation Area in Ancram, NY. It reveals no miracles and would win no prizes, but it is a good day's work, the best of the day's shoot, and merit's inclusion, therefore on "Today's" photo. 

As a photographer, I find myself increasingly drawn to photographing situations of high contrast, situations where the contrast pushes the limits of my photographic technology. I suppose part of this urge is technical: Can I set the exposure precisely? Can I manipulate the RAW file so as to draw out everything that has been captured, and achieve the spatial/compositional effect desired? The lure is far more than technical, however. I like high contrast situations because light/dark is a recipe for drama and a structure for design. There is mystery in shadow and revelation in shine, and stories can flicker to life in the contrasting of exterior and interior; there is polyphony in the contrary tug of the thing concealed and the thing revealed.

So I was not disappointed when I followed the trail to the spot labeled, "overlook," and found only this paltry window on the valley and swamp.  Though the view was barely photographic, I was drawn by the reach of the trees, of everything around me to grab as much of the sunshine as possible, and I would make what I could of the bit of poetry provided where the fronds and leaves edged at the light. No, the reach of it all came afterward; first was registering the violence of the diagonal slashes of the tree's trunks, and I set my camera to be sure I could include all three and composed the rectangle broadly. Only then did I consciously note how everything leaned together and how the tones had to be set.


Ginnie said...

The thing is, Ted, those TREES on the left had me at HELLO! I have always been mesmerized by birches and aspens wherever I can find them. This image is totally worth it for everything you have mentioned but...the TREES! Yummy!

Emery Roth II said...

It was, in fact, the tree trunks that made me take the picture. Without them there would have been nothing.