The Stone


imageBridgewater, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Some days when I manage to leave for work a little early, I’ll choose a longer, more scenic route; perhaps you do this too.

This morning the mist had not completely burned off the pond, and I saw that someone had carefully placed this melon-sized stone atop another much larger one.  With the misty pond and trees in the background there was something of a zen garden quality I wanted to capture.

The light mist helped, but I wanted to isolate the stones from the pond and trees, and enhance the feeling of depth. I made several exposures, varying the f-stop so that I would have a choice of how out of focus the background would be. As it turned out, the exposure that rendered the stones sharpest was still too detailed in the distance, so I added a very mild gaussian blur as a layer mask in Photoshop.

Someone asked what prompted me to photograph something as mundane as one stone balanced on another, and it wasn’t until then that I realized that I hadn’t given it a thought. How do we recognize a potential photograph? How do we choose our subjects? In this instance, I was aware of the soft light and the peacefulness of the setting. The simple symmetry evoked a serenity I could feel. It was as real at that moment as the feel of cat’s fur or the smell of penny. It was that quality of light, that peaceful sense that I wanted to try to capture more than an image of two stones.

This is a photograph that is particularly sensitive to print size, and viewing distance, and seems to work better at a larger size. I’ve printed it as an 11×17, the largest I like to print on my 13″ wide printer, and held at arm’s length there is a sweet spot that I quite like. Some day I would like to have it printed on canvas at something like 20×30 or even 24×36 and gallery wrapped. I think I know just the doctor’s office where it’s calm effect would be just the thing.

Pentax K10D with kit zoom lens, processed in Photoshop CS4.






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