Last Gasp

imageLast Fall color, Roxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I was out for a walk in the woods the other day and was struck by the ethereal vision of this cluster of bright red leaves floating in the air; the impression that there was no visible support only added to the sense on unreality. I hadn’t expected to find anything so colorful this late in the season. Isolating the image as I looked through the viewfinder I was reminded of some of the beautiful dye transfer images made by Eliot Porter. I had no illusions that my image would look like his; nor would I want it to. He worked with 5X7 view camera on a heavy tripod and I was working much quicker with a handheld camera, still, I felt his presence.

Lately I have been trying to let outside forces play a greater role in the making of my photographs. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I’ll try. I am trying to not think so much about photography during the actual process of selecting and making the photograph, but rather give in to impulse, (or perhaps intuition). Though I may be saying it poorly, I think of it more as a Zen experience. It is almost as though I’m trying to get out of the way and let the photograph make itself. This is not to say that technique is not important, but I have been photographing for over fifty years. By now it is only natural that I have learned to take a photograph without thinking too much about the technical process (and modern cameras only makes this easier). The trick is to actually stop thinking about it! Stop analyzing and let the photograph come out. This has not been easy. It flies in the face of fifty years of practice, but it feels right. There are some images that still demand from me a different method; a more technical approach, and I try to comply and use those tools when necessary. The next lesson has been learning when I can let go and give in to the less structured method; to just get out of the way and let the photograph happen.

Pentax K5IIs with 70mm lens, processed in Nik Snapseed® on my iPad Air.

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2 comments on “Last Gasp

  1. Just exquisite, Steve. So complex and powerful, and of course, simply lovely. Another masterful image.

    Like

  2. I long to be as gracious in my thanks as you are in your praise.

    Like

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