Another of my photographic inspirations is David Plowden, whose quiet, lyrical images mask a smoldering complexity, more treatises than poems. Years ago, as the era of steam-powered engines drew to a close, he produced a series on that demise; today, as other forms of transportation have relegated train travel in the American West to little more than a novelty, the place of the depot has waxed to that of quiet nostalgia.
I enjoy photographer Chuck Kimmerle’s idea of how photographs are made: They are long, deep conversations between the photographer and the landscape.
One might think I’d spent much of my three weeks in the Colorado high country looking at trees, both living and dead. And that would be correct.
Poets have spent lives musing on trees, including Robert Frost:
Edward Weston, too, found deep muse in the arms of trees:
“Cypress trees, like peppers, do not repeat a family pattern, each one facing a different problem in battling wind and finding foothold…it breathes mysteries, and I know there must be fairies in the deep dark recesses…”
– From My Camera at Point Lobos
So too do I find romance, magic, and mystery wrapped into the swirling eddies of the nooks and crannies of trees, honored to march on in the company of poets, painters and photographers throughout the eons.
I spent several early mornings in this isolated spot, only the growing light, still waters and wakening birds as companions. The shot moved me beyond words as I created it, reminding me of the deep and complex philosophical poetry the natural world creates in the lifesong it sings.
I am neither the first nor the last artist to feel a magic attraction to aspens, and I spent a considerable number of predawn mornings giving into that desire. This conversation between five trees exuded personality and humanity, and I felt as though I were intruding on a private moment in the forest.
I’m back a week early; unforeseen circumstances meant I had to cancel ranch shooting (ouch, ouch, ouch–nothing pains me more than leaving photographs behind, but this couldn’t be helped), so I made lemonade out of lemons.
I’ve experimented with impressionist images for more than a decade, and a few years ago, an acquaintance suggested a new direction for these. I’ve been working to find my voice for some time since, and this comes closer than I’ve ever been to expressing the feeling of an aspen grove in the high country at 10,000 feet above sea level.