This tree is like an old friend I like to visit each year or every couple years. The conditions were simply perfect, a heavy drizzle, swirling fog and sublime colors.
I first discovered this spot many years ago with a good friend of mine, Chris, while we were out scouting new locations in search of stunning autumn colors. That was during the days of film when both of us were using Fuji Velvia. We were quite thrilled when we came upon this sublime spot….
This time I was here with my wife Heather and our dog Stan. Heather and Stan enjoyed walking around in the drizzle while I worked under an umbrella as the drizzle was turning heavier by the minute.
The air was cold and rich with moist autumn aromas. The fog moved like a ghost along the face of the vertical wall and the gentle rain fell on the leaves as the creek swiftly flowed out of sight.
Brilliant autumn cottonwood growing along the edge of Nason Creek | Cascade Range, Washington
Sometimes when I look at my photographs I am quite surprised, maybe even shocked, how I used to see the landscape as compared to how I see it now. When I gave up my medium format Pentax 67 film camera and switched to digital a chapter of my life closed. It has now been 5 years since I made my last composition using film and I would say I miss the way things were. Perhaps there will still be grand images that I will capture that will turn out pleasing and memorable to me…but I keep returning to the ones from the medium-format film days. This autumn scene captured along a quiet stretch of Nason Creek in the Cascades is one of those images that melts me and is so achingly beautiful to my eyes that as the years slip away my appreciation for this composition does not wane. The photograph was also a great seller as a print.
Autumn along Nason Creek | Cascade Range, Washington
A framed print of this once adorned our home but was sold…it may be time to have it up again. Perhaps these landscapes are so special because they also bring memories of the years I actively pursued publishing and then (to a greater satisfaction) print sales in regional art shows. I no longer do these things and don’t travel as frequently as I once did. I often even wonder why I photograph. Every artist hopes that his work is appreciated, and when it doesn’t seem to be, that hope and excitement of sharing begins to vanish. One late autumn I made a quick excursion to Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum. It was a rather gloomy day with heavy showers passing through the region. The place was deserted, it began to rain. As I found this composition I was moved in my soul and leaving without an attempt to capture it just wasn’t an option. So I set up my camera, covered it with a bag to shield it from the steady rain and composed. I think I had tears in my eyes, but if not, I was humbled. The light was quite dim from the heavy overcast and canopy of trees overhead. I remember my exposures being 10-15 seconds in length…I didn’t know if it would work out but I tried!
Japanese maples in the rain, late autumn | Seattle, Washington
When the film was developed a couple days later and I got to look at it on the light table, wow, my heart skipped a few beats. This remains an image that is one of my personal faves. As I often struggle and think of giving it all up, it is these images that bring me back. Even if it is a temporary ray of light, it is better than nothing at all. I do hope I will always photograph…perhaps even make compositions that will be added to the favorites.