Resilience at Mesa Arch.
One of my favorite photos this was taken in the spring of 2000. It was a very windy morning when I saw this tree being blown around I thought what a resilient little fellow. I knew I had a shot. Working carefully because this was the last frame of film I had, I made this image. Although it had been in the 80s the day before there would be 3 inches of snow on the ground by noon.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned is that the Landscape photographer has to move fast. Good light particularly storm light changes within moments. This is the first image that I was truly proud of. Taken during a workshop with Art Wolfe I had woken up late. Luckily the motel I was staying at in Port Angeles had roosters. I was supposed to be on the Coast already. Coffee deprived I threw the gear into the car and headed toward the sea stacks of Rialto Beach. Passing by Lake Crescent my rear view mirror blazed with color. Below the low clouds and between the hills shot these rays of light. To this day I haven’t seen anything that rivaled this display. As luck would have it the perfect location was at the west end of the lake. I pulled over and grabbed my camera and tripod. I had tossed the tripod in the car and the release lever was jammed, there was no way to budge it. Time was running out. The light was fading as the sun rose. Screwing the camera on the tripod would have taken less than a minute but there would be nothing left to capture. In the lecture the night before Art had mentioned, first get the shot then refine it. I held my breath, braced the camera on the tripod, and hand held a 200mm lens for a 15th of a second. This is an eternity with a long lens. That anything is sharp is a wonder to me. One frame was all there was time for before the light dulled.
Convinced I had missed the shot I soldiered through the day. Met Art on a trail to Sol Duc and asked him had he ever missed the shot. With a laugh he said “of course.” We had one roll of film. From that we could enter 2 slides for the competition held at the end of the weekend. I would cover much ground before the deadline of 4pm. Exploring the park for images that day was the true reward. At some point battered and muddy from a fall I thought this is really it this is what I want to do. When the image was projected large onto a movie screen, selected by the judges I felt honored and surprised to see that burst of color again. It was the first frame I had taken that day and the light was truly something special.