Behind the Photograph: Light Striking a Twisted Pine

A lot of times, people ask me, “where did you take that photograph,” or,” how did you get your image to look that way? Many of my photos are from far off cities and distant mountain ranges. But this image was taken right around where I work. I want to talk a little bit about how this image came together and make a point or two about keeping your eyes open for the beauty around you.

light_tree_06142017_1I was photographing a barbecue yesterday evening and to be honest, I was very bored. There are only so many photographs a person can take of a stranger stuffing angus beef into their mouth. After capturing a representative sample of the event, I began to wander around, observing the sunset’s affect on the wooded area. As I oftentimes do, I approached the chefs and waiters to greet them and ask how they were doing. The two men manning the grills were dripping with sweat and feverishly trying to keep up with the guests’ appetites. I tried to make smalltalk, but it became clear to me that the men wanted to concentrate on the task at hand. I observed how the smoke from their grilles wafted up and away from the event. I followed it further and further into the woods. Finally I stopped, mesmerized by the spectacle in front of me.

And thus, an image was made. I love this image because of how the light hits the tree. The beam enters the frame from the top left corner and works its way to the center, directing the viewer’s eyes to the tree. I made it square, to highlight the balance evident in the image.

I wouldn’t have been able to take this photograph if I hadn’t aimlessly walked away from the task before me. Sometimes you need to drop what you are doing, and make time for art. There is beauty all around us, sometimes we just need to make time to go and see it.

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