Many of you will remember my facebook posts from the scouting I did of this lovely beaver pond here in South Lake Tahoe. Along with a reasonable iphone image I shared, I posted a sweet portrait of my professional assistant, Toby (6), capturing his own rendition of the beaver pond and its inhabitants with a little digital camera. He always gets a great response, and ads huge joy to my excursions. Well, I returned the following morning to capture this beautiful moment.
I was drawn to this scene for its sheer tranquility. Seemingly every shade of green in the spectrum (very welcome after a never ending winter!), along with the beaver hut, all reflecting in the still waters of the calm morning. I loved the composition and the feeling, but I still had one very important decision to make; in which light should I expose my film? I was hoping to capture the scene with everything in shade and a glowing reflection of the mountains and trees above the background lit with warm morning light. Well, the light didn’t enter the scene evenly, so that wasn’t an option. Fortunately, I arrived early enough to be set up and created this exposure with ambient light softly illuminating the scene before me. After everything was lit by the sun, I felt the image lost its soft relaxing quality. Overall, this image conveys the mood I was after. From the green color, to the stillness of the leaves, the depth of its layers and the mirrored reflection, the natural perfection of the moment takes me to a place of serenity. This wasn’t exactly what I had pre-visualized, but stayed open to what Mother Nature had to offer, and let my feelings influence the final image. I love it!
Photo Tip: Light is the name of the game in photography. I prefer to use only one exposure, so I pay special attention to each phase of morning and evening light as they relate to my subject. This is important for proper exposure, but also for setting the mood of the image and how it conveys my feelings of the natural experience. For sunrise images like this one I like to arrive well before sunrise in order to experience the transition from night into a new day, and to give myself the opportunity to compose images with each phase of changing morning light. While there are many possibilities as the light changes, I like to be conscious of my feelings as the light transitions. My goal is always to share that moment in time, in that place, that makes me feel a special way. If done well, that moment in time can become eternal, and make the lives of its viewers that little bit better each time they view the image.
Details: KB Kanhan 5×7 metal field camera, 2 1/4 x 6 3/4 panoramic back, Gitzo 1325 carbon tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Rodenstock 150mm APO Sironar S lens, Fuji RDPIII Provia transparency film, no filters.