Nut Shell, Ice, Forest Floor, March 2012

Sometimes the photo of the week is a struggle, because there are too many choices. I want to post everything. This week is especially hard. I’m fresh back from a trip to Boston, where I got to spend a day at the Museum of Fine Arts. Out of so much visual inspiration there, I was particularly struck by a little show in a quiet hallway of some modern Japanese print makers. Such a beautiful sense of composition, tension, serenity, luminosity, form, texture, and emptiness! I was particularly taken with Toko Shinoda, but there were others: Kōshirō Onchi and Yozo Hamaguchi. It made me long to spend more time with pure design, to be able to create form and texture out of empty space. But for now I spend creative time with a camera and computer.

When I got back to Vermont, this art-inspired mental explosion was compounded. My longing to participate in delicious resonant abstract composition was quickly satisfied. And beyond satisfied. I’ve spent a few sessions photographing melting ice on the forest floor, yesterday until I was quite exhausted from all the visualizing, bending, and squatting with my camera. I’ve always been drawn to this as a fertile ground of imagery. This week is a pretty big session of it. As I go through the hundreds of images I’m exposing and see what works and what fails, I’m going back out to the woods to find more melting ice. This one is fresh from yesterday’s session.

I don’t know if this image will make it to print. I’ll see how much I like it as time passes. The issue is that it will need a lot of hand work, repairing blown-out specular highlights. On the one hand the luminosity and depth of the image wouldn’t have been possible without sunlight on the ice. On the other hand, the texture creates highlights that no digital camera sensor I’ve ever owned can handle. To print this, at least at a large size, I would have to repair thousands and thousands of single-pixel spots that show up as ugly squares. Maybe there’s a trick to deal with this. I hope so.

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