Bob's Photo Flurry Edward Frank
August 21, 2009


You ask me how I liked your burst of photos from your field trips after years of fruitless encouragement for you to take them.  They are great.  The photos really compliment your efforts at documenting the great trees and ancient forests you are encountering.  That add a dimension beyond that of simple statistics.  You can measure a tree and photograph a tree for documentation and have a feeling of accomplishment and completion for the tasks.  You, myself and others are looking for ways to better capture these places through measurements, descriptions, photos, video clips, and Gary for example has just started to post a series of audio nature notes on his Facebook page.

The second point of emphasis in your recent photo flurry is the attempt to capture the emotional and spiritual impact of the forests and trees that you are visiting.  That is much harder and I commend your efforts.  I am never satisfied with attempts to capture these more esoteric aims.  I don't think anyone ever is satisfied completely with this aspect of their photography.  In the past you have always described these location in a painting of words.  I know I have been disappointed at times when a favorite book was made into a movie because the scene would never quite match what was in my mind's eye as I was reading.  perhaps this was the crux of your reluctance to plunge into photography.  

I think the key to photography is understanding the equipment and techniques needed to take the pictures, then when in the field you can concentrate on the image you want to capture rather than the mechanics of the process.  You want to have photos that are properly exposed and constructed, but beyond those basics is the impression you want to capture.  You need to take photos that capture the vision that you have in your mind.  If you maintain your own artistic integrity, you will be more satisfied with your photos than if you compromise to meet some arbitrary idea defined by others of what a photo should be.  You can strive for the perfect image, but will not often succeed.  Ansel Adams to his last days was still taking photos, still looking for the perfect image.  

There was a man who survived an airplane crash where many others died.  he is unsure of what he saw, but it seemed to him that he was seeing the auras of people killed in the crash leave their bodies.  Some of the auras were brighter than others.  It was his goal from that point on to make sure when he passed, his aura would be as bright as possible.  With your efforts to explore these great forests and trees, ad your attempts to capture the emotional and spiritual essence of these beings, you are making your aura brighter.  It it the journey that matters as much as the results.


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