Bold Autumn Forest

Bold Autumn Forest

20×24 prints are $2,000
30×40 prints are $4,000

This image was taken in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the autumn of 1989. On this particular day, I was driving along River Road, which winds next to the Little River, hugging the sides of the hills and mountains.

The day had been uneventful to this point and the weather was a bit dreary—overcast, with scattered showers and windy conditions. As I rounded the corner of the road, I glanced to my left and saw this scene. Applying the brakes, (one of the most often used of my photographic accessories), I parked the car and got out to see what I might be able to do.

One of the things I like best about photographing in the dense hardwood forests of the Appalachian area, is exploring and coming to an understanding of the almost infinite compositional possibilities existent in any given situation. An oftentimes dramatically different composition is formed by moving the viewpoint just a few inches in any direction.

Such was the case in this situation. Working intuitively and without forcing the composition, I set up the camera and composed the image on the ground glass. With the bold strokes of the dark trunks, and especially the dramatic line of the long, curved, angled black trunk, the forms and shapes reminded me of Japanese calligraphy. Seeing the image as a whole, without placing my attention too strongly on any given part, I carefully adjusted the camera, viewing the image on the groundglass under the darkcloth.

Working quietly, but quickly and relying solely on intuition, I made the image adjustments. I could feel the “rightness” of each move and when the image finally came to rest where you see it now, there was a deep confirmation within me that “this is it”!

I was fortunate in that this particular corner of the mountain was shielded from the wind, so there was no blurring of the leaves and branches from subject motion. Exposing one piece of film, I disassembled the camera and placed it in the car as the rain started to pick up again, inwardly glowing from the experience of those moments. That feeling still remains as I describe the experience in these words, and I hope also as you view the final print.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: Tennessee
Reference key: baf