Cottonwood and Light

Cottonwood and Light

20×24 prints are $6,000
30×40 prints are $12,000

When photographing in Utah in 1987, around 1:00pm in the afternoon I was on my way to scout out photo possibilities for evening. The sun was bright, and the day quite warm as I drove along a dirt road.

As I came around a corner, I came to a sudden stop as this cottonwood tree fairly leapt out at me–backlit by the sun, with the shadowed canyon wall as a background. The russet colors in the furrowed trunks of the tree were enhanced by the light reflected by the orange sandstone cliff behind me.

Leaping out of the car, it was almost an instantaneous decision where to place the camera and which lens to use. Trembling with anticipation, I worked quickly to set up and focus the camera and expose the film, before the light changed and the moment passed.

During some of my most memorable photographs, the experience itself can be so moving that it becomes difficult to properly follow each of the many necessary steps in the proper order. During those times, I usually will quietly talk to myself, carefully proceeding along each step until the image is on film. The glow from these experiences can stay with me for many hours.

This photograph has almost universal appeal and constantly reminds me of the light, the power, and the presence of God with us in the world.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: Utah
Reference key: cwl