20×20″ prints are $1,250
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Ruth and I were photographing in Colorado in 2003. We had spent the day in this area of the west central part of the state and were heading back to a county park where we could spend the night in our camper van.
All day a minor storm was passing through accompanied by lots of wind, the bane of 8x10 photographers who need smaller f/stops with longer shutter speeds to get enough depth of field. One of the primary reasons I also use a Hasselblad medium format camera is to be able to use faster shutter speeds and to be able to catch fleeting moments when they happen. This particular evening both qualities were crucial to enable me to make this photograph.
As the sun was setting we came upon these trees silhouetted against the sky. I had Ruth immediately pull over on the shoulder of the road and we exited with the 205TCC camera body on the Sachtler tripod and a 100mm lens.
The sun was rapidly setting and the clouds were moving from left to right very fast, completely changing the composition every 10 seconds. I was waiting for the clouds to complete the composition but it was taking time. The sun kept setting and I kept backing up to keep the edge of the sun’s disk in the center of the tree formation. Just before I was able to make this photograph, I had backed up as far as I could and my behind was resting against a barbed wire fence.
I was confident in my exposure since I was using the 1° spot metering in the camera and using its Zone System metering method that I always use. The top large cloud was not just moving sideways but was slightly rotating counter-clockwise. I made one image before this one and another one after it, and the moment was over.
I was thrilled when the shape of the main cloud swirled and moved until it briefly mirrored the form of the trees below, with the setting sun shining from the center of the trees. The glow around the trees and in the clouds is all natural lighting and was really there. The memory of the synergism and grace which filled this moment still takes my breath away.