Flowering Redbud

Flowering Redbud

20×24 prints are $1,500
30×40 prints are $3,000

In 1991 the Bernheim Forest Foundation gave me a second grant to photograph at their private forest and arboretum in Kentucky. I had photographed at Bernheim in 1990 but only in October and November. It was now the middle of April and I scheduled two weeks to photograph Bernheim in the springtime.

I’d been in contact with the kind folks at Bernheim and they notified me when the dogwoods and redbuds were almost at peak bloom. I had been very busy making Cibachrome prints in my darkroom and waited until the last moment to leave. I drove from Oregon to Kentucky in three long days, the last day driving 1,050 miles, arriving after 1am. I was younger then.

The next morning I awoke after a few hours sleep and photographed “Pink and White Dogwoods” in the early dawn light. This was the second photograph I made that morning with the same soft, early dawn light and almost no wind.

This photograph was made in the forested area of Bernheim where all of the trees are native to Kentucky. The redbud is growing at the base of a gently rising hill, the dried leaves from fall providing a soft brown carpet throughout the silent forest. The tonalities of the scene are muted colors, the trunks of uniform tones, mostly shades of grey. The redbud blossoms form an almost circular shape. The forest is the stage, the redbud the star performer.

I composed the image using the rising front on the camera to keep the trunks vertical. I made one exposure with my 600mm Fujinon C lens at f/64 for 7 seconds on Fujichrome 100 film. The film recorded the delicate colors and tonalities extremely well. I miss that film.

For some unknown reason I didn’t print this image until 1995, four years later. Because of the delicate colors, including many grey tones, the contrast, overall density and color balance are all quite critical when I make Cibachrome prints. Also, the redbud blossoms require precise dodging and burning on each print to balance their densities into a cohesive whole.

The finished prints convey the peace and soft, delicate beauty I saw and experienced that blessed morning.

Format: Large (horizontal)
Location: Kentucky
Reference key: frb