Green Oak and Golden Maple
North Carolina

Green Oak and Golden Maple

20×20 prints are $1,250
30×30 prints are $2,500

On our photo trip in 1993 Ruth and I spent several days photographing in North Carolina, both on and near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather had not been very cooperative and the autumn colors were muted and sparse.

On this day I was feeling photographically frustrated, knowing there must be worthwhile images here but not seeing them. We had parked our camper van next to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Ruth was taking a rest while I roamed about, looking for one of those shy images that had eluded me all day.

I walked up and down the road, in and out of the trees but nothing was coming together. I had passed by the golden maple tree by the road. Meh. Ditto for the green oak on the other side of the road. However, a few minutes later I got a flicker of inspiration and walked through the trees and viewed the golden maple behind the green oak, with the width of the road between them. Bingo.

I went back to the van and retrieved my Hasselblad camera with the 250mm Superachromat lens, went back to the scene and composed the photograph, used my 1° spotmeter to place the gold maple on Zone VI. Then made one exposure at f/22 for 1/2 second on Velvia 50 film.

The Cibachrome print has great depth due to the color and shape contrasts between the two trees, which is what I hoped would happen. Warm colors tend to advance in a photograph and cool colors recede. Since the warm colors are in the back and the cool colors are in front there’s a dynamic tension which brings out the life in the image. Plus, while the golden maple is sharp enough to see the shape of the leaves and progression of colors, it’s soft enough that the details enhance the sharply defined edges of the green oak branches, another visual boost.

This Cibachrome print to me has the feeling of the golden maple being a benign soft flame enlivening the dynamic green oak. Yin and yang.

Format: Medium (square)
Location: North Carolina
Reference key: gogm