Sweetgum Stars

Sweetgum Stars

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

In 1998 Ruth and I took a three week photo trip to New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. Early one morning we were camped by a large lake in Virginia.

The sunrise was dramatically lighting up the sky with rose colored clouds. It was near the end of October so I knew the special light would be gone in just a few minutes. It was the type of light that makes everything glow. You can see it when, looking at your hands they positively glow with health and vitality.

I didn’t see any photograph looking over the lake and the trees on the shore until I spotted this young sweetgum tree. I’ve noticed over the years that young sweetgum trees have more intense and varied colors than older trees. This side of the tree was on the opposite side of the sunrise and had the best color differentiation and maximum glow. It was lit by softer reflected light and the general glow in the atmosphere.

Using my 250mm Superachromat lens on my Hasselblad I made one exposure on Velvia 50 film. The film captured the glow and huge range of bright colors. In making Cibachrome prints of this image it requires a contrast mask and a red detail mask to preserve the shape and shading in all of the saturated red colors.

In studying the image, my eye jumps from leaf to leaf, color to color, almost like gazing at the flames in a cozy fireplace at home. Even today, I have never experienced a more colorful sweetgum tree.

Format: Medium (square)
Location: Virginia
Reference key: sgs