Recently I went on a trip with my girlfriend to Rowena Crest to photograph wild flowers. As we stopped by one of many meadows filled with bright yellow flowers I asked her a question.
“Look,” I said, “there is this meadow of flowers. I bet there are good photos here but I don’t see any. What about you? Do you see any?”
Her reply made me think for a while about my motivation: “You need to believe that the place is beautiful to make beautiful photos.”
I realized that I did not think that particular meadow was very beautiful. There were random patches of flowers. None really stood out.
The reason I wanted to take pictures was that it was a rare opportunity for me: those flowers were there for a short time a year and we had to drive four hours to get there. As such I wanted to squeeze every possible photo from every meadow we came across.
I still took a few pictures there but I did not have a goal of making beautiful pictures. I was experimenting with compositions, finding patterns in a chaos and leading lines in twisted tree branches.
I did make beautiful pictures on that trip in the places I believed to be beautiful.
Finally, finally, I caught up on the backlog of images I had not processed over the past year. I have no backlog now. Hopefully, I will keep it that way.
With that said, here are a few paths I have taken over the past year.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. –Lao Tzu
Thanks to the modern medicine I’m off on the road in less than 3 weeks after the knee surgery. Just in time to catch the last of wildflowers in Columbia Gorge. That’s where I headed the last weekend.
The first day of the trip I spent stopping at random places because the sky and the light was amazing. I could not just drive by it. I wanted to see it without rushing.
That meant that I got to Columbia Gorge late night and had no time to photograph wildflowers the first day.
The next day, I got on a hike. At first I walked just a little bit, trying to get a sense of it, if the hike was worth it. It was worth it. There was an abundance of variety of wildflowers on the trail. I got back to the car put my backpack, took tripod and went on the hike.
I completely forgot about my knee, hiking, taking photos. Until I got to a top of a hill. I was not even quite at the top yet, when the knee reminded me about itself. It was tired. So, I did something that I had not done since I was a kid. I lied down in the meadow of flowers to rest.
I was lying in the meadow of flowers and the life in the city seemed so distant and remote. All the rush, all the noise, all the chaotic motion seemed so unreal. I was lying in the meadow of flowers and thinking about how I’m trying to make as many pictures as possible on each trip and not giving enough time to take in the experience of being in the place. And just like that I fell asleep.
I woke up a couple hours later greeted by yellow flower hanging over me. I took my camera and captured that simple experience.
Sometimes photographing in popular locations yields quite funny pictures.
I was photographing in Carrizo Plains in California. A couple ventured into the flower field as I was taking a series of timed exposures to be used for time stacking later.
I knew they will have no impact on the final image. But when they noticed me they started crouching. Not sure if it would really help were I taking a single exposure but it made for quite funny image.
I waved them that they were not creating any problems for me and yelled “Thanks”. And they happily proceeded to take pictures they wanted.
The final image I was after:
I lost myself in the sea of flowers.
I closed my eyes
to let other senses enjoy the scene.
The warm touch of the sun.
The gentle caressing of the breeze.
The soft singing of the birds.
The sweet scent of the spring.
I stood in the sea of flowers in silence.
I wanted to take it all in.
Until I lost myself in the sea of flowers.
Until I became a part of it.
Is it me only or is everyone of us have addiction to contradiction? Snow in summer. Water in a desert. Line tree on otherwise bare hills. Clearing in a forest. Yellow flower in a meadow of blue flowers. It is all so fascinating.
I had quite an interesting dialog with my seven year old son about this photo.
Adrian: Dad how did you get to capture the last ray of the Sun on the flowers.
Me: It is not a sun ray. I used flashlight to highlight the flowers as if the Sun was lighting them up.
Adrian: Cheater. It is not a real landscape. Nobody is going to buy it. People like real landscapes.