A Walk in the Woods

People on path through wooded area.

You cannot imagine how many versions of this picture I went through before settling on this one. (Sometimes I truly believe I’m a maniac and should be medicated.) I’m not at all clear on why I kept persisting, despite ample evidence indicating that I was never going to get what I wanted from it.

I’ll show you the way the image came out of the camera just to give you a sense of how far the version above is removed from the original. I essentially wound up inverting the visual emphasis of the source material. After an amazing amount of dithering and experimentation, I determined that what I found compelling were the rhythmic tree trunks, the undulating shadows, and the backlit twigs and leaves. The people—the clear punctum of the original shot—weren’t working for me, and the color (even after much experimentation with saturation and vibrancy) was a distraction.

Original version of previous photo.

It wasn’t until I realized that I could dial the people back into gestural abstractions with a bit of selective blur that the picture made sense to me. And while I wouldn’t say this is an unqualified success, the exploration did give me another visual idea, another tool for my arsenal, something new-to-me to deploy perhaps another time.

And I don’t totally hate it, either.


A Year Ago: Portrait in Profile

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