The subtlety of our rural landscape takes some time to understand and appreciate. I know for a fact that it took me quite a while to not only appreciate the light, textures, and forms but to actually find a joy in peeling away the layers. It is not the grand "scape" like many of the western images I shoot, but I like the challenges of finding compositions nuanced by subtle light striking the dense patterns of grasses and leaves.
In 1986, while working on my Master's thesis in architecture, I made a research trip to New Delhi. During the near 24 hours of continuous travel I made a brief stop in Frankfurt where I saw, and held, my first Leica camera. As a poor, and married graduate student, I could not afford it, but knew even then that I wanted one. It is hard to believe that it took me 32 years to get one. And even harder to believe is that it was prompted by my desire to return to the simple challenges of making images - reliance only on the exposure triangle and manual focus.
This is another in my continuing series of personal explorations in the subtle landscapes of my hometown. There are times when I tend to lose my way relative to my photographic work. It is somewhat inevitable as I tend to look at a lot of images, and in doing so, succumb to the flotsam and jetsam of viewing so many photographs. Just how many beautiful sunsets over misty mountains can one take. It is my fault of course because I only have myself to blame. No one is making me look at all these images and all I have to do is stop, put down the phone, and shut down my use of Instagram.
This image is from a series of photographs I am working on that embraces the subtle landscape of my hometown area. At anytime when I suspect that fog is in the forecast I will be out looking to make images that the quiet moments of a rural landscape. Fog brings lower contrast to the light as well as subtle layers that add dimension and form. This is one of my favorite locations to explore this kind of atmospheric condition. Here at the Poffenberger Farm, at Antietam National Battlefield, the grasses have grown tall around the old barn and along the gravel lane to the main house.
I am fascinated by bridges. Some of this comes from the notion of how they are engineered, how they actually connect to solid ground, and the idea that these spans connect land masses separated by water, or simply space that could not be connected otherwise. Some may find them an intrusion in the landscape but they present a certain kind of contrast that I find photographically interesting.
I have a good friend, and excellent photographer, who recently said that he thought I preferred black and white image making over color. I was not sure this was true and in fact a review of my various social media feeds showed that I was probably split down the middle on the use of color versus black and white. I think that what he was referring too was that I tend to push certain types of images into black and white while others go to color. I shoot landscapes predominantly in color whereas my street, architecture, and even my portrait work strays over into black and white. I do not have a formula for all this and the decision often comes down to the type of light I was shooting in and whether the color tones in the shot would convert well to a dramatic black and white conversion.