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Chasing the Light, Yet Again

It took me years to understand an old dictum, “you photograph the light, not the object.”  I see it more clearly with every passing day in the field.


These images are from Goodnough Dike inside Quabbin Park in Ware, Massachusetts.  For those new to the blog, I spend a good deal of time at the Quabbin Reservoir area, looking for connections between the accidental wilderness which has grown up around the Reservoir and art, climate and whatever else is on my mind at the time.  Recently I’ve been studying the engineering structures that actually hold back the water, most specifically Winsor Dam and Goodnough Dike.  These are big structures as you can guess.  But they are not like the great dams we’re familiar with from the western United States.  These were created 75 years ago, in a very different landscape. There lines are typically not drawn by concrete, but rather by dirt and rocks.  As such, they have developed, at least in my mind, some kind of symbiosis with the area.  They don’t scream difference, they seem more to be striving for some kind of harmony with nature.  Perhaps it is an act of contrition on their part for the havoc they once wreaked.

But they are big, and big things are hard to get a good picture of, unless you can get over them, or far away from them.  Neither is particularly possible at the Quabbin.  You also have the “big sky” problem.  No, it’s not Montana, but it is still a big sky.   Most days it seems like it is just a dull white sky.  But not every day.  You have to keep trying.

We went out this past week in the middle of the day.  In my mind, the most we were going to get out of it was a good walk.  The middle of the day doesn’t usually bring you good light.  Except some times in the winter.  The low position of the sun even in the middle of the day can create this wonderful contrast which can add depth to the image.  But, you still need to do something with that sky. Sometimes you get lucky.


This is the Goodnough Dike from below.  This was the view that smacked us right in the face when we rounded a corner from the old road that winds through the forest there.  These wonderful clouds hung with us for another hour or so.


Like I said, I guess you just have to keep trying.