Driving through this colourful fall landscape creates many photographic opportunities, but also asks an important question : life or swan song?
Fall colors have always presented an interesting dichotomy in terms of my photography. On the one hand, color has always represented life and energy. Isolating colors in photographs leads me to create marvelous, vibrant compositions. In the fall of the year, nature’s color emerges for us to enjoy and find beauty in the ordinary. The tree in July may be just ho-hum, but in October it turns in a fiery burst of reds and oranges.
Here’s my conflict—despite the fact that color reflects life and energy, autumn symbolizes the end of life and the inevitability of approaching death. Therefore, the grand show of color resulting from nature’s shedding of life leads the parade marching toward dormancy and death.
With these contradictory thoughts, I set out to photograph the fall colors in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia and North Carolina. We were lucky to hit what appeared to be peak color at the higher elevations especially around Grayson Highlands State Park near Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia (5,730 feet; 1,746 meters). Driving the crooked roads in the rain through the rural landscape presents its own perils but ultimately rewards the eyes with fields of unharvested pumpkins, weathered barns, and, of course, brilliant colors.
Images need to be dynamic. Something in the form must create that dynamic in order to draw the viewer into the photographer’s vision—a vision of his or her inner life. I never expect an image to carry or evoke a specific feeling, but instead it must be about the dynamics of inner life, i.e., “what life feels like to the living” (as Susanne Langer stated).
These photographs were taken with Sony and Fujifilm cameras using Zeiss and Fujinon lenses and were processed in Capture One Pro.
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