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Fall 2010 Canadian Rockies Photo Tour — Fleeting Gold Standard

October 30, 2010
The Fleeting Gold Standard

The Fleeting Gold Standard

Here is another image from the Fall 2010 Photo Tour. Perhaps this is a scene that most would find unremarkable, I don’t know. I do know that I really liked the morning light on the fall foliage with its shades of glowing yellow-gold, intermixed with the intricate, chaotic detail of leaves and branches.

As with the Fall Windstorm photo I posted last time, rather than go for something like a grand vista of large stands of golden trees against a mountain backdrop, I used a moderate telephoto focal length to get a tighter framing on the scene. I wanted to isolate a smaller grouping of trees where the detail would be much more evident, and the patterns of color and light would give additional interest to the subject.

In a post on his blog from a few weeks ago, Darwin Wiggett wrote:

More and more I am attracted to intimate landscapes and especially to forest scenes. I am not sure why. Maybe it is the contemplative and zen-like state I feel when composing these kinds of shots or maybe it is just so refreshing to not rush the photography.

I think I know just what he is talking about. Often when on location, I’ve felt a self-imposed pressure to rush to get the “big shot” — that iconic mountain reflecting in the crystal, glacier-fed lake with just the right light. Or whatever it is. Those kinds of images are very appealing (personally and commercially) but the reality is that life is not made up of those big “wow!” moments; they’re sought after in part because they’re rare.

What makes up most of life is a flow of little details, small and often unremarked moments, things that may only fleetingly register on the eye or conscious thought. As time goes by, I’m finding a lot of satisfaction in looking for and working with that kind of thing as subject material. Regardless of commercial value, I think the small moments create experiences and memories just as valuable as the grand vistas.

Got an opinion on the small moments? Do they appeal to you as a viewer or as a photographer?

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