THE PATH IS SOMETIMES LONG – CHAPTER II: The Early Years
Something happened on that March day as I carefully unpacked my new camera. I can’t explain it. I can’t even pinpoint exactly when it happened. But looking back, it’s easy to recognize that something awakened inside of me that can only be explained by experiencing it yourself.
Up to this point in my life, my picture-taking consisted of family snapshots or candid shots of friends. But on this date as I began to capture images, something clicked! No pun intended.
I became obsessed with the way an image was constructed, from the very composition to the challenges that exist with the variations in lighting. The fact that I could see an image one way, but could not seem to capture it as I saw it was both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. I wanted to capture a sunset that would expose all of the detail of the subject, but at the same time capture all of the detail of the sun. Impossible? Judging from many of my attempts, three years ago I would have said yes…it’s just not possible. And yet, notice:
Can you see it?
First, notice the detail of the Ruby’s Diner. Usually an image of this exposure would silhouette the building and all of the detail would be darkened to black. And yet even though the building is not silhouetted the people to the left of the restaurant, who seem to be dreaming as they watch the sun setting behind the island of Catalina, are completely silhouetted. Next, notice the sun. In order to capture the detail of the foreground, I was forced to open my lens to an aperture that would under normal circumstances completely blow out the sun and all of its detail. Yet, there it is! In all of its glory, the sun has shape and is extremely defined against the blazing backdrop. I couldn’t use a filter because that would mask the restaurant detail. I couldn’t utilize any Photoshop editing technique, because one adjustment would always diminished the other.
Finally, look very carefully. If you allow your eye to move deep into the image, you will see a hint of greenish cast to the immediate area surrounding the sun. It is the rare green flash that sometimes accompanies a sunset.
In all fairness and in full disclosure, I have to include the fact that I did not simply go out to the beach one evening, throw my camera onto a tripod, adjust my settings, and capture this sunset. No, not even close. This image is the result of thousands of attempts and dozens of trips to this very spot, each time with the hope of a perfect capture. The absolute truth, I have far more failures than I have successes. But there is the key!! I have successes! Why? Because failure was never a final option! Failure was the teaching tool that led to my success.
With each chapter, I add another image from the San Juan Capistrano Mission. There is a reason for that.
Patience, my friend. We are on a journey. All will be revealed…in time.