Tag Archives: landscape photography
I usually go out to shoot in the mornings but I had a very long (and excellent) working Saturday so I planned to stay in today. Of course the sky began to get interesting as afternoon came on. I decided, perhaps a little late, to get out and have at it. Inspiration as motivation to do something is nonsense. Ask any writer how much work they’d get done if they only wrote when inspired. Photography, or any other artistic discipline, is exactly like that. If you want the work you have to do it, period. A photographer makes photographs and to wait for inspiration is to do nothing. So out I went.
Besides, I had rediscovered an area a short time ago and wanted to get back there. A bit far for a late afternoon drive but why not? So I’m off on a blustery March Sunday having a fine time, making some exposures. The sky was ideal, the trees were still bare, traffic was light and suddenly I was very happy with my decision to do some work. See how that happens?
I took New Jersey 49 back towards home. Up off to my right I saw the looming Salem water tower and began to look for someway to incorporate it into a photo. I turned a corner looked to my right and there it was, laid out perfectly. These moments happen to every photographer sooner or later. A scene presents itself to you. A scene so perfect you can scarcely believe it. Of course, sometimes we are presented with a perfect scene and the resulting photographs don’t measure up. Somehow we missed whatever it was that made us stop in the first place. I was determined not to let that happen. I parked and began to work the scene.
There are very rare times when I am filled with exhilaration when I am shooting. When every element has been placed just for me, and if I act quickly and smartly I can have what I want. I used every lens, walked every possible path, shot from every possible vantage point made use of every angle using every sensible exposure combination and after 30 minutes or so came to the conclusion that I had what I needed. I made a few more stops on the way home finally parking in the driveway after dark, much later than I had intended. All in all a perfectly worthwhile shoot. I made the time to practice my craft, and brought home some exposures that I think really hit the note.
The congregation has disappeared, scattered to the four winds; the preacher left town, on to different pastures. The walls of the church stand.
America is covered in churches. Colossal cathedrals and simple wooden structures, they are everywhere; every denomination, every sort of building style, all up and down every road and country lane. I am moved to photograph the handmade churches. These buildings are folk art, built to hold the Mighty Power Of God in a modest and fragile package. Once, I am certain, the builders of these churches kneeled and prayed and knew that salvation would be theirs. If you listen carefully, on the right kind of day, you can hear the choir singing and the preacher preaching, hands clapping in unison bringing it all back home, another church on another American highway.