I went out to the southwest corner of the island, looking for open space. I had an ideal in mind... wind and only wind, a sense of isolation, desolation even... no person and no creature... nothing but emptiness... all the way to Antarctica.
I didn't get that. I got Wilson and Molly, out and about for the first time after the blizzard. Like cats on a keyboard, they wanted to be exactly where I was putting my attention. They stayed in front of the camera, inserted themselves everywhere.
I walked up the hill toward the stone wall... got beyond the dogs and their infernal footprints... got a cleaner shot... more like the ones I had planned.
Then I walked further and found the shapes the wind had made when it blew against and through the wall.
I love this shot. I love the barely perceptible patterns in the snow, the delicate colors at the beginning of sunset.
Wilson and Molly were right behind me...snuffelling their noses into the snow, grabbing each others' collars, rolling on their backs, wiggling their legs in the air. So I'm not saying this image isn't true... it's just that it's not all there was in the landscape.
Some people say that there should always be a "heartbeat" in a picture. Some animal or person... a way to relate the picture to another living thing. But there is always a heartbeat - whether it is explicitly in the picture or not. There is always the person behind the camera, and then, later on, there is someone looking at the picture, hopefully feeling that she or he can be part of it as well.
I like to show the one thing I loved the most at the time I was taking the picture. I like tokeep the extra things out of the way. I find, after many years of living with my pictures, that I do better with the pictures that only say one thing. A story telling picture..."Here's the church and here's the steeple... open the doors and see all the people." gets used up. I think I know the story already and so I stop looking. A picture that gives one thing... some light, some power, some feeling... I can live with that for a long time.
That said, there is also a danger in reaching too far....getting all self-conscious and making everything too controlled and planned and precious, as if reality isn't good enough.
It's so close to the Winter Solstice, the sun is setting almost as far to the south as it can at this latitude. Montauk Point on Long Island is to the west. It's there on the horizon. And to the south, there is nothing until Antarctica, just like I said. Well, nothing, except for Burmuda and of course except for Wilson and Molly, and their footprints...A little less perfection...a little more completion...a little more about all of the life that was there that evening.