This is a variant of a photograph published on this blog in 2016, but I came across it recently and wanted to take a second run in post-production; there were some color aberrations and soft-focus issues I thought I could improve upon. This was taken in January of last year while I was driving around south of Kansas City. As a general rule, photographers are trained not to photograph into the sun, but there are definitely times when it makes sense to break the rules. Getting this lovely silhouette of a single tree with a mercurial cloud-scape behind it took several tries before getting it right, but I am incredibly pleased with the final result.
Living in the southwest, people always ask me what Kansas was like – or, more accurately, they assume that Kansas is as bland as it’s Wizard of Oz depiction. Living in a valley surrounded by four great mountain ranges here in Tucson, the assumption is that Kansas is flat and boring, which isn’t entirely an inaccurate assessment – the plains states possess an incredibly subtle beauty and you have to have the right eyes to appreciate it.
I’m hoping today’s image is an expression of that beauty that folks can appreciate, regardless of where they hang their hat and what state they call home.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
~Leonardo da Vinci
Yes, it’s a da Vinci quote, even though most modern folks attribute it to filmmaker George Lucas.
The beauty of photography is that abandonment of the constructed or witnessed moment must, by its very nature, be abandoned. There’s no room for conventional fantasy in photography – the object or scene exists, it is photographed, and it will not be repeated in the exact same way ever again. Models age, landscapes slowly change, perspectives shift. I could try, for one hundred years, to mimic the exact image at the top of this post, and I could get close – but I could never replicate it perfectly.
Photography is the best reminder that time is real, and cannot be stopped (even when captured).