An interesting byproduct of my giant photo project is that the rummaging
has helped me uncover a couple of different sets of images that have
been "misplaced" for quite some time now.
I have been searching for the one image for two reasons, first
because I found a quote that I thought was a perfect for it, and
second, because the slide is one of a series that tells one of three
stories, all tied to the same place.
After I scanned the missing image last week I coupled it with the
quote, posted it on my web site, and just didn't quite get to writing
morning dawned unusually warm for November and I decided that I
would head out and try to capture a couple of images before the
fall slipped entirely out of my grasp.
The trees have not had their usual color this year, primarily because
of a drought, and although there have been some beautiful bursts
of color, they have been fleeting and always seem to be at the side
of the freeway as I race past on my way to one thing or another.
I also read something early Saturday morning that caught my eye,
a description of fall by a writer in Belgium, Edelweis,
wrote: "Autumn is growing old. A gray blanket of misty clouds
covers the city today and the tree in front of my window looks sad."
Autumn is growing old. I thought about that line as I headed out
to the park where I often walk, and I figured it would not really
be difficult to illustrate that thought, for here as well as across
the Atlantic, many of the trees have lost all their leaves, and
Autumn stands on it's last legs.
have taken this particular walk around a small lake many times,
and in fact I have quite a selection of images from this very path,
"saved" for the time when I take the time to tell some
of it's stories.
My travels around this particular path took on a special significance
one day late in January of this year. The temperature was, like
this past Saturday, in the 60's, which is highly unusual for that
time of year. I remember as I took my camera in January that it
would be "low drama" day, full of gray clouds and melted
As I walked around the lake however, I decided that I would be
very deliberate in trying to find things of interest to photograph,
a kind of stretching of the photographic eye. It's a lot easier
to work with vibrant color than a landscape of barren trees and
a dull gray sky. Which brings me to the image of the path, colorful
and full of the sights and sounds and smells that are the wonder
Care to know how I got that shot?
I was carrying my very heavy motorcycle jacket on my left shoulder,
and a small camera bag in my left hand. I had just looked at my
watch and said "Oh *#$@, because I realized I was running late
for my son's hockey game. I rounded a curve in the path, saw the
tree, and shot the picture one handed, as my jacket fell to the
I had already been composing, shooting close ups, a little of this
and that, and at the end of the day, how is it that the rapid fire
one-handed image is the one I like the best?
So what's the path got to do with the trail and the perspective?
Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying the following: "Do
not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path,
and leave a trail."
As I got to thinking about the image and the quote, I began to
realize that perhaps some of my fondness for quotes is linked to
our "sound bite" society, and the constant attempt by
both media and advertisers to leave us with a line we will remember.
The image of my footprints was taken in May of 1980, in an area
just outside of Palm Springs known as the San Jacinto State Park
and Wilderness. Covering over 14,000 acres of high country, the
park includes the San Jacinto Summit which looks down on the Palm
Springs valley from an elevation of 10,804 feet.
The view from the high country to the Palm Springs valley floor
is truly one of the most spectacular vistas I have ever seen.
It's even more impressive at night.
Sometimes you see, when you go where there is no path, and you
leave a trail, you just might get lost.
I found out the very hard way, that it's called a wilderness, for
But that will have to be another story, for another day.
Over the weekend I worked on my Fall
Color gallery that has larger images from this page, and you
can see the larger quote image here.