Wednesday, March 14, 2012

See With Your Heart

Have you ever looked at a scene, whether first-hand or in a photograph, that evoked an emotional response? There was just something that made you happy or sad or unsettled; you may not have even known why or been able to say just what it was in the picture that made you feel that way.But you knew it was there.

Unless the camera was wielded by someone looking strictly to document a moment - which can yield beautiful pictures, no doubt - those that evoke emotion are special. Even when they are not technically perfect the emotion comes through to the viewer.

Several years ago I decided to take the short drive up to the shore of Lake Ontario to the little town of Pultneyville. There's a beautiful park there called Foreman Park right on the shore. It had been a warm early spring day with a few clouds in the sky and I knew that sunset would be beautiful along the water. I walked along the paths and among the trees and swings and picnicking families looking for the perfect spot to catch some of the golden light as sunset got closer. At the far western end of the park the trail swings around a small curve in the shoreline and there are benches along it, probably put there just so you could stop and watch the sunsets.

Lonely View
Despite all the people in the park, probably because it was getting darker and they were mostly interested in picking up their gear and gathering up their children, the trails were empty. I left the trail and moved away from the water even though I didn't think I would find a good vantage point for the sunset. But as I looked back at the trail, towards the last bit of warm light, there was a bench - empty - looking out over the water. Maybe it was the fading light, or perhaps the still leafless trees looming over the bench; but the whole scene seemed kind of sad and lonely.

I moved around to get the best combination of sky, trees and bench. The little cloud in the upper right corner caught some great colors that I wanted to make sure I captured. But no matter where I moved I couldn't get rid of the distracting little branches and bushes in front of the bench and it was way too fussy trying to remove them in post. In the end, thankfully, they seemed not to matter too much to the emotional impact of the final picture.

I'm sure thousands of people had sat on that bench to watch sunsets over the years. Some young, some old; all of them with a story. In the last light of a spring day it seemed that all of those stories were hanging over that bench. The only witnesses to the beautiful end of another in the endless march of days.


Charles Perez said...

Data: f/4.0 at 1/280 sec, ISO 400.
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S5000.
Date: 04/28/2005.

Brenda Ockun said...

"Unsettled" is the word that comes to mind. Perhaps because the photo reminds me of a place on the water I retreat to when I'm feeling...unsettled. Another beautiful shot, Charles.