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Soul of Oregon

 

Soul of Oregon -- Photo  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com

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A year after I photographed Whispers of Autumn I returned to the Santiam River to do more photography in the area.  The fall colors that year (2002)  were especially vibrant.  I brought a new friend, Kam Barron, with me and coached her on some techniques to look for light and experiment with different subjects.  Besides the photography we had wonderful conversations and the days passed quickly.  

The stream scene above is the result of four days of work.  After looking at the film from the first two days there were some pleasing results but I felt there was just a bit more intensity and life that could be coaxed from the reflections of fall leaves on the water.  Over the next two days I adjusted exposure, camera position, and composition to achieve this result, while rushing to beat the rapidly drying leaves and approach of windy weather.  Two days after this photo was taken a windstorm put an end to the beauty for at least another year.  

The prismatic colors on the surface of the water are transparent in spots, allowing the eye to see beneath the surface.  There is a supernatural quality to the image that leaves me in awe of nature's power to manipulate light, and humbled by the good fortune I had to glimpse it, even for a moment.  In my search for the meaning of this image, I suddenly realized it embodies much of the land of Oregon.  Water forms our climate and green forests, and nurtures the salmon.  The reflections of the trees are part of the water, along with the sun that illuminates all.  The blue of the sky is also reflected on the river and rocks, and the streambed, the rocks, and the moss that grows on them symbolize the land itself.  Viewing this image and understanding what it means is like the moment when I connect with another person's soul, and how I arrived at the title.  

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Info:  Chromira digital print of Velvia 4x5 chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper
 

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