Trees in a field, Vermont
This was certainly one of the high points of a month-long trip through New England in 1985. From a small highway, these trees presented themselves, and I walked over to them with my wife (and part-time assistant) to make the photograph. The title I chose reflects the vital point that there is open space both before and behind them, which is the principal mechanism by which they retain their form despite the loss of the third dimension. A deliberate, mild loss of sharp focus in the background hillside also helps to set the trees off. When I first found them, there were thin clouds dimming the sun to the necessary degree, but by the time the camera was carefully, though frantically, set up, with its groundglass nearly seven feet off the ground (as high as I could get on a flat surface) the clouds had wandered off, as clouds will, and had left a harsh and wholly unsatisfactory scene in their absence. I was in a valley with substantial hills on both sides, and thought at first that my best option would be to wait two hours for the sun to set behind the hills to the west, though this would have given a less than optimum result. The clouds gave the impression of serious recalcitrance, with few about and none likely to cross the sun again this day. After some many minutes, the tiniest of clouds—a mere pea of a thing—wandered eastward, looking at first as though it would give wide berth to the sun. Bit by bit it curved and altered course, passing precisely through the sunlight, and to my complete astonishment darkening the trees the requisite two stops or so. Seeing the ideal conditions, I made about three exposures as fast as my excited hands could gingerly insert new film holders and futz with the shutter. This rendition has been made from the better of two pretty good films.