Target practice, outside Jackson, California, 2008
As we drove through the lovely natural forests that surround the town of Jackson, we discovered an incongruous sight – a shooting range. Humans come into the heart of the natural world here to practice their aim. They shoot at a targets made of debris and leave the shattered remnants behind. Using a wideangle lens, I contrast this human litter box to the green forests and blue skies of the natural world.
Ruined store, Volcano, California, 2008
Volcano is a tiny village dating back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s. Many of its original buildings are still standing, but I found the ruins of the community store the most beautiful of its subjects. It was late in the day, and the setting sun was backlighting the weeds that stood within the walls of the ruin. The door framed the translucent weeds, which contrast to the textures of the old gate and stone walls. A tree grows out of the doorsill, while ivy covers the top of the wall. Nature has come to reclaim the work of man here, and does so in a poetic manner.
Under the rainbow, Fairfield, California, 2008
It is seldom we see a horizontal rainbow embedded in a layer of clouds. Yet when we took a driving break in Fairfield on the way back to the San Francisco Bay Area from California’s Gold Country, this was the sight that greeted us. The rainbow by itself would be a marvelous image, rich both in color and symbolism. Yet Fairfield also lies in the flight path of nearby Travis Air Force Base, and so we waited for one of its huge transport planes to approach the rainbow, allowing us a chance to link the plane, a work of man, to the rainbow, a work of nature. A plane soon approached and we made an image of it, but its flight path carried it well below the rainbow. Later, using Photoshop, I adjusted the position of the plane, placing it just underneath the rainbow. Normally, I do not like to shift subject position digitally. Yet in this case, the essential facts were already there – the rainbow and the plane were both in my picture. Just as I would freely crop an image to shift a subject within the frame if need be, I felt this situation justified using Photoshop’s clone tool to modify the position of the plane within the frame in order to link it more closely to the rainbow. However, I would always make sure to let my viewers know that the image has been digitally adjusted in this manner. To fail to do so in a work of travel photography, nature photography or photojournalism would be, in my own view, unethical.