I see these things with an intense joy,
and while I observe, there is no observer, only a beauty almost like love.
For an instant, I am absent, myself and my problems, my anxieties, my troubles,
nothing but the wonder exists.
This poem is a word-painting of how I felt in the dance of capturing this photograph at sunset on Schoodic Point at Maine’s Acadia National Park. It had been a long day of driving, hiking, scouting locations. My daughter Helena and I had been to this spot earlier that day, in harsh, bright light. Then, the pinks in the granite were hidden by the sun’s sharp glare. But we got back for sunset. As the sun was dropping below the horizon, the eastern sky charged up its soft pink glow, blushing these granite rocks, staggering a cracked rugged pathway to heaven before us.
For several minutes as the sun was setting I quickly jumped from spot to spot, setting my tripod, arranging compositions in my camera’s viewfinder. You’d have thought me a mad scientist or a skittish mountain goat. But I knew the light was changing quickly, that each minute brought new shapes and colors into presence for my wondrous black box to record for later viewing and digital development. And in all of this, I was an extension of the camera, or, it was an extension of me? Like a dancer given a wondrous symphony to move to, I was glad I had practiced my steps. I moved from composition to composition, arranging the shapes and lens zoom, adjusting focus and exposure by feel. My fingers had learned where to poke and push, and my ears had learned to listen for the peeps and pops, confirming the camera’s syncopation with my artistic vision.
For that instant, my worries and troubles drop away, replaced by the joy and love before me. My gratitude is unspeakable. My self dissolves at the wonder.