Sunlight pierces the canopy and illuminates a vine maple in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.
Forest scenes are very challenging for me. To find simplicity in chaos takes a special way of seeing. It takes a certain mood.. a cohesiveness with my environment.
I had been walking the forest for nearly two hours looking for a scene that I could be satisfied with. I just couldn't do it. Friends I was shooting with were photographing scenes that I had walked past and didn't even consider and they would come up with something really nice. I wasn't in that zone. I was flustered. Pissed.
Frustrated, I gave up on the forest and walked towards the creek for a consolation photo while my friends retired to the meeting area for beers, conversation, and good company. I HAD to get at least something I could consider a keeper.
We had great light all day long. The thick canopy diffused the harsh light into yellows and greens. It lit up the vine maples and moss. The weather was perfect. The situation was perfect. Great conditions, good friends, nature, my camera.. and yet here I was in a sour mood.
As I took off towards the creek I saw one last stand of vine maple trees and figured 'Why not?'. I walked over, sat down, put the sun in a place where it would cause this sunstar effect, and this is the scene I saw. This was it. This was my shot.
I only had a couple of minutes before the sun disappeared behind the branch and I lost this composition. I set up, checked my settings, and started shooting. I finally started to feel good. I found the yin to my yang and it was represented in the tree shape.
Needless to say.. my friends saw me walking back up with the biggest smile on my face. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.