I went car camping in the high country east and west of the mountains several times last summer. The National Forests are full of unused logging roads all open to the public. It’s very rare to see another car or any people anywhere. We drove up and up through the forests. The trees! They were everywhere, all shapes and sizes. I tried to photograph them, tiny saplings to towering old growth. How to make an image worthy of them intrigues me now. I was driven around (such luxury) with lots of different types of cameras, both film and digital and of course pinhole. I got to shoot all day until it got dark, and then got to make all night long exposures. It is dark up there! And empty. And quiet. And so close to the I-5 corridor that from just about everywhere west of the mountains you can see the light glow of the cities from Tacoma to Vancouver. I am beginning to look at these photographs now and post the early edits here. I won’t name the camera with which I made each image. I will let you try and figure that out.
The trees call to me still, as I sit in my studio, rain and wind outside, and think about those forests: logged and re-logged, scarred with roads and slides and gullies and yet beautiful, teeming with life. A surprising number of old growth exists untouched, tucked way into the dark reaches of the forest. I am lucky that the friend who drove me knew which logging roads looked promising and where to find the old trees. And he knew their names and ages and is as in awe of them as I am.
On the east side of the mountains there is less light from urban areas glowing in the night sky. After dark settles in, the trees towered above us, shadowy and huge, bigger at night than during the day. The stars slid slowly across the sky. I wanted to stay up all night but of course, sleep came quickly and deep in that silence. So here are the first few edits. I tend to shoot and then put the work away for a few months. It needs to settle into my unconscious and I wait for the images to surface and call me to bring them to life. I have just begun to photograph the trees. I am hoping to go back up to the forests this winter, maybe shoot at night with snow on the ground. Let the snow reflect the silence and illuminate the trees.