Sunday, December 4, 2011

the story behind a single photograph in Counting on the Woods

post #64
Kyle in the sycamores

section 4 of the essay Snapshots of the work on Counting on the Woods:


      Every photograph comes with a story, but this one, the penultimate photo in the book and in the taking, Kyle in two trees, this one has a saga.  My work of hands and eyes is now to be in these words.
      Think Tuesday night -- only five days before I had to finish the book.  I realized the light would be great, but by the time I called Kyle, his mom said he was "out."  Wednesday morning, he agreed to come over to my place if I could pick him up at 7:45 that evening.  But when I drove over to his house, a mile away, no one was home!  Looking around for him did give me the chance to make note of a pair of sycamore trees growing on the downhill side of the tobacco field behind his house.
      From my journal, written the next day:  "The evening was again light lovely.  I came home, did the equipment collage photo at the pond with [my son] Eric and [his girlfriend,] Emily, then I phoned Kyle.  He was home by now, alone, but 'too tired' to come over.  [Help!]   [Because] I had seen his sycamore trees earlier.... I asked him if it would be all right if we came over there instead.  OK, he said.  I hollered at Eric, and we three raced to get there.  By now it was 8:20 p.m. [in mid-July.]  Once Kyle located his shoes and his blue jacket -- always worn for the photos -- Eric helped him get up in the tree while I set up the tripod in the tobacco field mud, [trying not to damage the young plants.]  Emily held the stuff I would usually place on the ground around me.  
     "I tried several perspectives, but didn't think to try overexposing to compensate for the bit of sky in some of the photos."  Then I added in the margin " The light was o.k., but not as wonderful as earlier [that evening.]"
      Eric and Emily went to Lexington the next day, two hours away, with that single roll of film, and they returned with the slides.  Relief and wonder.  The last shot of Kyle is just right for the book.  I love it.  It is luminous.  The light was ideal.  Kyle has a wonderful expression on his face.
      I phoned Kyle right away to tell him that we got what was needed and he didn't have to be in any more photos.  Now all that was left for the weekend was eight trees to go along with the two in the sycamore slide.  It was for the page needing exactly ten trees. Just because I had been thinking that the configuration would be one and nine, had we used our single sycamore, didn't mean I couldn't readjust.  Change happens.  Hey, one picture left, three days to do it in!

NEXT WEEK, section 5, called I Do Have an Other Life.  NOTE: I did an earlier post about Kyle, post #41

      Here are two other sycamore photos, the first a practice shot for the one that was used in the book, and the other a winter scene with our big sycamore tree in the middle; the light comes from our chicken house.

practice shot


chicken house light, with our sycamore in the middle of the photo

1 comment:

  1. That is a great blog. Your description of trying to get together with Kyle, is just "Kyle style." He was his own person!!! I love the part that he was tired! I love all Kyle stories. One of my favorites is: Kyle and Chad (my son) were riding with me to Ky, Dale and Cathy were traveling with us in their white truck. Now that truck had 2 gas tanks, but several times during the 400 mile trip Kyle told me his Dad needed gas. Kyle wanted to stop for whatever reason. Of course we stopped!!! Love that little guy!