A word about what I’m up to here. I make no claim to photographic prowess. I’m just a point & shoot chimp with a cheap cellphone camera. Something catches my eye and I point my phone at it; given my aging eyesight and outdoor reflections, I can rarely get a good look at the image on the screen. There may be adjustments the camera can make, for brightness and focus and such, but so far I am totally unaware of them. So what the camera sees and registers is what I get, with very little control involved.
And then there’s that annoying digital delay, aside from my uncertain touch on the “shutter.” If Cartier-Bresson’s photographic creed could be summed up in “the decisive moment,” then mine can be expressed as “the indecisive moment.” More randomness, less art.
All the decisions come after the fact, as I winnow the images down. There’s a first cut when I connect phone to computer, deleting all the obvious misses. Then after transferring to computer, I do another selective cut. Then I go through the remainder repeatedly, matching shots against each other for binary choices – this stays, that is deleted. Then I go through again, cropping or digitally tweaking photos as needed, meanwhile developing the through-line of the photo essay. Then I upload the survivors to WordPress, create a gallery sequence, and add captions.
The aim is to document one of the central preoccupations of my life – walking in nature – and to take advantage of its repetitive nature, in order to create a record of favorite walks and places in various seasons. From prolonged experience, I know where and when to find many natural delights in the northern Berkshires, so I can go there at the right time to catch their flourishing.
I don’t know nearly as much about the Mount Greylock region as Thoreau knew about Concord, but the impulse is the same, to see a lot in a little place, a world in small, infinity in an infinitesimal space. I seek transports and transcendence close to home, in the here and now, in the near and dear.
Which brings us to this spontaneous little photo-essay, in an adventitious moment when long-awaited rain sprouted mushrooms in a familiar spot alongside the driveway. I saw them first one afternoon, then again the next morning, and then they were gone again. But I was there to catch their passage. Please join me in regarding the humble, evanescent beauty of the world as it is.