FOREST IN SPRING, HAPPY ISLES, YOSEMITE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Due to the amount of very fine detail in this image, and the digital image file limitations of our online store host, it is a greater challenge than usual to accurately convey the subtlety of tone in the original print as you view this on your electronic device.
Springtime in Yosemite can be a wonderful rejuvenating experience. This photograph, Forest in Spring, Happy Isles, Yosemite Valley, California was made in April 1989. On this visit to Yosemite, I had photographed at Happy Isles a few days earlier. Happy Isles is one of many places that I like to visit more than once when I am in Yosemite Valley. On this day, the small green buds had erupted into a verdant lime green "bouquet" of fresh leaves. I began exploring with my viewing frame trying to arrange a scene that I had studied a few days earlier. As I pondered the possibilities with my viewing frame, simulating different focal length lenses, I was surprised when I decided on my camera position and the use of my 75mm wide-angle lens - the widest lens I owned for my 4x5 view camera at the time.
I wanted to try and create an image that would invite the viewer into the scene rather than observing the scene from a distance. The camera position was very critical. An inch to the left or a small distance to the right created visual challenges. I wanted the trees to appear tall, so I chose a lower camera position. Over the years, having shown this photograph to a number of people, most viewers do not sense that it was made with a wide-angle lens. Partly this is because I very carefully leveled the camera when setting it up, but honestly it was simply good fortune. The tree trunks and limbs that were closest to the camera were somewhat diminutive in size. Their size was exaggerated by their proximity to the wide-angle lens. Most of the tree trunks in the distance were huge, so there was a "normalization" of scale that occurred that was totally beyond my control.
I thought a green filter would lighten them most effectively, and I made two identical negatives with my Wratten #11 green filter. I then decided to look through my Wratten #8 yellow filter as a comparison. To my surprise, it appeared as if the yellow filter might lighten the leaves even more, so I made two additional identical exposures with that filter. It was only when I made the contact sheet of all four negatives that I could see that indeed the unlikely yellow filter candidate had produced an image that was closer to my visualization. I made careful notes in the field at the time so that I could learn from this experience. Since then, when working in the spring in that portion of Yosemite Valley with fresh green leaves, I reach for my yellow filter with confidence.
Once I complete the prints I need to make at this time, the negative will be retired for traditional silver printing, and will never again be printed in any size as a silver gelatin print.
This silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is approximately 13 x 10-5/16", personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and matted to 16x20" on 100 percent rag museum board. Due to the amount of extremely fine detail in this image, it is a greater challenge than usual to accurately convey the subtlety of tone in the original print as you read this on your electronic device.
All prints are carefully prepared and packaged in specially designed protective shipping boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground.
Normally there is a long waiting period for John's original prints. This is a rare opportunity to obtain a print with a short waiting period.