The first ever Bear Lake Photo Seminar was a great success, with over 50 people attending and lots of participation. Harley blogged a great wrap-up of the workshop. I was struck by how few gearheads I met; these folks were much more interested in making photos. And I was deeply impressed by the hand-out the organizers distributed, which mapped out a number of interesting photo locations in the Montpelier area. If only I had had such a document when I was starting out on the Highway 89 project. Ross Walker said they are going to make the workshop an annual event, and next year should be even better. The Bear Lake region has been mostly, and undeservedly, a locals-only photography destination. Hopefully the Sharpshooters Camera Club can change that.
In my presentation, I talked about how this project has impacted my photography. One of the points I made was that, to tell the US89 story, sometimes I have had to return to the same location many times to get the image I wanted. I must have stopped at this church dozens of times, but the light was only right once. Even if I didn’t make a picture, I was thinking about the image I wanted, learning that essential skill of previsualization that Ansel Adams always went on about.
The flipside of the story is the picture that can’t be made anymore. I show a couple of images where the subject has been so dramatically altered, the image can’t be made today. One of my (unblogged as yet) grain elevators was dismantled, board by board, five months after I photographed it. The famous haystacks in Jackson, Wyoming, aren’t being stacked any more; the ranch has the big balers now. I am so glad I got the Ovid Ward shot when I did, because the back windows have plywood on them today. You can visualize it, can’t you? The image won’t ever be the same.
Then there are the images I didn’t make in time, the particular piece of neon in Ogden, the rusty fuel tank in Piute County, and more I still lament. Either the light wasn’t right, or I didn’t think I had time to stop, or some other reason that I don’t recall. I only remember the previsualized image I won’t ever have. That’s a harder lesson about working on projects, to do it now, before the bulldozer takes it away.