SPRING ON THE MASS PIKE
IMAGES THAT CHANGED MY VIEW OF HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH
I had started photographing in 1974 with a large format view camera. I did not take lessons because I wanted to find my own way. I started at the top of Mount Mansfield in Vermont, traveled through Colorado and the length of Utah and its numerous iconic national parks. I explored the salt marshes in Swansea, Massachusetts on many Saturday afternoons, and although I was still enthusiastic after seven years, my photography had not become a passion. Until I saw the image that is the first of in this gallery of all places but on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Weston, Massachusetts about a dozen miles from Boston.
There was only a single picture by other photographers that was embedded in my mind, and that was the iconic cover photograph, Redbud Tree in Bottomland by Eliot Porter, the cover photograph of his book Intimate Landscapes.
This image seemed to crystilize what I saw in the Porter image. It had no center of focus, was both complex and simple, had no definite boundaries but two distinct layers: the silver branches of the maple trees, and the orange pointillist buds. I knew I had to make the photograph.
The highway cut through a valley and gave me about one foot on the safe side of the guard rail to place my tripod but it put me at the level of the tree canopy yet close to it, something almost impossible to achieve without a helicopter. I found a place to pull my car off the highway and walked along the narrow bit of land near the guard rail and began photographing which I did at this location, usually in the spring at sunrise and continued for over 10 years.
Eventually I realized that I liked to make my compositions out of ensembles of texture and color, which I did whenever possible. I found a second location on the Pike at
Exit 11 in Millbury. Images from the eastbound entrance ramp at this exit are included in this gallery.