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Wyman-meadow, Walden

Water-shields And Sky Reflections
JW 4059 8x10 rs F3 f ss

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Tour of image 4059

There is memorable and there is unforgettable.

This day has proven beyond unforgettable for the conditions that produced these images never happened again in the ten additional years I photographed around Walden Pond. I visited each year in the course of photographing for my book,The Illuminated Walden. In rainy years, the pool would overflow with few water-shields. In dry years it could be just mud. In normal years there might or might not be a reasonable flourishing of water-shields.

However, about noon, on October 19, 1991 I was on the Pike looking for images when what was then a forgettable suddenly came to mind and I packed up and headed to Walden Pond. (Maps and such are on the page “Wyman Meadow.”)

I took the same hike as in April and came to a small pond opposite Thoreau’s Cove. It is the last image below. I took note of some glimmers in the water but decided to look around the area a bit more. Just a little further on was the site where Thoreau had built his cabin and I thought it deserved a look.

After an hour or two I remembered the glimmers.

From a distance they did not seem especially dramatic, but I planted my tripod on the edge of the pond, chose my lens and looked on the ground glass.

This one moment enompassed all of the reasons why I photographed. It seems now something like “From Glimmer to Glory.” I don’t remember the exact first view, but I do know that I recognized that what I hunted for was there by the well trod path.

The water-shields were mixtures of green and purple and scattered in many packs, some dense and others sparce, around the whole pool with their tangled roots somewhat visible. But what made all the difference was what was happening on the north side of the pond where small fall trees were beautifully lit by the mid-afternoon sun and reflected in the water nicely surrounding the water-shilds with various shades of orange but leaving room for reflections of the blue sky.

I like to compose with only a subtle center of interest while leaving just enough structure to guide the eye. The arrangements of water-shields was perfect for dozens of images. I forgot about a meeting back at my gallery and exposed every sheet of film I had with me.

The image Water-shilds And Sky Reflections (formerly and erroniously, Water-lilies And Sky Reflections) has hung opposite me at our informal dining table as a 32" x 40" print on water-color paper for 15 years. I have come to appreciate it more over the years. Recently we were listening to Robert Schuman’s Piano Concerto and I noticed that the strokes of water-shields had a remarkable resemblance to the phrasing in one part of the concerto.

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