Making a photograph is symbolic. It’s a representation, and in that, it stands for something. The picture you create is not the same as the thing you photographed.
What you can plainly see in the photo above is the simple footpath I followed up the dun flank of Cape Ferrelo last week. What makes it more than just a nice picture is the fog, which calms and deepens the scene, and the mere hint of sky that stretches across the crest of the hill (click on the photo to see detail).
As a metaphor, the photo also expands out and speaks about my feelings and experience. It’s a simple composition, but one loaded with suggestion. Someone has created that path, but they aren’t now present. I am, and like them I’m drawn to the receding horizon. From below, unseen, comes the sound of muted tympani and cymbals of a restless ocean. Having never walked this trail before, each turn is new to me and reveals a small secret. My vision blurs, almost imperceptibly, as moisture in the air condenses on my glasses.
I arrived at several conclusions during my photographic expedition down the southern Oregon coast last week, which included my stroll up this grassy knoll. A few thoughts worth keeping came through the viewfinder of my camera. Wild Oregon always inspires, taking me higher, but it can also unexpectedly take me deeper. That’s what this little path did. Those are the moments I wait for, never quite sure when and where they'll arrive.