Photographers have a love of spontaneity.
An image captured with just a single click.
Just that one single click that freezes time.
But, I am a photographer who shares that love of spontaneity with a love of returning to the past, to places I have been before. A lonely beach in Polynesia. The ruins of an ancient castle in Austria. The sense memory of perfume wafting over a field of lavender in Provence. Pondering the music of the stones at an ancient Native American site.
So, it is with the thought of revisiting and reacquainting myself that I return to Oregon every Fall. I return to revisit my sensory memories and to renew them.
I load up my 4wd and head out, up to Oregon for a four day shoot. Fall seems to have come early this year. There’s a definite bite in the air and the birds are sparse. They’ve headed south weeks ago, leaving just a few hungry strays lingering.
I stop frequently to see the ocean, venturing out on the towering cliffs. The mist has a chill in it, a salty taste of the approaching winter.
I drive a narrow coastal route, remote and still. I stop for lunch and to wade the tide pools that are tucked like pockets into the bottom of the cliffs. Nestled into remote beaches and caves, they glimmer like dark jewels protected by towering walls.
I head inland, passing miles of trees. Their leaves have turned a fiery red as per the seasonal decree of Mother Nature. They stand in stark contrast to to the dark and gloomy day that surrounds us.
On the third day, I came upon an amazing tree. I had to capture it.
An ancient Japanese Maple, it was in the final days of a glorious and fiery display, a spectacular collage of deepening autumn hues. It stood like a timeless patriarch in a secret garden of scarlet and crimson, it’s beautiful branches bending like the arms of a dancer.
The challenge now was in finding the light. The day was overcast and dark like all the mornings so far. It was chilly and damp, dark and gloomy. It was nothing like the blazing tree in front of me.
I studied the best way to bring to light the magestic stature of grace and strength of this iconic tree. I juggled my camera from a hundred different angles, hoping that some sun would seep in from somewhere. There just was not enough light.
And , as I was trying to capture the image from all these angles, an amazing thing happened.
The sun broke throught with a beam of pure white light.
I felt a shudder, a sense of elation.
Something magical had just happened.
It was Brilliant, my latest release.
I awoke to find myself in a strange land, far away from my Southern Utah roots.
I was on a European shoot, planning to cover about fifteen hundred miles or so. I went to my window and gazed out to the Southern Aegean, out onto the bluest of blue seas, 120 miles south of the mainland of Greece.
Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic eruption that occurred three or four million years ago. It is a place of great beauty and history. I grab a quick coffee and my gear and head out for a trek up to the top of the city.
And I say up because I am staying near the harbor and the rest of the city is above me. Far above me.
Actually, the whole town is really a harbor of sorts. The city clings to the top of a cliff, looking down on a lagoon. The lagoon flows through a break in the sea wall and boats sail in and out.
I start my trek up, pausing at intervals to view a calm sea below. The pace of life in Greece is slow but constant, children dart in and out of alleys, women carry their groceries on a long slow walk home. A fish monger leans out his door, enticing me with a fresh caught octopus. A few men are talking, laughing, arguing about a lamb being barbecued at a small taverna , sipping their first glass of wine of the day. I stop and chat along the way, engaging myself in their conversations. I laugh at their observations and comment on a chess move or two.
This is Greece.
Slow but energetic, it’s pace a seeming contradiction.
But, my journey is singular and I return to hiking the narrow streets , up to the top to capture the City from a perch high above. I am determined. Determined to make it to the top to catch the early evening view. To see the sea of legends in the moonlight.
It is said that the island was formed after a huge volcanic explosion several million years ago. And this Big Daddy of volcanoes caused the entire Minoan Civilization to perish. Known as Thera, her fury is thought to have been responsible for the legend of the lost city of Atlantis.
By the time I have climbed to the top, the sky is dark. The sky is as blue as velvet can be, it presides over this ancient city and frames the harbor with a matching cloak.
The domes of Santorini dance across the rooftops like little blue hats. A place as old as time but yet as lively and timely as today. I glance down at people walking and at boats bobbing on the bay…a bay with winds that seem to laugh at the land above.
I have been to Greece many times and I know the ancient stories and legends surrounding the place. And , I feel their presence up here.
Standing on top of the World.
Standing on top of Santorini.
I survey the City below, knowing immediately where I can capture my image. I find it in my lense. And then, click. There it is.
My Santorini captured in time.
I began my trek back down those cobbled steps. But in the distance, I smell the faint aroma of a familiar lamb on a spit.
Peak fall color arrived in southern Utah this week above 8000 feet but there was a grim forecast, calling for oodles of heavy rain. Feeling optimistic I set out with my gear knowing that if the snow level dropped, I could get fruit loops color together with a fresh mantle of snow.
I got on the road to the Kolob Terrace and started to climb.
The road got snowier.
The fog and low clouds made pea soup.
That wasn’t gonna work so I blindly continued on until I reached 9000 ft.
A stand of aspens suddenly appeared mixed with every color of the rainbow.
There was an Aspen stacked fence, perfectly positioned, completing the composition.
These days it is oh so rare when earthly elements align themselves
and speak “ this is art”.
William Carr Gallery
No, the guy above isn’t an extra from the musical HAIR – it’s yours truly, back when I believed that true vision could change the world.
I still do.
As a regular feature on this blog, I’ve decided to present some of my earlier works of when I was starting out as a photographer. Thought it might prove to be an interesting visual timeline of my evolving techniques and style.
For the first image in this series, I’ll shine a light on The Portal, an image created, literally, very early on in my career.
The Portal belongs to the kind of image that I like to call ‘table top photography’. Early on, I would use everyday household items to create images that would help to learn key photographic principles such as lighting, depth of field, composition, etc. – and The Portal is a perfect example.
For this shot, I used a piece of white dryer vent hose, about 4 inches in diameter. Suspending it using wire coat hangers, I directed a red light bulb and a blue light bulb on the outside of the hose. In the background, I created a space field with a black art board with tiny pin holes for stars and pencil-colored velum paper for the planets.
I then took the shot in two exposures; the first was with the tube with the colored lights, the second was with the colored lights turned off but with a white light directed toward the camera thereby illuminating the tiny pin holes which simulated the stars and planets. The camera lens, incidentally, was just inside the tube demonstrating depth of field.
There you have it. Space, that infinite final frontier, recreated on a table top!
Thanks for taking the journey back with me. Check back often: I’ll dip down memory lane again soon.
Hello fellow art lovers,
We’re ramping up some pretty nifty editorial features that will soon appear on World Focus, William Carr’s official blog chain. Here are just some of the items that you’ll find here:
Just days ago, William was approached by a young couple, the Warwases, who recently purchased God’s Eye at the William Carr Gallery at Planet Hollywood. Recognizing William from the gallery, the couple talked about their plans to showcase their recent acquisition in their home, and asked if they could take a photo with the photographer. William, of course, was all too happy to oblige. Inspired by this event, we’ve decided to highlight YOUR stories on this blog. If you’ve been touched emotionally by William’s masterworks in any way, we’d love to hear about your Connection so we can ultimately share your story with our readers. To submit, just send your stories and photos to email@example.com.
Regularly in Behind the Scenery, we’ll showcase one of William’s works, giving you exclusive insight and access into the personal story behind the image. Read and learn all about the photographer’s creative process here.
For the first time ever, we’re giving readers a chance to get directly involved in William’s creative process: shortly, we’ll publish one of William’s as-yet-untitled image and invite you to submit a title that best embodies the spirit of the image. The winning entry will be chosen among all entrants, and the winner of the challenge will receive a copy of World Focus Volume One, a hardbound fine art book of William Carr’s photography that reflects the nature of our World and serves as an exclusive testament to William’s phenomenal 25-year journey.
We’re currently in the process of selecting our untitled image which we’ll announce very shortly. Here’s what you can do to prepare for the challenge: First, visit and “like” our Facebook page. We’ll publish our untitled image and send all of our Facebook fans a heads up. Then, just submit your title to firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to win World Focus Volume One.
Check back here often for exclusive first looks at new releases, future events, William Carr Gallery happenings, and much more.
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