Laid to Rest

Three Sisters Wilderness

Edition Size: 45
11" X 14"
16" X 20"
20" x  24"
24" x  30"

Volcanic boulders rest in golden autumn grasses

n 1972, astronaut James Irwin deposited a rock from this lava flow onto the moon during the Apollo15 mission.

I photographed ‘Laid to Rest’ at the base of this same lava flow in 1994. I selected the title because of the way the basalt boulders in the foreground tumbled off this large lava dome, came to rest, and over time became surrounded by the beautiful native grasses.

On a personal level, this image title symbolizes my laying to rest a long held behavior of trying too hard to produce results in my life. I was trying to create a photograph about 30 feet from here. No matter how hard I tried, the image was not materializing. Becoming very frustrated, I finally jerked my tripod up in anger and stomped off. The process of physically moving away and releasing my anger actually cleared my vision.

I literally walked twenty feet down the trail and boom, the composition for ‘Laid to Rest’ was revealed to me. I proceeded to set up my camera and fine tune the composition. Lighting had been a big issue all morning and I realized I would need to come back another day when the light was softer and the grasses more golden. I took vertical and horizontal images to confirm the composition and went home.

Over the next 10 days I checked the weather closely. When overcast skies reappeared, the following morning I returned to the lava flow. A gentle mist was falling and as I approached the rocks I was excited to see beautiful golden hues in the grass.

I set up my camera and prepared to expose film. The air was mostly calm. Any wind at all moved the tall slender grasses. With exposures of 4 seconds it required that no wind be blowing at all. To determine when the air had become perfectly still, I focused my attention on my exposed skin. Just before the air was completely calm, I would experience a warming sensation on my face. That was my sign to release the shutter.

At one point I had to stop and cover my camera because the mist became too heavy. A few minutes later I was able to continue and completed my images.

As I packed my equipment, I reflected on the process I had gone through two weeks before. I stood humbled by the experience.


(Worth the wait!)