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
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