The other day I was feeling like a bit "homesick" of the USA. I am far from being american, and we never lived there, but it is true that as I suppose happens to everyone hooked with the outdoors, a visit to that region of the planet tends to leave scars in your mind... I was taking a look at some "old" shots we took there some three years ago and I found this one. It is amazing how many souvenirs an image can draw to our minds. This is sometimes a big foe for the photographer, as any attempt of being objective fails when selecting and displaying images.
That day, we were arriving for the first time in our life to Zion NP when we saw this tiny tree from the road. At that time, the sun was setting and i was really struck by the beauty of the environment and its graphical qualities. We stopped dead the car, and run. The sun was literally sinking below the surrounding hills, and I guesses we had less than one minute of light. Normally I like previsualizing images, going to the place again and again, waiting and then pressing the shutter. This image however falls into the totally opposite category: the image finds you instead of the other way around. We saw this, we run, we had a minute to make the image, the light was gone before I could take a second shot, and after that i never visited the place again.
In terms of composition, the image is build on three strong elements: The texture and graphical character of the foreground gives interest and tons of depth, the lonely tree in the distance gives a striking focal point, and the cloud formations add drama in the sky and outline the silhouette of the little tree to make it stand out. A number of diagonals criss-cross the image adding dynamism, movement and depth: the layers of the foreground, the left side peak in the background and the mid-distance slope which points to the little tree.
I decided for a black and white conversion to eliminate the layer of information given by colour. Even if this was taken at the very end of the day and the light was glorious in colour, i thought the message was most of all about textures, lines and drama. This is an image about dynamism, energy, barren place and bare elements in a naked environment. Black and white went well with that in my opinion. It also adds a timeless feeling to the image...
I think it is about time we pay another visit to that incredible part of the US... Thanks for reading, and great light to you all,