“Living Water”, Fine Art Landscape photograph.

Living Water, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

Purchasing information for this fine art landscape photograph

This elegant fine art landscape photograph was a product of persistence  and exploring spirit.  After pouring over topographic maps of Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness Area, I noticed an area with steep contour lines the potentially had live water flowing through the area.  I’d never explored that area and an adventure was born!  The area was remote and well off of the beaten path.  During explorations  like this, I alert friends and family of my whereabouts prior to my adventure. In this instance, while searching for, “living water”, I wasn’t actually certain of where my destination was going to be.  Situations like this make me a bit uneasy in that If I suffered an injury for various reasons, no-one would know where to find me.  Regardless, the urge to explore was overwhelming.

I started early in the morning and by mid afternoon, I’d found the drainage basin I was after and I was enthralled!  I’d never found this little stream.  For that matter, no on e I know have ever explored this little stream, it was fantastic!  I was invigorated, fully alive!  To quote my daughter, I was “woke”, “lit”!

My new favorite stream had carved out a smooth-walled canyon in the underlying rock, creating a wonderful slick-rock effect.  The terrain was steep, untracked and fraught with potential dangers.  I spent most of my day seeking safe routes to visualize the varying  terrain through which my living water was coursing.  I discovered several different water features that may be worthy of my Ebony 4×5 film camera, AKA, the “Big Rig”.  On exploratory excursions, I rarely bring my 4×5 camera and associated gear because it adds 45lbs to my pack weight.  When I first gazed upon the emerald and gold pool you see in Living Water, I was mesmerized.  I experienced  technicolor enchantment.  The burbling of the small falls above the pool soothed the senses, as did the smooth walls of the surrounding canyon and the pools glassy outflow pattern. The varying flow patterns of the stream brought life to the submerged  rocks submerged with the depth of the pool.   The water was remarkably clear yet with a tint of cyan which filtered the stream-worn rocks.   I vowed to return with the “Big Rig”.

Return I did, the very next day.  This composition proved to my more technical than I’d anticipated.

Living Water, Capture of the Fine Art Landscape Photograph

Return, I did, with my 4×5 film camera and associated gear in tow.  the adventure was far more arduous with the added weight of my large format camera equipment.  I re-found “Living Water” and went to work.  I eventually selected the composition you see here, which emphasizes the depths of the pool, the glassy outflow as well as the water’s edge.  I could have stared at the scene through the ground-glass of my large format camera all day long, it was enlivening.  I exposed a LOT of money on film which would be followed by a LOT of money for processing.  My processed 4×5 sheet film was returned to me 10 days after I had originally int it off for processing.  The results were good….but not good enough.  Magnified examination of my transparencies showed some intolerable areas of soft-focus an over-blurred water pattern which obscured the magical depths of the pool, thereby negating one of the most alluring elements of the image.  I vowed to return but…. my plans were were temporarily foiled as heavy snow had since fallen in the area of my magical pool altering water flows and making backcountry access more difficult.  My return would have to wait until the next calendar year, which would be 2017.  Patience is no try strong suit but during my career as a landscape photographer, I have tried to embrace it.  My first return trip in 2017 was unrewarding due to heavy stream -flow.  The wonderful technicolor rocks in the pool’s depths were almost entirely obscured by flowing water patterns.  My second return trip was fantastic.  Weather and lighting were optimal, as a high-overcast sky eliminated contrasty shadows yet allowed for a relatively quick exposure time for this technically demanding composition.

I zoned in on my preferred composition, patiently( still not easy for me!) waited as flotillas of pine needles streamed through my Living Water and eventually captured the image you see here!

I feel like this image introduces  a new chapter of my work as a fine art photographer.  This image’s elegant lines, soothing feel tell a story and carries the viewer through a brief but enlightening adventure.  I cannot wait until the first big print of this image arrive and I can officially share it  at my next big art exhibit.

Thanks for Sharing my Adventure,

Mike Putnam

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *