Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Occidental Runners

This picture is my favorite of all the photos I've taken. I took it last year at about this time at Hahamongna Watershed Park when the Occidental cross country team was using the trails for practice. I remember the moment: I saw how perfect the light was, heard the young men coming, aimed my camera and snapped when they galloped around the bend, kicking up the dust.

I wasn't going to post this shot. I was going to enter it in contests or sell it to a magazine. (Still might do that, who knows? Still might crop it some more. Might not.) I did enter it in one contest. It didn't place.

Then I got busy and a year went by (whoosh!) and yesterday the Occidental runners were at Hahamongna again. They were young and serious. They ran hard. But they weren't the same. The light was different. I was different, too.

I could come to conclusions about this
(a photo is an unrepeatable moment)
(art is meant to be shared, not hoarded)
(I'm not objective)

but I'd rather hear your ideas. Have you got something you're keeping, waiting for the right moment to show it? A secret? A surprise? A recipe? A work of art?

Update: checked out the info on the photo. I shot it in September of 2008. I've been holding onto it for two years, not one. Jeez.

34 comments:

Susan Campisi said...

It's a breathtaking photo. Really beautiful, Petrea. I can understand why you wanted to save it for contests and magazines. But oh my how fast a year flies by. I'm glad you decided to post it here. Love your words to describe the moment too, how you "snapped when they galloped around the bend, kicking up the dust."

Kim said...

I can see why, Petrea. What wonderful light you've captured those moving bodies in. This is a wonderful, wonderful image.
-Kim

dive said...

Fantastic photograph, Petrea. Thank you for saving it for us, it was well worth waiting for.

Pascal Jim said...

1001...A subject to emphasize, the Hahamongna Watershed Park...appears that more Shed than water is planned...

Pascal Jim said...

And yes, you snapped the shutter at the right moment...lovely...

Shell Sherree said...

No wonder you're in love with this one, Petrea.

Tash said...

Beautiful image. Caught my eye immediately on the side display. Looks like a master painting - maybe a Wyeth.

Tash said...

PS - been trying to hoard less and less ... it doesn't come naturally. I do have a photo of pelicans soaring that's just great ... been thinking of entering it in a contest ... LOL!

J.J. in L.A. said...

Gorgeous picture!

I've been saving a particular perfume for a "special occasion". The problem is, I don't have special occasions. lol! I've begun to wear it whenever I go out in public, hoping someone tells me that I smell nice. ; )

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautiful photograph. Thanks for showing it.

I still have stuff I save and hold out, but I'm working on sharing more.

Irina said...

Breathtaking photo.
Your texts always make me think.
It took me 40 years to understand that there is no point in keeping the stuff, give it, share and it will feel so good. Other motives are born by our pride, only. I understood it, yes. And follow. Sometimes))

Latino Heritage said...

Susan's right. For me the runners, the light, and the dust at their feet express something of the imperative of the mission. Somehow it feels timeless. I can imagine that they are young men who are Tongva or young member of the "Indiana Colony" running because they need to do so.
Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

Latino Heritage said...

Susan's right. For me the runners, the light, and the dust at their feet express something of the imperative of the mission. Somehow it feels timeless. I can imagine that they are young men who are Tongva or young member of the "Indiana Colony" running because they need to do so.
Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

mark said...

A real gem indeed. It has everything and then some. A good photographer needs a bit of luck too. You were firing on all cylinders that day. Well done.

J+P said...

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


R. Frost, 1923

Petrea said...

Thanks, everyone. Susan, Kim, Dive, Jim, Shell... I'm glad you like it, too. Funny how we get pleasure in these things. I'd have been almost as happy keeping it to myself. Almost.

Tash, let me know if you find a contest. I suppose they're everywhere but I haven't looked very hard.

J.J., your example makes me think life is short! Why wait? Wear the perfume! Like Susan said, that year went by fast.

Irina, I hadn't thought it was pride but you're right. I was proud of the photo and I wanted to win a prize for it that would acknowledge my artistic feat. I'm not sure I've released that pride just yet.

Roberta, that's the thing I'm proud of. I thought of the Tongva, I thought of the ancient Greek Olympians, of warriors of old. I got very full of this picture.

Luck, Mark? Luck? You think this wasn't all skill and precision? You are so right.

J: I'd better print this one, and back up the disk, and make many copies.

Anonymous said...

ginab:

Oh, don't crop it! You have context: past in the space behind them, present in the trees framing them, and their future path in the stones. The rising (or setting?) sun binds it all in the moment.

Bellis said...

Thanks for sharing your evocative photo with us after all. As LH says, it's like a glimpse into Hahamongna's past. I've heard that the native Indians used relays of runners to trade fresh fish from the ocean with the Mojave tribes.

I love PJs comment about the watershed park. Although it looks the same where you took the photo, much of the river basin is now a vast, flat expanse of decomposed rock, with more shedding to come.

Susan C said...

This is my favorite too.

Have you thought about pitching to an Occidental publication, such as the alumni mag?

Do you know Ann Wolf, the manager of Occi's bookstore? I'll bet she could fill you in on Occi pubs.

BOB BOYLE said...

Wow! That's a thing of beauty.
I was running that trail this weekend but I'm sure it wasn't nearly as glorious an image as that.
Thanks for sharing.
Have you considered a submission to Runners World magazine?

Petrea said...

Ginab, that's beautiful. Okay, I won't crop it.

Bellis, I wonder now. And I went back and looked at the date of the photo. It was September 2008! BEFORE the Station Fire. I have to change the post. I'll update rather than rewrite; otherwise some of the comments will look weird.

Thank you, Susan, a good idea.

Bob, welcome. Thanks for your suggestion. I might just try it. I've never submitted a photo to a magazine but I feel very encouraged by all of you so I'll give it a shot. And if I see you running at Hahamongna I promise to keep my dog out of your way.

TheChieftess said...

Great photo Petrea!!! Keep us posted about any submissions to magazines or contests!!!

Mister Earl said...

Awesome photo, Petrea. I read your blog and saw the comments when I was at work today, but alas, I can't see the photos till I get home.

Speedway said...

A stunning effort, beautiful and gold, with a glint of sun from the boys' bodies showing their efforts.

One morning in July 1998, not long after a friend and I had bought our houseboat, I got up early and went out onto the deck to see a beautiful view of the river, all pink and purple and gold as the sun rose, burning away the morning fog. I went to get my camera and was able to snap a few pictures, one of which has remained a favorite.

For the next ten years, at about the same time of the year and morning, I'd make a point of going out onto the deck with my camera, hoping for another day like that one. Of course, it never happened.

But one year, in November, right around sunset, I once again looked across the river to see purple and pink set against the dark green of the tree line. Behind me was the setting sun, to the east was the remains of a clear blue sky and the rising moon. Stunning. I was lucky to get a picture which subsequently became a painting. It may not be the best painting but at least one person has remarked that my love for the river, for the moment definitely shows. I guess, in taking it public, sharing it, at least one other person felt as I did, which made it worth the effort.

Pasadena Homes for Sale said...

Great photo. Love your passion of photography. I enjoy taking pics of many of the Pasadena homes for sale I put on the market.

Ms M said...

Simply wonderful photo!
I used to "save back" some of my photos. I tried some contests, too, but never placed. So, I said mehhh with all that and instead post them on my blog.

Desiree said...

It's a gorgeous shot--

Petrea said...

I like hearing your stories of what you held back (Ms. M), or that moment you tried to recapture (Speedway).

Ramiro, is that you? Thanks for commenting. Real Estate photography is a whole different thing, I imagine. Those wide angle lenses, the perfect light...I think it must be fun.

Thanks, folks.

J+P said...

Looking at this photo again makes me want to argue for darker photos, stranger photos—for shots with more contrast. So much of blog photography is bland, high-key daylit stuff. I want people to make stronger images—pictures which don't merely obviate explanation but defy it.

Go out with your cameras more often. Take pictures of things you've overlooked. See things we haven't seen—see them as only you can, or as only that moment reveals them. Do it wrong. Breaks rules. Stay out late. Astonish me!

Dina said...

This is so mysteriously primeval, like natives running through the bush!
Your words are good to think on, Petrea. I put just about everything off until tomorrow.
John, your advice is good. I'll try.

Margaret said...

After seeing the crew guys in Balboa, nothing compares.

Petrea said...

Well, Margaret, that was a different sort of primeval.

Amy said...

This is your favorite for a good reason. It's a beautiful photo - everything about it is just right. Photos are moments that go by so fast...

I am way too impatient to save anything.

Petrea said...

"Photos are moments..." I like that. They sure are.