The Making of a Book

A view of the west wall at 2018 One Place Deeply exhibit.

In Spring, 2011, I began photographing the views along the Green Bridge Trail, a loop trail in the wetlands near my Point Reyes home. My photo walks soon became a daily ritual. As I continued to photograph in this park, I became intrigued with its many facets which changed with the seasons, hours of the day and weather. It became clear that this seemingly obscure area would reveal unexpected treasures if only I would continue to take the time… to pause… and to look deeply. In the back of my mind I entertained the idea of some day publishing the fruits of my walks in a photo book.

In November, 2018 I was invited to show my photography at Marin Civic Center’s Bartolini Gallery. With the idea of a future book still in mind, I chose to show a series of images from my walks in the park. The show was named One Place Deeply: Walking the Green Bridge Trail. Buoyed by the positive response to this exhibit and after a second showing of the work at Toby’s Gallery in Point Reyes, I began working in earnest on the book.

Using the exhibit as an outline, I expanded the number of photographs for the book. Selecting the finals from over one thousand images made during the previous eight years was an arduous task. Finally, this November, the book was published. It bears the same name as the earlier exhibit: One Place Deeply – Walking the Green Bridge Trail.

The book, mirrors the exhibit, but doubles its scope. The original exhibit featured 34 photographs, the book has 63. The series of images flow in thematic sections like the show: Invitation, Portals, Mystery, Frozen, The Creek, Abundance & Intricate Design. The following are my musings on the making of the photographs featured in both.

In 2011, Jean and I rented an old family home on the doorstep of the wetlands behind Point Reyes Station. My proximity to the wetlands provided many hours of meditative photography. I walked the loop trails there on hundreds of occasions over the years and continue to do so these days. On mornings, as Jean lovingly prepared our breakfast, I was free to explore the light with my camera. That was just one of the many ways, she helped make the creation of this book possible.

Sunrise back lights this dew-laden grass stalk in the Giacomini Wetlands at Point Reyes.

When I first wandered into the wetlands behind Point Reyes Station in late spring of 2011, it was the exquisite details on the dew-drenched flora I found along the Green Bridge Trail. I sometimes became lost is reverie as I studied nature’s glory through the magnifying lens on my camera.

After a while my focus turned away from close-ups of the light sparkling on the plants to broader views I found along the maze of trails there. Openings in the willows bordering the creek fascinated, drew me in. As I walked I noted that the sun’s angle changed views dramatically as it coursed through the seasons and the hours of the day. At times I felt I had entered a landscape for the first time, even though I had walked into it countless times before.

May 21, 2018: A window of light on the Green Bridge Trail in Point Reyes Station.

I visited in times of frost, fog and sun. Each atmosphere changed the character of the views I found. I acquired a small, pocketable but very powerful camera. It liberated me from the constraints of carrying a heavy tripod. Who would have thought that the digital revolution would allow such freedom of movement! Reacting to changing light, I repositioned myself for much more spontaneous photographic creativity!

One foggy morning the details of nature’s intricate patterns drew me closer. This time, though, I needed my tripod to steady the heavier camera and macro lens attached. On a spider’s web I found dewdrops like pearls strung opulently and lit softly through the mist by the sun’s rays. On another morning, as the fog lifted, I found a gossamer web decorated with a spare arrangement of drops that still confounds me whenever I look at it

I found myself kneeling close to where I had started in these wetlands… photographing again the magnificent world of the very small. I thought of William Blake’s poem, which is featured in the end piece of my book:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

August 4, 2018: Milky Way rises above Lagunitas Creek along Green Bridge Trail

5 comments on “The Making of a Book

  1. Marty, I enjoy reading your process as much as I enjoy your photographs. Taking a pause and an additional moment is critical. Thank you for sharing the tips.

    • It’s my pleasure to walk with you, John. I look forward to the next time we get together to snag some good photographs!

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