With a post title like that, it’s got to be good, right? Abstract marsh water sounds like it may be an oxymoron, or maybe a bad drink at a dive bar. Actually, it’s more the submerged marsh grass I’m interested in, but close enough. Either way, the idea actually as pedigreed roots, as it’s an idea that took its inspiration from Jim Brandenburg‘s book, Looking for the Summer.
Brandenburg’s photo is a tight shot on a stream, where the submerged plant life is fanned out like a long auburn mane in the current. It’s particuarly beautiful, one of those images that stopped me with the thought, “If I ever see something like that, I need to make an image of it myself.” Frankly, he’s got a lot of photos like that, and if you haven’t seen his work before, you owe it to yourself.
I came across the scene unexpectedly, standing on the bridge where the road cuts through the West Rutland Marsh last week, just after sunrise. I’d been shooting the marsh itself, bathed in the golden light, when I noticed the plants growing underwater, all tugged in the same direction by the current. It was quite lovely, and reminded me immediately of the Brandenburg photo I admire.
As I made these images, I thought that having the polarizer with me might have helped; it would have canceled out the reflections and deepened the blues. But seeing the shots later on the computer, I realized I liked them as they were, with the reflections of the clouds crossing the direction of the plants. It’s not as “clean” as it could have been, but the extra elements add character, and perhaps a sense that this was a real place and not just a staged image.
Saw what you want about imitation being flattery, or being unoriginal, or what have you. All I know is that when I’m able to use a great image as the starting point to making one of my own, it generally makes me happy. After all, there must be an element of sharing inherent in art.
Shooting Info: Canon 7D + Sigma 30mm HSM, Av mode, f/2.8, ISO 100