A Little Adventure Helped Me Discover Macro Photography
It had been raining most of June, and even though it was the middle of July, the air was still crisp like it had recently been raining. I got out of the car and took a deep breath of relief after a 12 mile slightly scary off road drive and inhaled some unfamiliar fresh air. The air smelled sweet and I could taste the evidence of the mornings dew. Something we hardly get to experience in Denver, let alone get to experience at such a high altitude. We had stopped at Animas Forks ghost town on our way to pick up the costumes for the Sound of Music musical that the Silverton Arts Program camp was putting on at the end of July. Normally, a off road drive in the front range would not bother me, but I was inexperienced, young and this was the farthest I had been from a city without my parents or future husband in my 21 years of life. Needless to say, I was uncomfortable.
Animas Forks is nestled 11,200 ft in the San Juan Mountains, just 12 miles northeast from Silverton, CO. To get to Animas Forks, one must have a 4WD vehicle and travel over questionable roads. If you continue on past Animas Forks you eventually go over Engineer Pass and into Lake City. A popular road for off road adventurers. It was early enough in the morning that the road was still muddy in parts and there was large puddles on the road from all the rain in June that had not yet evaporated. I was travelling with the theater director, her husband and the program director, all relatively old in my 21 year old mind set. Even though we were not traveling over Engineers Pass, and Animas Forks was our turn around, I was convinced something terrible was going to happen on this sightseeing errand. So when I exited the car, a sigh of relief was to be expected.
|Animas Fork Mill, 2002|
When I got out of the car and began to get my bearings I assumed that I would do what I always do when I encounter a new town to photograph, and go for the most compelling buildings first. Unexpectedly, that is not what happen. I don’t know if it was my anxiety from the drive or the lack of oxygen from our high elevation, but I saw the landscape in a new light. The sun was peeking out from the clouds that were rolling off the San Juan Peaks and I could feel the mixture of warmth from the sun and the crisp cool breeze on my face. As the clouds began to clear the peaks, snow capped mountains were visible and patches of snow speckled in various parts of the valley and around Animas Forks. Vibrant color patches were splattered everywhere from the wildflowers that blanketed the valley, flowing off the mountains, rolling around the old buildings and right up to the road and under my worn out sneakers.
|First Flower I Photographed Next|
to The Dirt Road Where We Parked,
We made our way back towards Silverton, stopping by Howardsville to pick up the costumes from storage. The rest of the drive back, I didn’t think twice about the rough road but starting thinking about my new photography adventure. I did not teach Macro photography in my kids art class that summer, but once I got back to school in the fall I had notebook full ideas and began execute them in my color 1 photography class. Little did I know that I would explore Macro photography for the next 15+ years. It would become the subject of my senior thesis show graduating college in 2004, and I would later teach this specific niche in the classroom. My photographs would be published in several publications, being the main subject of many solo art exhibits and it would eventually lead me to writing about it in a blog. Looking back, I love remembering about how it all began and why I fell in love with Macro photography.