Does Your Large Format Photography Mirror Your Mood?

October 30, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Prairie Hollow Gorge, Fuji Provia 100F, 4x5 Large Format by Tim LaytonPrairie Hollow Gorge, Fuji Provia 100F, 4x5 Large Format by Tim Layton I have been chasing fall colors around the Ozark Mountains and the rugged landscape for the last couple of weeks.  One of the things that I love about being in the field is having time to think and be still. 

When I am working in the darkroom or in the office, I have an agenda and a series of tasks that need to be completed and I can't rest until they are finished. 

But when I am in the field with my large format camera, I realized that I am much more relaxed and at peace.  I think this may be one of the subconscious reasons that I love the large format process so much.  

In this article today, I thought I would explore the idea and concept of your photography mirroring your mood. 

I was hiking up this ancient landscape where the huge boulders were in the stream creating a "shut-in".  

A shut-in is a type of rock formation found in Ozarks streams where they carve through a mountain range, causing a complex of pools, rivulets, rapids and plunge pools.

Shut-ins are inherently confined to a narrow valley or canyon, with the river valley widening out both above and below the formation. Because the rock resists downcutting, streams typically descend at relatively steep gradient through shut-ins, with the downstream terminus of the formation often marked by a very large plunge pool.

Prairie Hollow Gorge - 4x5 Large Format Photography by Tim LaytonPrairie Hollow Gorge - 4x5 Large Format Photography by Tim Layton The Ozarks are world-famous for their shut-ins and the 1.5 billion-year-old St. Francois Mountains has some of the most beautiful examples you will find anywhere on the planet. 

The St. Francois range is one of the oldest exposures of igneous rock in North America.  The St. Francois Mountains were formed by volcanic and intrusive activity 1.485 billion years ago.  By comparison, the Appalachians started forming about 460 million years ago, and the Rockies a mere 140 million years ago. When the Appalachians started forming, the St. Francois range was already twice as old as the Appalachians are today.

I am very familiar with this rugged landscape and as I was hiking up the shut-ins and stream being very careful to navigate the landscape without injuring my already tender left ankle. 

I realized that I needed to stop for a moment and be still.  The feeling came over me out of nowhere and I decided to listen to my inner voice. 

I often become so determined to get to a "destination" that I forget to take in the beauty and peace that is literally right in front of me.  

The photograph that you see at the very top of this article is of Prairie Hollow Gorge Shut-ins near my cabin in the Ozarks.  This image is a reflection of the peace and serenity that I was feeling at this time.  While it may not win any technical awards, I enjoy the photograph and I anchor back to that same peaceful feeling every time I look at the large format transparency on the light table or holding it up to window light.  

This lower image was at the beginning of the hike before I moved further into the shut-ins.  Both images were created with my 4x5 Linhof Technikardan using a 90mm lens with Fuji Provia 100F color transparency film.

So, I will turn it over to you now. 

Does your photography mirror your mood? 

What if you stopped thinking about life and all the busy things that occupy our human brains and allowed yourself to feel the landscape and nature? 

What if you listened to that soft inner voice more often? 

Do you think these things would have an impact on the photographs you create?  

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so leave your comment in the section below.

-Tim Layton

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