"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've become somewhat obsessed with shooting abstract ICM (intentional camera movement) sunsets along the Mississippi River the past several weeks. I've created some really unique images that have become some of my favorites of all the work I've been doing the past year and a half. I've been going to various locations fairly close to where I live--some of them repeatedly--and I have a collection of several hundred images (if not thousands) that I've been slowly working through so I can share more of them.
These images from an outing to an area known as the Quad Cities. It's a smaller metropolitan area of four cities situated across the river from each other...two in Iowa (Davenport and Bettendorf) and two in Illinois (Moline and Rock Island).
Right in the middle of the Mississippi River, between Iowa and Illinois, in the Quad Cities area, is a small island that is home to an active military post which dates back to the 1800s and is on the National Register of Historic Places, known as Rock Island Arsenal.
I made the drive to Arsenal Island with the hopeful intention of shooting sunset and light trails from Davenport reflecting on the water of the river. The day had been overcast and gray, but it had given signs of a possible clearing. By the time I arrived on the Island, though, the clouds still persisted and the sunset never really materialized. But, in the very last bits of light, there was just enough of a clearing to create a sliver of magenta on the horizon, behind the city lights across the river from where I stood, before darkness set in.
Many of you probably don't know this about me, but I'm a Literature major, and I love pairing literary quotes with my images. Emerson is one of my favorites, and many of my thoughts and beliefs are aligned with the things he wrote about during the transcendental movement of the 1800s.
This particular quote speaks to the abstract landscape photographic work I've been doing. My photographic path was initially leading me towards a more traditional approach to landscape photography, but as the creativity and artistry began to grow within me, I began to forge my own trail. I've never really been one to follow. I prefer to lead the way, to be different, to dance to the sound of my own music, and I feel this comes through in the work I do.
These images are a bit different from many I've shared recently, but there's something I really love about them. I hope you enjoy them, as well.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback, so please feel free to leave a note below, and please also feel free to share the page link if you think others might appreciate and enjoy the work I do.
To learn more about the intentional camera movement technique and more of my thoughts about the creative process, I offer a 45-minute video tutorial on my YouTube channel here - Landscapes Reimagined ICM Tutorial.
I also offer a free pdf download of the tutorial by signing up for the mailing list on my website here - StephJohnPhoto.