Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine
This is one of the very few important images I ever made on film in essentially full, direct, near-midday sun. It is a fine example of high-performance camera work, in that, like with The Elegant Mud, there was barely enough light to achieve the requisite shutter speed (1/60th of a second in this case), with the f/9, 8 1/4-inch lens wide open. Normally after focussing, one can and must stop down to achieve sufficient depth of field and so slight focussing errors are diminished. Like most of my pictures made with film, this subject was focussed by tilting the camera back and moving the lens in and out. The water is nearly flat, so no depth of field is absolutely required, beyond that obtained wide open, but none was available either, due to the required high shutter speed, so focussing on the unmagnified 3 3/4 x 4 3/4-inch groundglass had to be extremely precise. The water, however, was moving quickly across the groundglass, in the very dim image formed by the f/9 lens, so focussing was very difficult. The next obstacle was to stop the water at the right instant. I couldn't look through the camera with the film inserted and ready to expose, so I had to estimate just what the camera was seeing and try my luck. I made three exposures, which for those days was a lot. One was a real dud, one wasn't bad, and this one was pure magic. Several weeks later, the grass in the foreground had grown quite tall, and the water level in the lake had fallen a few inches. I have seen this spot on more than a dozen other occasions but it has never before or since even vaguely resembled this. I have always felt that this was one of the two important images to result from five months of part-time photography on two trips to Maine that year. The other was Great Meadow, Acadia National Park, Maine 1978.