A Table Rock near Paschal Sherman Indian School

Photographed: Jan. 1995
Format: 4x5
Film: TRI-X
Development: N

    This may very well have been my very first pre-visualized photograph.

    Pre-visualization is something coined by Ansel Adams, who felt a photographer could look at a scene and see in their mind, after training, what a final print could look like.

    I came upon this rock are quite by chance. What other way is there? I like going down small, dirt roads less traveled, so when I spotted this dirt road off Omak Lake Road I took it. The road zigzagged through a lot of tossed junk - refrigerators, stoves, stuff like that - then wound its way up a hill. I felt the area held potential on my first visit. The road ended up overlooking a valley with a farm and the tribal mission school in the distance.

    A friend, Barnett Kalikow, and I returned on a fall day to explore more. That's when I turned and saw this rock. The best angle had a cliff where I needed to put a tripod. Behind the rock was another cliff making any possible picture difficult if not impossible.

    I took a snapshot of it from one side. Initially my interest was simply because it was an odd looking rock. I know it sounds corny, but I awoke from a dream that showed the rock covered with a light dusting of snow, and with fog helping separate it from its tree-filled background.

    A few days later, just such conditions existed. The temperature hovered around 20 degrees, which froze the normally muddy road that could stop anything but a determined four-wheel drive.

    I took three hours to travel the four miles from my home to the site, hike to the rock, get the image and return home. Part of the problem was my hanging on the cliff by my toes on an icy ledge. Since I could not use a tripod, I balanced my camera on my backpack, which was balanced on a ledge next to the rock. I only had a 90 mm lens (about 28 mm for 35 mm users), which made my getting as far back as possible necessary to get the whole picture.

    I heard of a balanced rock in the area called "Table Rock," so that is what I called this image. I learned later that there was another balanced rock that was the real Table Rock. It was over a half mile away across the lava cliffs, closer to the mission. My rock, which still reminds me of a table so I kept the title, overlooks the Boyd Walton farm.

Copyright © 2000 by Al Camp. All Rights Reserved.
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