Autumn foliage, Duck Brook, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

I've never been a painter. But I wish I could paint. I envy those who can convey the sense of a scene in oils or watercolor, or artists who can conjure up scenes in their minds and commit them to paper or canvas. But instead, I use a camera to create my art. But unlike many photographers, my goal is to create a sense of a place (its essence), not just a snapshot of what it looked like. I want my viewers to see what it felt like.

I could've photographed this pool of water along Duck Brook the way it looked when I came upon it– deep water, littered with fallen leaves and surrounded by the rocky edges of the brook. But to me, I saw it differently. I noticed how the colors of the bright autumn foliage lit by the sun reflected in the water, if viewed from the right angle. And, even though it was almost imperceptible, the pool was slowly revolving, so I brought out that movement by using a slow shutter speed.

I think my interpretation of the scene is an image of the colors, movement and beauty of the scene. This is what the Impressionists in the late 1800's were trying to accomplish. Not a literal transcription of what they really saw, but more an artistic image of the feelings they had when they painted a scene.

I haven't picked up a paintbrush in many years, but instead I use my camera to paint scenes. Not all the time– occasionally a scene just photographs well with little artistic interpretation on my part; natural light paints its own beautiful images without any help from me. But I love the opportunity to use my camera to paint the landscape, and be an artist, not just a photographer.