Perhaps it is hardest of all for the artist to account for the one that got away: the pivotal dream that wasn't written down and is forgotten in the morning, the witty turn of a phrase that is later mangled, the found poem from the subway wall that dutifully written down on a piece of paper but later destroyed in the laundry, the inspired thought fragment recorded as an audio note and later accidentally deleted.
I am haunted by scenes that I've passed by instead of photographing, mostly because because I passed them by due to sloth rather than for some legitimate reason. There's the hill along 50 in Nevada that appears in my mind. I didn't pull over and photograph it because I was in a hurry to get home, as if the extra 20 minutes would have mattered. Or the pond in Napa that was shrouded in fog one morning. I can't remember why I didn't shoot it, but I've never seen it look that way since, and I kick myself each time I drive by. Or the one in Carmel....and I could go on and on.
This is a scene that I took a snapshot of a few days earlier with my iPad and posted on Instagram, but I didn't bother pulling out the 4X5. The image stayed with me, and on my last night in the area I decided to return.
Because it was along 70 I parked on a side road to avoid a ticket. The sun was near the horizon by the time I walked to my position, and the light was considerably softer than before. The moon was full, which I hadn't expected, and the body of water in the background glowed. I only had time to photograph two compositions before the light became too soft, but they were enough. I returned to my car in the orange luminance of the setting sun and drove back towards my campsite for one final night before leaving for the La Honda region in the morning, and cooler climes.