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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Different Universes

Many years ago, I was honored to be visited by Vilmos Zsigmond, one of the leading cinematographers in the world. He shot The Deer Hunter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, among others.

I was showing him my work. He looked at some images of ice crystals on windows and said, “They’re very good.” “Thanks.” “When do you shoot them?” “Usually, just after dawn, past sunrise, till they melt.”

He sighed, and said, “I have to do them at 3:00 in the afternoon, or whenever they want them.” I never found out how he did that.

I thought of this exchange last week. It was bitter cold in New York and I was freezing, but delighted to be shooting ice crystals for the first time in more than 15 years. I know it has been at least that long because the last time I shot them was with film and I started shooting digital in 2000.

Each time you shoot ice crystals they’re different. They change from one window to the next. Each is a different universe based on light, the ice crystals themselves, the background, whether or not they’re melting, and many other possibilities.

Here are three, all quite different in gesture, all difficult and transient, all great challenges. But what a kick when it works.

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