Light at the End of the Tunnel: Windham’s Summer Theme

New Hampshire Forest, Early Morning

Art exhibits with a specific theme challenge the artist to think metaphorically. The theme of the current Windham Arts Alliance exhibit (which runs until September 9, 2022) is “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” and along with our artwork entries we were asked to submit a brief explanation of how our artwork(s) fit the theme.

Choosing one of my photographs of this particular spot was an easy decision for me. It’s near North Conway, NH, and I make a point of visiting it each time I’m in the area on a fall foliage trip. It has to be before sunrise, and it helps (though isn’t necessary) if it promises to be an overcast day, simply because that allows more time for taking pictures.

It’s a short walk — less than a mile — from the car park to the ultimate destination, which is a picturesque waterfall called Diana’s Bath, and it’s a nice path, slightly downhill, under dense forest cover. As you approach the waterfall you can hear the water, unless nature hasn’t been generous with rain lately (happened only once to me). The waterfall itself is in a sort of clearing, and so when you arrive there you’re emerging into relative light. Thus the “Light at the End of the Tunnel” motif does have something of a literal meaning in this context.

But it does have a metaphorical meaning as well. As I said, I’m starting this walk in darkness, and more often than not, my car is the only one in the car park at this point. So I’m alone, in the dark, and it can be a bit intimidating as I’m on the lookout (probably needlessly) for bears and (perhaps less likely) for persons with nefarious intentions. So it’s something of a relief to emerge into the light of the forested tunnel walk.

So where is the waterfall in this photograph, which is titled New Hampshire Forest, Early Morning? you ask. Several of my artistic mentors over the years have offered the advice: When you’ve got your picture, turn around and see what’s behind you. Well, the view at an 180-degree turn from the waterfall is basically the one in this photograph, though you can max out your lens to get, yes, an even more tunnel-like effect with light at the end, because by this time the daylight has begun to emerge in the clearing. I capture a few versions view and this, for me, is the welcome light at the end of my predawn, forested ramble.

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