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I like to use this image in my teaching to discuss three important photographic issues.

First, careful choice of lens position is crucial to the structure of many images. In this image, if the lens had been even a touch lower, the picket tips would have come into contact with the window on the left. If the lens had been higher, two of the picket tips would have blended in with at least one window frame. If the lens had been just a touch to the left or right, the symmetry with the door and frame would have been lost. Nearer or farther would also have upset the relationships.

Second, the adobe on the building was quite reddish, so I chose a green filter to darken the adobe relative to the brightness of the fence.

Finally, this scene was only about 10 minutes from my house, and I could easily have told myself, “I have a bunch of things that need tending to… I’ll come back and do it later." Well, I might not have been able to do that. A few months after I made the photograph, the property was sold, the fence torn down and replaced with an above-eye-level wall! If you see something, do it! You might not get a second chance!

Gate and Windows, Galisteo, NM 1996

4x5 negative