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Stories: Peter Ceren

Prairie trilliumToday we’re thrilled to share an Overton Park story from Peter Ceren, whose The Old Forest Photographer Facebook page has been delighting us with new perspectives for the past eight years. Using a very simple single-element lens, Peter brings us in close to see the way an insect chews through a leaf, or the different ways the light hits a patch of wildflowers in the morning and the evening.

Here, he tells the story of how his walks in the forest have shaped his life.

Words and photos by Peter Ceren

All these moments through the last 8 years in The Old Forest are moments of the light highlighting like a spotlight some small story.

I became conscious very early on that all that caught my eye, were each a mere moment as the sun arced its transit overhead.

Old Forest sunset

Sometimes bright light would touch a spot to reveal a texture that would be invisible otherwise.

And spiderwebs in the darkness would have a mere few seconds of window when they bloomed into rainbows of light. But even these seconds were divided in staccato, as leaves hundreds of feet above fluttered in the also evanescent wind.

If I could imagine what might happen and was ready, waiting, I might capture this moment.

Sometimes it never happened and I moved on as the sun traveled on to where another humble player would have his moment in the spotlight.

Autumn leaves

All in all, my pilgrimage through The Old Forest in time grew and as I listened and watched, I became more in tune with my subject.

It is always a dance and I was changed, and I suppose the forest was changed in some small way as we breathed together and exchanged parts of ourselves.

My carbon dioxide must fill that place, my carbon layered in the structure of those trees. And my very life was inspired by the gift of oxygen flowing from those leaves in that world of green towering over me.

Old Forest sunset

And the other things. The deeper things from the connection, the photons absorbed and layered in the strata of time into my mind’s archeology. Photon memories of the subtle things along those trails.

Looking back now, there is a sense that fills me like an old friend with a lifetime of memories. Long before this short 8 years of this photographing, I have 50 years of connection with this place—decades of my youth running daily along those trails. And walks sharing this holy space with those I am most close to.

Moments alone with my thoughts struggling through the dark, and the pain of deaths to see the light, always the light ahead on this long trail.

Thank you all for being my companion and sharing some of this light the last eight years.

Red leaf with yellow background

Click here to see Peter explain why using a simple lens enabled him to explore entirely new dimensions of light and shadow in the forest.