• Payton Pan

Gorilla Rock: Behind the Scenes

I recently donated a fine art print of my piece "Gorilla Rock" to the silent auction at the grand opening for the Center for Nature Infromed Therapy. They have an important mission, and you can check them out @ https://www.natureinformedtherapy.com/


The following is an excerpt from my display at the grand opening, and includes a brief look behind one of my favorite shots to date:


"I was stumbling over slippery rocks to cross the raging river.

I was racing the setting sun to get to the shot before I lost my desired lighting.

I was alone in the West Virginia backcountry, after having left the group’s campsite to do some evening photography.


I had seen what appeared to be a small waterfall through the trees as we were hiking in, so I was heading back in that direction with all of the camera gear I could convince myself to carry on a backpacking trip. I could hear what I thought was the waterfall just around the corner, but, speeding up, slipped off a rock into the water. Instinctively, I held my equipment upwards, and nothing got wet except for me. That’s when I looked up and saw it.


What once was a small waterfall had given way to a depth of layered chutes, a cacophony of white cascades and blue holes. There I was, standing alone, soaking wet, in the middle of a raging river, watching oceans of water pour towards me. That water washed away all my cares from moments prior about lighting, framing, or my camera, and I was forced to realize the true purpose of photography: to slow down.

I returned to the same spot a few months later, when I was hiking in the same area with a different group. The water had all but disappeared, leaving just a few dispiriting trickles where once was a grand torrent. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ways of Mother nature. It was as if the spiritual moment was reserved for when I was by myself, just me and my lens. It’s a good thing I have the photo, or else I’m not sure anyone would even have believed me as I spoke of the majesty I had seen."


Beyond Gorilla Rock, meaning pours away by the gallon,

Creating arrays of beauty that can't be touched,

So feed not Gorilla Rock...


I am happy to have raised funds for CNIT with this piece, and you can check it out in the West Virginia collection, or purchase it in the Gallery.

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