"The Presence" ©Mark Metternich Photography, LLC.
Image: "The Presence"
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STORY of encouragement:
(maybe my favorite photo I have ever taken)
In about 2005 I embarked on a huge leap of faith to quit working part-time, leave beloved Oregon, go on the road for 5 straight months while starting preparations to put up a photography gallery in Las Vegas. I had investors and although scary, the prospect was looking good.
While on my 5-month road trip to beef up my library, a freak tragedy struck. While camping outside of Yosemite, I accidentally ran over my most beloved dog. It was a scene of carnage very difficult to forget. I did not have children, but this dog was like my most beloved child. To say that I was devastated is an understatement.
After a short break, I had to get back on the road to fulfill obligations. I drove from Las Vegas back to Oregon and on a totally fogged out day on the southern Oregon coast, I decided to walk down to the ocean shore alone even though there were no opportunities to take photos due to terrible weather conditions. I could only see maybe 20 feet in front of me, and it was very dark and gloomy. I went for solitude. As a person of faith, yes, I did barely muster up an occasional outcry (prayer) for help because my spirit was broken.
On the beach, suddenly and surprisingly a man came out of the thick fog and walked right up to me and began to inquire about myself. In just minutes this person was able to get me to open up in vulnerable transparency. After I shared my terrible situation he asked me if he could pray for me. This was highly unusual but in my destroyed state I just said yes.
He put his hand on my shoulder and started to pray. As my head drooped downward, tears begin to roll down from my eyes, and then I caught a glimpse of his walking stick that was hand carved with words spiraling downward, around it. I could only make out some of it, which said:
"When I, in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Your Hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Your power throughout the universe displayed - How Great Thou Art."
This shocked me, as this poetic statement (hymn) holds the very root and foundation of why I ever started taking photos! As sudden as this person appeared, he then quietly disappeared into the thick fog again. I felt a strange sense of peace, in the pain, wash over me.
As I regrouped my thoughts and emotions, I decided that there was nothing to photograph and no reason to be out there anymore. I grabbed up my camera equipment and started to head back. Suddenly a very glowy light started to form in the sky the direction I was heading, and a surge of adrenaline shot through me as I saw the sky starting to blow up with a radiant glow! I could hardly believe it. I could hardly contain myself as one of the most incredible displays of light I have ever seen started to form.
I was able to quickly set up my gear and catch the light with just a handful of images when it hit its peak. This is that moment! Then as quickly as the light formed, it left. I was euphoric! I could not believe what had just happened. I even wondered if that man was human.
Sometime after this event, a man contacted me through social media and had seen the photo and read the story on my facebook page. It was the man who prayed for me! Although not technically an "angel", I knew that this man was used to bring healing and encouragement to my life at a time I needed it most.
Lastly, once during a workshop, I invited a genius photographer/artist from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to go through every one of my portfolio pieces (at the time I had them all printed small to carry around with me).
Giving him absolutely no feedback he very carefully looked at every piece. After he finished, I asked him to give me his thoughts about my work. He proceeded to go through the photos, single this one out, put it down on the picknick table and say, "they are great, but I think that THIS photo best represents what it is that you are going after in your photography! If you could keep taking images like that, I think you would have success." This blew my mind. Of ALL my work up to that date, he singled out this one image!
As I write this (2019) and out of maybe millions of photos I have ever taken over 17 years doing photography fulltime, this image is very probably my favorite of all time.
I recently decided to carefully preprocess the image in light of the New power of Photoshop RAW Smart Objects (Raw adjustments in Photoshop).
I hope you enjoy and I hope you find your own encouragement.