n the years leading up to creating
‘Evening at Dawn’ in May of 1996, I had become
intrigued with the work of Pulitzer Prize winning photographer,
In January of 1996, I was hired to escort the public through
and provide interpretation of the Roger Tory Peterson
photography exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend,
Oregon. The exhibition contained several images by Jack
Dykinga that were thrilling for me to interpret.
The following spring I traveled to photograph the stunning
landscape of southern Utah. I began at Arches National
Park and then moved to several lesser known, yet spectacular
locations. One morning about a week into the trip, I drove
south into the San Rafael Desert. I topped a rise and
there before me was the most incredible bloom of Pale
Evening Primrose flowers I could have imagined. In the
midst of the flowers rose numerous red rock sandstone
I pulled over and began to carefully study the flowers.
About the time I felt the need to rest, a pickup with
camper slowly pulled up next to my truck. I thought, this
has to be a photographer. I walked toward the truck. As
I approached, the window rolled down and its occupant
extended his hand and said, “My name's Dykinga.”
I said, “Hi Jack, how are you doing!” His
look of surprise disappeared as I explained having seen
his portrait on the dust jackets of his books.
We proceeded to become acquainted and agreed to meet back
at the flowers early that evening. Jack's attempts to
photograph had been thwarted by strong wind for two days,
and this evening was no different. Agreeing to share a
campsite, we packed up and left for the night. Back at
camp, Jack invited me to join him at a location he had
staked out for photographing at sunrise.
At 4 a.m. we were having breakfast and preparing for as
Jack called it, ‘Showtime.’ Off we drove in
We arrived well before the sun and walked through the
desert toward our destination, where Jack had selected
his image the day before. As I moved about searching for
compositions, I began to feel some panic. My image wasn't
materializing and the sun would soon rise. I exclaimed
to Jack it appeared he had found ‘the’ composition.
He immediately discounted my comment and reminded me there
were lots of compositions here. I instantly recognized
the truth in his statement and immediately refocused.
Just seconds later, I recognized the composition that
was to become ‘Evening at Dawn.’ I dropped
to my knees, set up my camera and within 2 minutes the
sun struck the hill tops in the background. Not a breath
Jack declared, “Showtime.” We photographed
feverishly for several minutes. It was over as fast as
it had begun. I looked over at Jack as he packed up his
gear. He looked up and bristled, "You must lead some kind
of monastic lifestyle or something. I've been here two
full days waiting for the wind to quit blowing. You show
up and BOOM, the wind stops and you get your photograph."
We both laughed.
Creating ‘Evening at Dawn’ in the presence
of a master whose work had touched me deeply for years,
was a defining moment in my maturation as an artist.