For 2018, I’ll be pointing my lens towards the sky much more than the past 2 years. I haven’t photographed the sky as much over the last 2 years as I thought I would, or as much as I had previously. I was able to make many images of the sky that I’m happy with but I’m looking to focus on the sky more exclusively now. Part of the reason for fewer sky images has been being more selective in what I photograph. I’ve spent just as much time outside and just as much time observing as before, only fewer images were made.
One of the main reasons I enjoy photographing clouds is that this is a subject available to everyone, world-wide. The location becomes irrelevant, unlike much of landscape photography, and the image is solely based on visual aesthetics. I’m attempting to photograph skies that have some unique characteristic and not just intense storm clouds and colors. So often the subtle colors and forms go unnoticed yet these types of scenes often make for beautiful images. This image wasn’t one of those skies where people are pulled off the road to photograph. It was just a fleeting moment of color and design that faded away.
Thanks for reading,
I’m currently in the process of redesigning my website to better reflect my work. I’ve been sorting through many images, both film and digital, and thought this would be a good time to share a few images as I come across them. I’ll keep the posts fairly short but will be sharing images for the next week or two as I finalize my site. I’ll try to share some images you haven’t seen here (or elsewhere) before.
I’ll start it off with an image from a series of images where I explore a forest close to home. I visit this forest quite often and every time I see something new. Sometimes its a new arrangement of the trees, other times its new colors of a familiar stand of trees. This series will be titled “Dream Forest” as the images are intentional departures from reality.
Wrapping up my “Top 10” with 5 more images, so I guess that’s a “Top 12” instead;) (Part: II)
You can see all 12 images on my website HERE.
~ Beneath the Surface ~
There’s a small creek that I frequently walk by that passes below a roadway. Tumbleweeds are blown into the creek from time to time and I noticed that this particular tumbleweed landed in a unique position. I took a few pictures with my phone and returned the next day with my camera and tripod. I waited until mid afternoon when the light would be more direct to create contrast, hiding the other debris that also gathers in culverts near a road.
~ Let Go ~
The end of summer in the local cemetery, with the last evening light making its way through the aspen grove. This cemetery isn’t a large place, it has a small grove of aspens, a very short walking path and a small stream running through it. I’m usually the only person there when I visit a few times each year. For me, this cemetery is an intimate space that provides me continuous inspiration. These spaces of inspiration, close to home and readily accessible are important to me for reasons that extend beyond photography.
~ GT Country ~
Morning light over an area of badlands in Utah. I have been trying to not include as much sky in my landscape images because I believe that the sky in a landscape photograph often is distracting. I’m not just talking about sunsets or sunrises, but skies in general. I do believe there are many times a sky can compliment a landscape and this isn’t restricted to a time of day. If you’re a landscape photographer, you’ve seen many images of this landscape before. It’s usually blue with hints of orange light and mountains in the distance. This image wasn’t at sunrise like 99% of all the images from this place though. This was 2 hours after sunrise as these amazing clouds rolled over the barren landscape.
~ Ciel ~
A double exposure of some clouds I saw one day. I’ve been trying to experiment with multiple exposures more because the images are not what we see with our eyes. Experiment is the key word here because most images end up unusable or uninteresting. This image was the only one I made of this sky so I’m very happy these two clicks of the shutter came together nicely.
~ Serendipity ~
I was at this lake to photograph the morning light on the peaks above and while walking around this lake searching for compositions, I came across this small scene. The water was dead calm and the sky had cleared enough to reveal the moon. After some tricky work setting my tripod on a boulder, I made this image and a few others. I was there to photograph something else but the landscape spoke to me on this morning. I know from experience that when this happens, always listen to the landscape instead of my own ideas of an image. Always.
Continuing along with my “Top 10” with a few more images and descriptions. (Part I)
~ The Valley Below ~
A heavy rainstorm the previous night had saturated the desert with water and color. The SW had a fairly wet winter so much of the desert was especially green this spring. I sat at this vista for a few hours as the rain ended and the sky cleared. The sky was still mostly grey around sunrise but for brief moments, the sky would break enough to allow the colors to show and small patches of light to shine through. This image is an example of a technique that I use when shooting landscapes. I often search for multiple compositions before ever taking a photo. This allows me to react to the light and then use one of the compositions I’ve already found. You hear it all the time how people set up a composition and “wait for hours” for the right light. I don’t do this at all. Ever. I’m much more interested in the way the light moves on the landscape than I am for light to fit my preconceived idea of a composition. More on this thought in future posts:)
~ Cotton & Sage ~
I had the pleasure of photographing this tree several times over the last year and made a few images. I ended up going with this image because it contained more of the elements I look for in an image than the others. I absolutely love how the canyon walls of the desert create strong shadows and backlit subjects. I also love how sometimes these shadows can appear to glow with different colors. This image shows a blue glow to the shadows (and still within the dynamic range of the film) while other images I made show more of a red glow, or even yellowish-orange. There was a large sandstone wall behind me that was reflecting enough light to give detail to the tree without making the tree appear too red.
~ After the Flood ~
I came across this section of mud during the middle of the day and spent the next 1/2 hour examining the small scene. There were other interesting formations nearby but this one was of particular interest to me. This image uses a similar technique as the previous image, using the colors of the light to form a composition. To add to this composition, I used repeating shapes to fill the frame while leaving a hint of more textures above. The pine needle in the lower right was also essential to this composition to provide scale and to add balance. I’ve been paying close attention to compositions this year and trying to ensure everything in the image is there intentionally. This has also led to walking away from MANY potential images. But there’s another side to this which I’ll explain in much more depth in future posts. Essentially, I question if composition in landscape photography is too predictable.
I didn’t do a “Top 10” last year for some reason. I value this exercise of selecting a few images from an entire year of photography for the insight it offers. These images aren’t necessarily my favorite memories or my most popular images. They’re more of a collection of images that represent my style over the past year. 2017 was a year of change and discovery for me. I haven’t posted here in a while so I have much to catch up on here! I look forward to sharing more with you about some of what I’ve learned this year. That’s for future posts though:) Now, I’ll begin with 4 images and a brief description on why I chose each image. I hope you enjoy:) And yes, these are all film images from an old Nikon FM.
~ Sage Roamer ~
I wouldn’t consider myself a wildlife photographer but I do greatly appreciate how wildlife can connect one to a landscape in a way that the landscape alone cannot. I’ve visited this place many times and I’ve seen wild horses there before but this day was different. A herd of nearly 200 were close to the road instead of miles away as they typically are. As the herd slowly approached me, I had an encounter with one horse in particular. It walked up to me, face to face, eye to eye, as I knelt in the grass. For a brief moment, I felt more connected to this wild and free landscape than ever before. I only made 2 images that day, this being one of them.
~ The Arrival ~
I’ve shared this image before along with many thoughts so I’ll keep this short here. Basically, this image represents a moment of transition for me. It was this day that my views on Landscape Photography changed and this transition is still ongoing. I’ll share more about this in future posts.
~ Surfaces ~
This image isn’t exactly what it appears. This intimate landscape is just a small representation of what this location offers. I wanted to explore this area more but conditions didn’t allow for this. What you don’t see is how saturated this landscape is after a period of heavy rain. Walking was nearly impossible although the terrain appeared easy to cross. I was only able to see a small area here due to these conditions. I chose this image because it represents looking beyond the obvious, whether in an image, a landscape or in your everyday life. It also reminds me of how the desert changes in ways I’ll never understand.
~ Totality ~
The 2017 Eclipse. I’m keeping this one short too since I’ll dedicate an entire blog post to this image. Technically it’s not great but at least it’s not like the millions of other eclipse images. A 4-shot exposure from my porch and my only image of the eclipse that I made.