Shot on Film: Day 4

Today we’ll head to Southern Utah with a few images from Capitol Reef National Park.  This park is relatively unknown and is often overshadowed by the other well-known parks in Utah.   I’ve visited this place countless times and each visit leaves me with more questions about what else is here to see.  It’s a confusing landscape on a grand and intimate scale which can be overwhelming at times.  Most visits have been solo and I think the feeling of being alone in a vast place contributes to this sense of being overwhelmed both visually and emotionally.  I feel so small there and am reminded on every visit that I will always be just a visitor.

~ Northern Light ~ (2017 – Portra 160)

As the storm clears, the spotlighting begins.  One of the simple pleasures of the desert landscape is watching light move across the landscape, illuminating and isolating various features.  These are fleeting moments that you can’t plan for, you simply have to be there with your eyes open.  This is where anticipation comes in as the light begins to move around.  By the time you set up a composition and determine exposure, the light is gone.  For this image I saw the light beginning to show on the distant domes and set up a composition and determined the exposure.  Then I sat and waited and watched.  Once the light popped, click.

~ Beneath the Light ~ (2017 – Portra 160)

This scene was invisible to the naked eye as it was nearly dark.  For this image, I actually spotted this earlier in the day and knew the composition would work.  I returned after sunset and composed the image with just enough light to set my focus.  I then waited for the light to nearly disappear to my eyes.  Cameras and eyes don’t work the same to say it simply.  If photography was about documenting what something looks like I’d walk away from photography in a heart beat.  I’ll leave the rest of this thought for a future post.  This was a long exposure which allowed enough light to expose the film while remaining dark to the naked eye.  I haven’t experimented with long exposures enough but I do know it’s one of my favorite aspects of photography.  A camera is just a tool which allows us to see what our eyes can’t.  Period.

~ Spring Valley ~ (2017 – Portra 160)

This particular morning was a pleasant surprise.  I knew of this view but the conditions weren’t looking favorable for photographing this scene.  It had rained heavily all night but the rain stopped sometime in the middle of the night.  Capitol Reef can get some wild weather!  This image doesn’t show any amazing light but I’m including this photo because of the colors.  I usually focus on the light for landscapes but I question if doing so limits my vision.  There is obviously light in this image or you wouldn’t be able to see it.  The light is more diffuse due to the cloudy conditions and allows more detail in the normally shadowed areas.  Equally, the clouds aren’t particularly bright and the entire scene was within 6 stops of light from the darkest to the lightest areas.  This is easily handled by Portra 160 and even with Ektar 100 films without the need for a graduated neutral density filter.   I wonder any directional light in this image would’ve created a stronger image?  I question if light is sometimes distracting?  I wonder what this place looks like on the days I’m not there?  I have so many questions about Capitol Reef…

Thanks for reading, more tomorrow!



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