Archive for the ‘Landscape’ Category

#132 No-Color Sunset

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Click for larger

I left in all the black and all the white

When is black and white better than color?

A: When the color gets in the way.

This photograph has spectacular color, straight out of the camera with no darkroom magic applied, but the gesture of the sky was obscured, the rush and scurry of the clouds was lost, amidst all the flash and spectacle. With color, this is just another sunset. It’s better this way.

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BW, as it’s called in short-hand-speak, is a difficult discipline. To be consistently successful, one must learn to see not only with the color sense shut off, but must understand the various colored filters and how they effect the light as it connects with the film. The scene must be embraced for it’s tone and not for it’s hue. My friend, Anna Lee Keefer, is a black&white photographer of sensibility and subtly, who creates with great intent. You can see some of her stuff, in collaboration with Ian Talbot, here.

Rating 4.50 out of 5

#125 Red Soil In the Sunset

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Red Soil In the Sunset

Someone will sing that song

Mountains and oceans

Have a few things in common. Among them, the morning and evening breezes. East to West in the morning, then West to East at nightfall on these mountains. This particular evening, the wind was a brisk forty or fifty miles an hour, and the sun filtered its light through just the right amount of cloud and dust to light up the West end of Muddy Mountain like a bar-room sign. The clouds above the mountain had a hard time holding their shapes in the evening breeze.

Rating 4.29 out of 5

#122 Broad Valley

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Broad Valley

It's really a canyon

The actual valley is far to the east

Beyond the end of the canyon, but hardly anybody calls that the Platte Valley. It is simply known as ‘the flat,’ which, oddly enough is what ‘Platte’ means. It continues on until the Platte River intersects the Missouri. What we see here is called Jackson Canyon, even though it’s nowhere near Jackson’s Hole, which is really a valley. The early settlers were not real sticklers for nomenclature.

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I have discovered that the harsh mid-day sun of autumn produces fine conditions for black and white photography, so you are certain to see more of that here.

Rating 4.50 out of 5

#121 They Called These, “The Badlands”

Monday, November 1st, 2010

They Called These, "The Badlands"

They hadn't seen Utah, yet

Never seen anything like this

They said, in their letters home. A lot of the Westering pilgrims (as they were called, then) kept letter diaries and wrote copiously about the trail and the way west, in letters dated every day, written to parents, sweethearts or sometimes even just to the town where they grew up. Most letters we know about were finally posted someplace in Oregon or California, and made their way back East on ships, by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Lines of communication were much longer, and harder, back then.

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As I was lining up this photograph, a fellow dressed all in camouflage, head to toe, with a bow strung across his back, rolled up on a four-wheeler. I wore shorts and a t-shirt. He wanted to know if I’d seen any elk. I said “no.” and he roared off. I suppose, neither had he. His dust effected the scene for probably three or four minutes. I had to wait it out, but still, you can see that some of it settled on my lens.

Rating 4.29 out of 5

#120 Purple Mountains, Purple Sage

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Purple Mountains, Purple Sage

Somewhere, off to the right, is the ghost town of Eadsville

Zane Grey knew what he was talking about

With his purple sage and all. It is rare that you can see it in today’s West, however. For the sage brush to show purple, it requires a wet winter and wetter spring. It seems that, as the West becomes drier, that happens less and less often. I’ve only seen purple sage twice in my life out here. This sage is not really purple in full daylight, but it looks darned good at twilight.

Rating 4.55 out of 5

#115 Below the Rim

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Below the Rim

Autumn breaks out

It happens every year

And it is always a big deal. The leaves turn whatever color they do, every year. The aspens and the scrubby poplar bushes change, but the pines just carry on. Except those killed by pine beetles. See those scraggly, naked things here and there above the rim? Those are pines killed by the mountain pine beetle, a bug that gets underneath the bark and eats away at the tree’s ability to feed itself. First, the pines turn a very pretty shade of umber, then all the needles fall off and they die. The only thing that kills a pine beetle infestation is a forest fire. Trees are dying all over the West, because we suppress fires in the forest.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

#113 The Wind Flies Free

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Wind Flies Free

Only one tree stands in the way

The Wyoming Wind Is Famous

In story and song. But we who live here don’t really understand its effects on those who arrive from elsewhere. To us, a 30 mile-an-hour breeze is refreshing. To a person from the mid-west, it’s a storm warning. We see video of winds stripping shingles from California roofs and we shake our heads and say, “Should have used t-locks. Wouldn’t do that.” We never have the doors of our cars ripped off the hinges, because we always hold tight. And so on. The wind is, even though even we occasionally complain about it, our friend, sometimes unruly but known and tolerated and whose company we would miss dreadfully if it ever went away.

This is the work I sent out on a postcard for the 2011 “Liberate Your Art” Swap. You can find many of the other participants here.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

#109 Sunset Ranch

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Sunset Ranch

On the flat, under the mountain

I don’t know the real name

Of that ranch, but there it is, preparing to sleep as the sun drops below the mountains far to the West.

To give you an idea of the scale, see that what longish white thing just to the left of the grove of trees at the low-center? That mess of trees is the ranch headquarters, along with several outbuildings and vehicles. The longish white thing is a metal barn I’d guess at 30 feet wide and 70 or 80 feet long. A little ways to the left of that is another white speck, one you can just barely see in the web-sized image we have here. That white speck is what looks to be a big ol’ mid-70s Cadillac, or maybe a Lincoln. And you can hardly see it in the gathering gloom.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

#108 The Skies of Autumn

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The Skies of Autumn

Three kinds of clouds, together

Here are ice, water and vapor clouds

Together in one portrait. My main interest was the three-layer ice crystal cloud below center, just above the land. It reminded me of a blues record company logo — latter day Stax, perhaps? — and I wished at the time that I’d had a longer lens. As it happened, this was made with the 150mm lens and I’m glad of it. The arabesque of the vapor cloud makes everything happen. The images made with the 250mm lens lacked the sweep and energy we find here, and so I will probably never show them to you.

I’d still like to have a longer lens. If you have one to fit, let me know.

Rating 3.50 out of 5

#106 The Western Reaches

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The Western Reach

The tilted land, the rugged land

The Westering Pioneers were smart

And didn’t try to travel over this land. They skirted the mountains as best they could, to the North in this case, and followed the rivers on to South Pass and the Continental Divide. This view overlooks the Oregon Trail, but it is still a long way off, and many years ago.

I must credit the incredible Zeiss lenses I am privileged to use. This 50mm lens is often said to be the best design Zeiss ever made. And I think that’s true.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

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