Archive for the ‘Daily Photograph’ Category

#124 Reprise of Wheat

Friday, November 5th, 2010

A Reprise of Wheat

A meditation on Seed and Sun

You may recall this shock

Of prairie wheat from an earlier post. I liked it so well that I cut it loose from the parent grass clump and found a suitable vase for it.

I’m not sure quite what to do with it now, but I still like it. Perhaps it will become another recurring character in still life photographs, alongside the Bowl of Roses.

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By the way, I have added a new feature to The Daily Photograph™. Below you’ll see a line of stars. This is a way to show your approval or not of a particular photograph. Each star indicates a higher rating. I’d appreciate it if you’d click on one or another of them.

Rating 3.70 out of 5

#123 It’s a Very Vine Thing

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

It's a Vary Vine Thing

Just hangin' out in the sunshine

The sun slanted so well

On this vine that I spent several days exploring and learning about backlighting and how it works with color. Ordinary reflected light looked fine on the vine, but with the sunlight glowing through the leaves, the colors deepened and came alive. I learned that even five minutes could make a huge difference as the sun angle changed.

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The fun lasted only a few days. The leaves eventually withered and dropped off, and the vine is now a mere skeleton of itself.

Rating 4.22 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

#119 The Moon Is High

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

The Moon Is High

The sky is wide

After all these years

I’m still astounded at how clear the air can be of an evening in Wyoming. The light of the sun takes on this glow a few minutes before it goes below the horizon and gives even that industrial building on the hill a kind of calm and solemn dignity.

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To photograph a nearly blank sky is not especially hard. It’s not hard at all to set the proper exposure, but you do get to see every speck of dust on your lens and sensor. Three cheers for digital dust removal!
Rating 3.00 out of 5

#118 Mixing the Reds With the Blues

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Mixing the Red With the Blues

There are some early morning blues and greens, too.

Continuing the experiments

Of photographing backlit vegetation. I’m here to tell you it’s tricky. Too much light here, not enough there, and the sun is moving too darned fast!

Once the proper exposure is made, there later comes a great temptation, in the development phase, to bump the saturation of those luscious reds, to boost them far beyond any reality, to make them screamingly red. I resisted. I did bump the blue of the berries a little, but I pulled back the greens and the yellow gold. Yes, the greens and the yellow-golds are desaturated, less vibrant, less in-your-face than reality allows. The reds are just as nature made them.

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I once had a jigsaw puzzle of Jackson Pollack’s “Full Fathom Five.” I believe it was the hardest conventional jigsaw ever produced. However, I’m thinking a jigsaw made from this photograph might give it a run for its money. Would you pay 59 dollars to drive some poor, but excited, jigsaw puzzler demented for Christmas? If enough people say yes, I’ll do up a 17×23″ 768 piece puzzle and offer it to you.

Extra points to those who can identify both late 60s musical references. The first with title and artist of each gets a free 5×7 proof of this photograph.

Rating 3.20 out of 5

#117 Full Moon Rising

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Full Moon Rising

The night is large

We are all held in the spell

As the sky darkens but for one large shining object. The fitful breeze quickens, and the stars are not yet visible in the cloudless sky. Far off, a coyote yips and another answers. We shiver.

There is baseball on the TV.

Rating 4.40 out of 5

#116 Another Wyoming Sunset

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Another Wyoming Sunset

The stars soon will shine

Is It Any Wonder

That I live in Wyoming? The only other place I know with light shows like this is New Mexico. Here, I have a mountain set just so, and no state income tax.

I made eight or ten exposures of this sunset, far more than I usually do of any given subject, because you never know when you’ll encounter the “decisive moment,” to borrow a phrase from Cartier-Bresson. This particular exposure was, in my mind, at the time, a sort of throw-away thing. I was sure I had already made better. Depending on taste, perhaps so, but I like the repeated rhythm of the trees and the clouds, and the delicate but electric salmon pink of the high-up clouds is beyond compare.

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Again, I have no ‘technical information.’ I seldom note the aperture and shutter speed, but I can tell you that I usually use an f16 with whatever the meter says is appropriate for the shutter. This was done with my 50mm lens, which is more or less like a 28mm on a standard 35mm camera.

Rating 4.33 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

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