#114 Long Time Livin’

October 14th, 2010

Long Time Livein'

And not scared of dying

This lonely, old pine

I found under strong mid-day sunlight at the top of Muddy Mountain, amongst these rocks in the midst of a scree field. Only a little grass grows nearby, and only very near to the rocks. The scree covers an acre or so, and I’d guess there is less than a quarter acre of grass there. These rocks are what allow the tree to live, and the grass to grow, by catching the rain and snow and protecting it from evaporation. The sky was deep and nearly clear, and the wind whipped unmercifully across the plateau.

¤ ¤ ¤

I’d been looking for a good monochrome subject, and this tree and its rocks seemed choice: Stark and bold, with plenty of space around. Harsh light, lots of strong, defined lines, and not much color to begin with. I studied landscape photography using the work of Ansel Adams, and this seems to me to be one of my closest approaches to his level of work.

Rating 4.25 out of 5

#113 The Wind Flies Free

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

#112 A Very Vine Story

October 12th, 2010

A Very Vine Story

And a likely one

We’re Back To the Vine

And I’m sticking with it. The usual Wyoming wind has been absent for the most part this fall, and that means the leaves are staying around longer. In many past years, this vine has gone from bursting intense green to drab brown overnight. Not this time. We haven’t had our first freeze yet, and that is most unusual for mid-October, so all the leaves are getting a chance to put on their very best colors.

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There seems to be another rule about posting stuff on internet pages: Thou shalt not commit punnery.

Too bad. And I’ll throw in a reference to Laurel & Hardy whenever I like, as well.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

#111 Wheat Among the Flowers

October 11th, 2010

Wheat Among the Flowers

It arrived this Spring

I Didn’t Plant This

And it’s not really wheat. It’s a prairie grass of one sort or another, but it’s enough like wheat that you can make bread of it, if you like, and if you have enough. At least that’s what I’m told. This clump planted itself and I didn’t notice it at first. When I did, it was already tall enough that I could see it fit in very nicely between the Tiger Lilies and the irises, so I left it to grow.

I’m glad I did.

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When (and if, and I think I will) I work this up into a finished piece, I will knock some of the light off the Tiger Lily leaves at the front. It’s just a bit too strong. And I may bring up the ruddiness in the vine leaves hanging in the back. These are things that could be done in the days of film, but are so much easier, precise and repeatable in the digital age that I find myself rejoicing anew each day.

Rating 3.75 out of 5

#110 The Towel On the Wall

October 7th, 2010

The Towel On the Wall

It hangs there, ready to help

I saw this towel in the bathroom

Patiently waiting. Waiting. And, I thought, that’s a neat fold and drape there. And, that could be a symbol of the human condition, or some part of it. So, I carefully lined up my lens and photographed this towel on the wall, in situ, as I found it, in the light of the setting sun.

Rating 3.33 out of 5

#109 Sunset Ranch

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

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

#107 Almost the Hunter’s Moon

September 22nd, 2010

Almost the Hunter's Moon

Bow-hunting season opened this week

Hunters were everywhere

Driving their four-wheelers, in their camo outfits. I guess it’s legal to go camo with a bow. And there I was, with my camera and tripod, in a t-shirt and shorts. They kept stopping and asking if I’d seen any elk. No, I hadn’t. Saw a hawk, who refused to come back for a portrait, once I had the camera set, but no elk.

Hunter’s full moon is actually tonight, and I had been hoping to get some good out of it, but the clouds are here in earnest. Maybe next year.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

#106 The Western Reaches

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

#105 What, No Pumpkin?

September 20th, 2010

What, No Pumpkin?

We're still more than a month away

The leaves are certainly the right color

And in the right place for Halloween. There are some stands of aspen on the mountain I don’t want to miss, and the breezes are blowing hot, then chill, then hot, again.

I had intended this to be a black-and-white photograph, but the focus point, on the strip of light, put the near leaves out of focus, and that made the BW version not-too-hot. I suppose that’s whence came the rule about never having an out-of-focus foreground. As you can see, in color any problem is much smaller.

And, I discovered that on close work, one must use the spot-meter in nearly the same line as the lens. See that blown-out leaf just to the right of center? I metered that, but from about three feet above the ground. The center of the lens was about eight inches up. Big difference in how the sunlight reflected.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

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