POTD: Fire in the Sky

Title and Location

Fire in the Sky

Location: Livingston Island, Antarctica
Camera: Phase One P65+, 35mm, 645DF
Settings: f/11, 1/500, ISO 50
When: December, 2010

Antarctic winds swept across the South Shetland Islands lifting over the mountain peaks creating a dramatic cloud formation that literally disappeared in a matter of minutes.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Sunrise 2:30 a.m.

Title and Location

Sunrise 2:30 a.m.

Location: Antarctica
Camera: Phase One P65+, 75-150mm, 645DF
Settings: f/11, ISO 400, 1/250 sec, six shot panoramic
When: December 2010

The Antarctic sky had cleared for the first time during our trip, the cruise ship floating near the Lemaire Channel.  You don’t anchor in Antarctica, you turn slowly around a stationary point for the night.  The captain estimated sunrise at 4am so a 3:30 shoot was planned.

That evening the light was surreal and stretched into a four hour sunset.  Every 30 minutes I climbed up to the observation deck to photograph the changing light. One by one the others passengers retired to their cabins.  Eventually, I was the only one awake shooting and loading images into my laptop.  After midnight I decided I might as well stay awake until the sunrise and kept up my 30 minute routine.  At 2:30 the sky burst into incredible color and in a few moments the color was gone.

I traveled to Antarctica a year after a near-fatal accident in the Arkansas wilderness.  I still recall my emotions of being alive, completely alone, on this ghostly quiet ship in the middle of Antarctica – unbelievable!   Outside in my shirt sleeves the temperature just above freezing I reflected on the accident, months of therapy to walk and here I was the sole witness to this incredible scene.  That moment was the beginning of my passion for photographic discovery that continues to this day.

Your darkest moment may contain the seeds of your destiny

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Peaceful

Title and Location

Peaceful

Location: Beaver Lake, NW Arkansas
Camera: Phase One P30, Mamiya 645D, 300mm
Settings: f/16, ISO 100, multiple exposures stitched and overlaid
When: September 2009

A few days ago I posted an image from this location called “Moonglow”.  A beautiful moonrise captured just as the moon was floating through the “Band of Venus” whichis a band of pink that rises through the sky just after sunset.

Following that photograph, I repositioned the camera slightly using a much longer focal length to compress the scene.  By shooting two tall exposures over one another I was able to stitch them into this vertical panorama of the scene.  I also photographed the moon with a much faster shutter speed to reveal the detail on its surface.

Vertical panoramic images are much more difficult to compose but no other format can fit a huge statement onto such a small amount of wall space.  An image only 2′ wide is more than six feet tall.  Standing in front of a print that large you feel as though you could step right into the scene.  One theme you will find with most of my photographs is realism.  My primary goal is to capture stunning scenery as closely as possible to what it would be like had the viewer been standing next to me.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Falling Waters

Title and Location

Falling Waters

Location: Ozark National Forest, NW Arkansas
Camera: Phase One P65+, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings: f/16, ISO 100, 4 sec, 2 shots stitched
When: October 2009

Falling Water Falls is a popular swimming hole in NW Arkansas.  From this point until Falling Water Creek empties into Richland Creek is a wonderful area to explore and photograph.  There are countless pools, cascades and waterfalls along this short stretch of paradise.

October 2009 was an incredible time in NW Arkansas.  Spring rains in this area create literally thousands of waterfalls in the Ozark Mountains.  We also have fantastic fall colors from all of the hardwoods.  It is very rare for us to have good water and color at the same time.  It happens once every 10-15 years and has not happened since 2009 so every fall photographers in this part of the country hope “this year” will be that year.

This image of Falling Water Falls was taken just as the fall colors were starting  to change.  A week later I visited again and there was so much water this entire area was filled with a raging torrent.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Evening Jewel

Title and Location

Evening Jewel

Location: Beaver Lake, Rogers, Arkansas
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 72L
Settings: f/11, ISO 100, 1/25
When: August, 2010

In late summer, the Canadian Geese near my home go into their moult which lasts about two weeks.  During that time of renewing feathers they cannot fly and congregate on the waters of Beaver Lake.

In “Evening Jewell” the geese provided foreground interest for a clearing storm at sunset. The warm light of sunset caught both the clouds and virga for a spectacular display of jewel tones.

Photographically this image is a lesson in magical light.  You want to seek out times of transition.  This can be from night to day or vise versa, approaching and clearing storms, etc.  If you can combine these transitions like this clearing storm at sunset it can be even better.  As a photographer, you never know when the magic will happen so it’s a numbers game.  The more you are in front of interesting scenery at these times of transition the better your chances of capturing something incredible.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Forgotten

Title and Location

Forgotten

Location: Somewhere in Missouri
Camera: Phase One P65+, Cambo RS, Rodenstock HR32
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, 2.5 sec
When: Winter 2011

The job of a nature photographer is combining subject, light and weather into a 2-dimensional scene the expresses a mood or tells a story.  While I enjoy photographing scenes that tell a happy story or brighten spirits, some of my most rewarding images are those that evoke an emotion in the viewer.  “Forgotten” is a special image that folks in my part of the country really relate to.

Almost every person native to the midwest either lived or had a relative who lived on a small farm. A simple lifestyle of hard work, home cooked meals and family was predominate not that many years ago.  Unfortunately, this style of living has almost disappeared from the fabric of this area but not the good memories.

Faith and I flew past this location on our way home from a failed outing scouting a prairie in southwest Missouri.  The fantastic oak tree caught my eye and I turned the jeep around to investigate.  After scouting a half-dozen compositions I waited an hour or so for the light to become golden then exposed two 3×4 images by shifting the back 15mm from side to side creating this panoramic view of a lifestyle long “Forgotten”.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Little Hawksbill Crag

Title and Location

Little Hawksbill Crag

Location: Calico Rock, Arkansas
Camera: Phase One P30+, Mamiya 645D, 35mm
Settings: f/11, ISO 100, 1/100 sec
When: November, 2008

The White River is truly an Arkansas original with headwaters in the Boston Mountains. Most of the White is contained within the state as well as its confluence with the Mississippi River.  The White River is a working river which has been dammed into several lakes to provide water, power and flood control for communities nearby.

The White River National Wildlife Refuge located in South Arkansas is home to large populations of mallard duck and snow geese during the winter months.  The refuge also has a large population of black bear and some of the most dramatic swampland scenery in the state.

“Little Hawksbill Crag” was photographed on City Rock Bluff near Calico Rock during the last of the autumn colors.  I return to this beautiful spot as often as I can and have a summertime sunset image releasing soon.

All my images are available as limited edition artwork. Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Au Naturelle

Title and Location

Au Naturelle

Location: White Mountains, California
Camera: Phase One P30+, Mamiya 645D, 28mm
Settings: f/8, ISO 50, 1/80
When: September 2009

Bristlecone pines are nearly 5000 years old and the oldest trees on the planet.  They grow high in the White Mountains at elevations over 10,000 feet.  Strong westerly winds turn these slow growing trees into contortions making them all different.

Recent fires had raged through central California destroying large swathes of land and raced through this ancient forest.  Fortunately the strong winds and sparse groundcover sent the fire through so fast most of the trees were damaged but not killed.  On this tree the bark got so hot it popped off into small pieces of coal at the base.  The raw wood with attractive patterns was left exposed to the elements (and my camera).

As I looked through the viewfinder composing my image I suddenly noticed the shape of a nude female. Nature is full of surprises and I have to tell you I was both amazed and amused as I finished photographing “Au Naturelle”.

This image is one of only a few I sell as “Collector’s Editions”.  This portfolio is artwork so unique the edition size is extremely limited to protect the investment value for collectors.  As each edition is sold the price doubles for the next.

Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Long Pool Falls

Title and Location

Long Pool Falls

Location: Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings: f/11, ISO 50, 5 seconds
When: May 2009

New photographers often ask how do I know when to shoot a vertical or horizontal composition.  I know I fell into this trap talking to a pro who was conducting a workshop I attended.  In hindsight, the answer is obvious:

“Always shoot a vertical after a horizontal and vice-versa.”

Obvious – right?  It’s surprising how many compositions can easily be captured in both vertical and horizontal orientation.  With an L-bracket and arca swiss style clamp you can switch orientations in a few seconds.

Selling art, I’ve sold many more horizontal images but there are occasions where only a vertical will do.  The best ise of vertical composition is on the cover of a magazine.  A worthy goal for any photographer.

A few days back I wrote about this waterfall with a vertical composition called “Ozark Spring”.

Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.

POTD: Swirled

Title and Location

Swirled

Location: Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 72L
Settings: f/11, ISO 50, 20 seconds
When: October 2010

Lower Antelope Canyon sits below a dry riverbed near Page, Arizona.

As you walk across the sandy riverbed, you won’t see anything except sand.  Suddenly you notice a small crack in the sand.  In a few feet it is about the width of your foot and you step in.  Each subsequent step gets wider and deeper until, waist deep in the sand, you climb down a ladder into the slot canyon.

Lowe Antelope Canyon is one of the most artistically stimulating locations I have experienced.  To photograph “Swirled” I had the camera pointing nearly straight up to use the circle on the ceiling as a compositional element.

Exposure and focus are both manual on a technical camera so it was a little tedious getting the shot accomplished.  With every try a 20 second exposure and a 20 second dark frame it took quite a while to get what I was after.

Light in the canyon is dim and a flat pink color to your eyes.   Fortunately, the camera captures the true colors with a long exposure.  You don’t know for sure what the color looks like until you see it on the camera LCD which makes the experience an awesome adventure.

My take on canyon colors:  Since the canyon is pink sandstone it is very light reflective.  (After all, sand heated turns to glass.) The light is reflected from wall to wall deeper into the depths of the canyon.  Sunlight hitting the canyon is worthless to photograph but each subsequent wall it is reflected on becomes cooler and cooler until the deepest shadows which reflect the ambient light.

Every visit to the canyon is totally different because the light and colors change with the angle of the sun and amount of cloud cover.  Summer has much deeper reds while autumn has peach, purple and blue colors.
Click here for more information or to purchase a fine art print.