POTD: Dark Shadows

Title and Location

Dark Shadows

Location: Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P30+, Mamiya 645D, 55-110mm

As you have probably noticed, I enjoy photographing in slot canyons and have several in my portfolio.  This shadowy image was photographed in Upper Antelope Canyon.

While the lower canyon is anything but flat, the upper canyon is completely flat with all the sculptured sandstone above you.  My camera was literally pointing straight up.  The upper canyon is also extremely busy.  During a 20 second exposure, you may have 10 or 20 people squeeze past you in the narrow canyon walkways.  I reshot this image nearly a dozen times before I got an exposure without someone bumping into my tripod.

The deep shadowed figure is known as monument valley because it resembles a butte in the desert.  To me it looked like “Batman” so I used a longer focal length to highlight it in my composition and lowered the exposure to leave it almost black.

All images of the day are available as limited edition artwork.  Click here for more information or to purchase a 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: Angel Heart

Title and Location

Angel Heart

Location: Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Camera: Phase One P65+, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, 15 seconds, 2 shots stitched
When:October 2010

Can you find the angel photographed in Lower Antelope slot canyon?  Notice on the left 1/3 of the image the hole in the sandstone looks like a heart on it’s side.  Around this heart is an angel flying to the right with her hair flowing behind to the left.

The Navajo have named hundreds of shapes in this slot canyon and if you ever visit get a good guide to show them to you.  There are many slot canyons in this area all with entirely different personalities.

See my first slot canyon post for a description of the colors.

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

POTD: Triplets

Title and Location

Triplets

Location: Tremont area of the Smoky Mountains
Camera: Phase One P65+, Mamiya 645D, 45mm
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, multiple exposures, 2 shots stitched
When: April 2010

These three boulders reminded me of little boys wrestling.  Actually you wouldn’t call it wrestling but maybe “Whoever ends up on top wins!”.  Early morning sun shining through the background foliage almost looked like autumn.  Maples are colorful any time of the year and this park is full of them and almost every other hardwood.

As a new photographer, I found this image a challenge.  The light coming through the foliage onto the water was difficult to expose without blowing out the whitewater.  I took extra exposures at a faster shutter speed and blended those in where the brightest light was shining.

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

POTD: Secret Garden

Title and Location

Secret Garden

Location: Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee
Camera: Phase One P65+, Mamiya 645D, 35mm
Settings: f/11, iso 50, 1/250
When: April 2010

A panoramic view of White Oak Sink in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  An easy two mile hike and you find yourself in beautiful, open forest carpeted with blue phlox.  The bright light backlit the young leaves and gave a nice side lighting on the tree trunks.

If you see phlox blooming along the road to Cades Cove you might ask a ranger or photography guide to take you to White Oak Sink.  They usually bloom at the same time around the second week of April.

This was the first photography trip I took after my accident.  The two mile hike would be a snap now but back then I wondered if I could make it.  I would love to find myself back here with flowers in bloom.  (Actually I would love to revisit all the locations I have photographed.  As you would expect, my photography technique and artistic vision has improved over the last 7 years.)

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

POTD: Smoky Mountain Stream

Title and Location

Smoky Mountain Stream

Location: Smoky Mountains near Townsend, TN
Camera: Phase One P65+, Mamiya 645D, 35mm
Settings: f/11, ISO 50, 1/2 sec
When: April 2010

An iconic Smoky Mountain stream photographed along the middle prong of the Little River.  On the road to Cades Cove you’ll see a turnoff for Tremont Educational Facility.  This short drive is one of the most iconic in the park and it is beautiful almost anytime.  This dirt road follows the river the whole way, park anywhere and point your camera.  On the weekends this spot will be busy with photographers shooting the horseshoe shaped cascade.

The maples in early spring have a nice bright color that contrasted well against the rhododendron foliage in the background.

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

POTD: Phlox and Mayapple

Title and Location

Phlox and Mayapple

Location: Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee
Camera: Phase One P65+, Mamiya 645D, Mamiya 35mm
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, 1/250
When: April 2010

This scene was photographed in a previously secret area of Smoky Mountain National Park called White Oak Sink. The location was not publicised because the flora is very fragile. If you visit this area, please stay on the trails.

When the sky is clear blue and the light intense you can still make dramatic photographs if you pay attention to the angle of light. Notice how I moved the camera and composed the scene so the sunlight was directly backlighting the trees.  I exposed for the shadows and increased the shutter speed until the highlights were not clipped. Using my hand I shielded the lens from direct sunlight or there would have been serious flare in the image.

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

POTD: Patriarch

Title and Location

Patriarch

Location: Mt. Magazine State Park
Camera: Phase One P65+, Cambo RS, Schnedier 24XL
Settings: f/16, ISO 50, 1/25 sec
When: November, 2010

A clearing storm at the end of the day added some nice color to an already dramatic scene.  This beautiful red cedar with a natural bansai look clings to the side of the clif overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley.  Looking at it’s precarious perch, it is hard to believe this tree is nearly 800 years old.

I am drawn to images of survival against all odds and trees are one of my favorite subjects – win/win. There is something about these old trees that speaks to the soul softly whispering “Hang in there, you might accomplish something amazing!”.

This image is made from two exposures stitched to make a vertical panorama. IT was a pretty easy composition, just keep the camera level and don’t let the foliage overlap with the surrounding trees. Vertical panos make a huge impression in a small space.  Imagine standing in front of an 8′ print of this image.

Another view of this tree was my first post on this blog.

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

POTD: Paradise Falls

Title and Location

Paradise Falls

Location: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Camera: Phase One P45, Cambo RS, Schneider 35XL
Settings:f/11, ISO 50, 2 seconds
When: June 2010

Great scenic photography is 90% getting in front of interesting subjects.  (The other 90% is planning, equipment, technique, and tenacity but that’s for another day.)  Sometimes during my travels, I have stumbled into locations or circumstances that were so incredible it simply blew my mind.  Silver Falls State Park in central Oregon is one of those locations.

Imagine having a hole in the ground 175 feet deep with a diameter of a mile or so.  Into that hole in the ground fall a dozen waterfalls from around it’s edges.   Each waterfall has a total different character.  You may recall I mentioned when I was there they had record rainfall and these falls were raging and so beautiful.

There is a 9 mile trail at the bottom of the hole taking you to visit all of these waterfalls.  The trail goes behind the veil of several.  Simply stunning scenery and I understand it is even better in Autumn.  Often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of the Oregon park system.  Silver Falls is truly a paradise which inspired this photograph of the North Falls.

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.