The Great Western Divide from Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California
Shutter Speed and Aperature not recorded. - April 2006. Photographed with Mamiya RB67, Mamiya Sekor 90mm f/3.5, TMAX100, Tripod Mounted
A few years ago, I had decided to jump back into the film world. At the time I was shooting with a Nikon D100. I loved it. It was a fantastic, well made beast. But I was after BIGGER, so I found a 6x9 film camera and started lugging that thing around in the field. Just so you know, a Mamiya RB67 is much too large far this kind of work. I did it any ways. I was shooting black and white, developing in my bathroom and scanning the negatives on an epson flatbed. This is one of those images. I'm thinking that I'll re-scan/process this one now that I have access to a better scanner as well as my post production skills having increased since then.
Dogwood in Bloom over Merced River, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2009
0.4 sec at f/16, focal length: 131mm, ISO 800, Aperture Priority, +2/3 EV - May 11, 2009 7:53pm PDT. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted
On monday evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Art Wolfe. He was at the Ansel Adams Gallery for a book signing, as well as a reception for some of his prints that were on display. I only spoke briefly with him since it was so busy. And to tell you the truth, I spotted these dogwood on my way in to the park and I was eager to get out and see what I could make happen before the light got too dark.
If you're ever in Yosemite during dogwood season, the ideal time to make an image like this would really be in the morning before the sun starts to filter into the valley. Once the sun comes up, things start getting windy and it becomes difficult to make a sharp image of the blossoms while still rendering the rushing water as nice and silky smooth. It's also a good time since the light will still be soft.
As I was there in the evening, long after the sun has had its chance to kick up all kinds of wind, it took a little more patience to make this image. I had to find a balance between an f/stop that would give me enough depth for all blossoms to be in focus, a shutter speed slow enough to create the smooth water while at the same time fast enough to stop any motion of the blossoms caused by wind, and lastly, an ISO that allowed for a proper exposure with the combination of both the chosen shutter speed and f/stop. Thank goodness the 5d mark II does such an amazing job with noise at higher ISO's!
It can be a tricky thing, as well as a test of patience, finding balance to create what you have envisioned. Make the effort, it pays off.
Raindrops and fallen Corn Lily leaves, Spring, Sierra National Forest, California 2009
1/4 at f/22, focal length: 100mm, ISO 50, Aperture Priority, +2/3 EV - May 2, 2009 1:58pm PDT. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted
I'm a big advocate of always having a camera "locked and loaded" at all times. You never know what might happen in front of your eyeballs. But I'm also a firm believer of photographing when the weather is less than ideal for working on your base tan. You won't see large expanses of blue skies in my images all too often. That's not to say that it doesn't happen, I do carry my picture box with me everywhere, remember? YOU won't see them too often though.
I much prefer moody overcast light, rain, snow, and of course fog. I feel like my best work is made in these conditions. So instead of sitting around waiting anxiously for the next storm to blow through, get up and get out. Start making images. Pretty soon you'll be watching doppler, not to see when the storm will pass, but to see when the next one will come. Besides, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
And while we're on the topic. Camille Seaman has based an entire project around photographing worse weather than I've ever been in, and I've lived in Texas. insane storm systems out there! But back to Camille. Check out "The Big Cloud", PDN has an article about it online here. Wow!
1/6 at f/18, focal length: 50mm, ISO 800, Aperture Priority, -1 EV, - November 25, 2006 2:39pm PST. Photographed with Canon EOS 20D, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Hand Held
Another older image, my mother's favorite. There is a cultural center in downtown Seattle near the Pacific Science Center that seems more like a huge food court when you first walk in, but in the back corner there was this great performance happening.
Raindrops on Spring Corn Lilies, Sierra National Forest, California 2009
1/2 at f/22, focal length: 70mm, ISO 50, Aperture Priority, - May 2, 2009 1:44pm PDT. Photographed with Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/4L, Tripod Mounted
I've mentioned Andy Goldsworthy here before as a source of inspiration. His work is fascinating and I constantly go back to it for inspiration and humbling. Another "land artist" I want to share with you is Richard Shilling. I especially enjoy his leaf flags. Take the time to search through and study his work on his flickr account. He goes by e s c h e r.
Another photographer I wanted to bring up is Matt Mallams. But more specifically, I wanted to point you to some new work he's been posting on his blog here. Matt is bringing his work to the public in a new, guerrilla, graffiti-esque type way. It reminds me of the, now well known, street artist, Banksy's work (who is also a creative force, serving up inspiration regularly).
These are two individuals doing very different work but are both very directly interacting with their environment and making art out of it. How can we interact [responsibly] with our surroundings when making images to create something very personal and original?
These guys have got me thinking, excited, and eager! They're causing fresh ideas to cultivate in my mind and I can't wait to get going.
What or who inspires you? Actively seek out new inspiration. Don't ignore or disregard something new, even if you can't stand it at first. Whatever may be causing cognitive dissonance may bring something unexpected to your ideas. Be open and look everywhere!