Sunday, November 22, 2009

Light+Shadow=Pure Form

Finally working up some presentable frames from Death Valley a few weeks ago...
For the first night, we stayed right by the Mesquite Flat Dunes at Stovepipe Wells, and getting some good stuff out on the dunes was my main goal, so I might as well start there. This is the perfect kind of place: a wilderness where you can just wander around anywhere and anytime you want, totally undisturbed and with a limitless source of ever-changing light, shadow and beautiful sweeping shapes to keep you busy for hours.
At first impression, you might think that you can just point anywhere and get a great shot, but I find it really challenging to pick out and isolate just the right portion of the whole scene that might make an interesting composition. A certain shape or shadow will catch my eye from a distance, but by the time I walk towards it to find the right distance and angle, it's all gone.. point of view is everything here. Also, some otherwise nice scenes can get messed up by all the tracks in the sand.. (you kind of hope for a windy night followed by a quiet morning, but can't honestly expect that kind of perfection very often). I used a long telephoto (which I rarely do) for many shots, and it seemed to be a really effective tool for once.
This is one of my favorites so far... shot in the very late afternoon just before sunset; the light seems like it was just swept across the foreground by a painter with a large brush... and I love the warm golden glow of the sand against the flowing, soft blue background shapes. The smaller image is actually the larger; you can click for a screen filling view of this one because I think it gives an interesting sense of scale, especially with the figure of the guy walking on the crest. I want to call this one "Sword in the Sand".. can you see my thinking for the title?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Typical West Coast Evening

Very little chance this week to work on any new stuff (although I have much to go over and process from Death Valley), so back to my archives for this week's SkyWatch.
I don't produce as many seascapes as I probably should considering where I live, but whenever I have the inspiration and a prospect of some interesting weather, this is my "go to" spot, just a few minutes from home... no matter how many times I return here it always seems to look different. (I published a whole sequence from one afternoon at the same spot back in February, if any newer readers are interested and haven't seen these yet.)
Enjoy beautiful sky-oriented scenes from all over the world every Friday at the SkyWatch home page.
Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Friday, November 6, 2009

Back From The Desert

Photo credits go to my wife today... she snapped this one while I was preoccupied with the sunrise at Zabriski Point in Death Valley, as you can see:)... me there on the left.
Death Valley has absolutely perfect weather this time of year with warm days and cool nights.. nothing too extreme and great for camping out under the stars. I managed to shoot some really good stuff but have not had much time to sort through and process anything yet. Also I have a paying studio project to get going on and I have to concentrate on that for a bit, so this is a little teaser for later.
I actually crossed paths with and got to meet Gaelyn, aka the Geogypsy, on Sunday.. I recognized her and her RV at Furnace Creek, so stopped to introduce myself and say hello. She has lots of pictures already posted of her adventures in the park last week, so stop over there and take a look.
On another note: Deb, author of Stroll Through Storyland, was kind enough to feature me as the subject of her "Internet Artisans" series this week, so a big thank you to her for that and please have a look if you get a few minutes. She grabbed some of her personal favorites from my blog posts over the past year to illustrate the interview and did a really nice job of putting it all together.