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Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds, Rexburg, Idaho

I love clouds! They are fascinating to me. Always changing, never the same. Sometimes I photograph them as abstracts, reminiscent of Alfred Stieglitz “Equivalents” series from the 20’s and 30’s. Most often, though, I include foreground elements that can help create a feeling, such as uneasiness or fear from a powerful approaching storm or the calm feeling that results from soft puffy clouds on a warm summer day.

After attending an education conference at ISU in Pocatello, I decided to head up to Rexburg and look up some friends there. I threw my camera in the truck took off. I began making phone calls, but found no one home. Arriving in Rexburg with no plans now, I decided to find something to photograph. I drove up the hill to the LDS Temple and started there. The light was getting low and sweet and the grounds were quiet and peaceful. I soaked up the feeling and went to work. After about a half hour to forty-five minutes of shooting, I turned around and….WOW! This storm was rolling in and I hadn’t even noticed! I ran across the street to this field, set up and enjoyed the show. It lasted about 15 minutes and then the light was gone.

I have always been taught to be prepared. Keep a camera with you at all times! In this case it paid off. This is also one time I was glad that no friend answered their phone!

Lumbering Silence

Lumbering Silence

This is one of my favorite images that I have ever created, shot near Tony Grove Lake in Cache County, Utah, a place where I spent a lot of time while attending Utah State University. I love the outdoors. The peace and quiet that the forest affords is refreshing amid the stress of daily life. When viewing this image I can almost feel the warmth of the sun on my face and hear the rustle of leaves as the cool mountain breeze blows through the trees. I can feel the protection from the elements that the tall, strong trees provide. It amazes me what a photograph can do to bring peace to the soul.

As I was walking around the lake I saw the late afternoon light pouring through these tall trees, illuminating a path wandering through the forest. The crosslight created by the low angle of the sun brings out the texture through the entire image as well as strengthens the power of the vertical lines of the trees. The light, line and texture all work together to create an image showing the strength and power, yet calming influence of nature.

Lumbering Silence, shot on film, is available as a handprinted gelatin silver print in sizes up to 8.5″x18″ inches, and larger prints as archival injet prints.

Afterlight

Entwined, Lake Lowell

This image is part of an ongoing series of images that I have been creating around our local reservoir, Lake Lowell. The lakes primary function is to provide water for agriculture, however it is also the home of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge as well as much summertime recreation. Ample opportunity abounds to create beautiful images around the lake. It has become one of my favorite local places to photograph.

Last Spring, Christeena and I arrived about an hour before sunset to explore this area where we had not been before. I explored and made photographs through the sunset. I was really excited about what I had made, then on the way back to the car I spotted these vines. Earlier, with the sun up, I had walked right past this scene, but now, illuminated by nothing but the the blue sky, I was totally taken aback. The dark shadows opened up while the light leaves jumped out at me. I quickly set up the tripod and camera, looked for the most interesting composition, calculated exposure to capture what I felt and then enjoyed the results!

Lesson to be learned: just because the sun has set does not mean it is time to stop photographing. Often the best light happens after sunset. This was more than 15 minutes after the sun had dropped below the horizon. With a tripod long exposures are easily doable. In order to maintain sharpness throughout the image, I shot at f/22 with a 5 second exposure.

Pastel Sunrise

Pastel Sunrise, Cannon Beach, Oregon

This was my first morning ever on the Oregon Coast. We arose early to be on the beach at sunrise, and we were not disappointed! As the sun began rising in the east, the light haze over the ocean to the west created a soft pastel sky. It was beautiful. Christeena and I spent the morning walking the beach, photographing the ocean, watching the light change as it gradually fell on Haystack Rock, listening to the sounds of nature, talking, soaking it all in. After the sun rose and the quality of light diminished, we headed to Pig’N Pancake for some fresh blueberry pancakes. We spent the rest of the day hiking, exploring tidepools and relaxing. Great company, good food and a wonderful atmosphere. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

This image is quite unique for me. It has a very soft, almost painterly feel to it. It is very simple yet quite complex at the same time. There is just enough motion in the water to give it a soft feeling, yet still sharp enough to keep the shape of the waves intact. The closer you look, the more you see. The vertical motion of the foam in the foreground counters with the horizontal lines created by the waves in the midground to inject a bit of tension and excitement, yet the overall feel is still very calm. The image is almost monochromatic, yet there is just a hint of pastel color in the sky, created by the early morning light as it interacted with the haze hanging low over the ocean. The .6 second shutter speed was just slow enough to capture a sense of movement, yet just fast enough to maintain some detail. Any faster or slower and the image would not be nearly as effective at creating feeling and emotion.

Sunset, Ecola State Park

Sunset, Ecola State Park

This is another image from my Oregon Coast series. This was our second night on the coast, and that day the marine layer moved in and left it hazy for us all week. At first I was disappointed, but realizing that it wasn’t going away I tried to find images that worked with it. One good thing that it did do was create great color as the sun lowered in the evening sky. I am a black and white shooter, but when you get color like this… well, what else can I say. It did set the stage for some wonderful, romantic evenings.

I love the strong horizontal composition in this image paired with the wonderful warm tones of the sunset suggesting peace and tranquility, warmth and comfort. Capturing a silhouette like this is not to difficult a technique to master. Using a spot meter, meter the sky and increase the exposure about 1 stop. In this case, my meter read f/16 at .6 seconds, so I shot at 1.3 seconds, obviously with the camera on a tripod. To avoid camera shake I always lock the mirror up on my Canon 5D and use a cable release.