Sunset, Melba, Idaho
A sunset is not just about the sunset. While the color is what pulls us in, there must also be something to hold our attention. I am always searching for that “something.” It can be in the foreground, it could be the horizon line, maybe an interesting silhouette or maybe some birds. Just about anything of interest works.
In this image, there are a couple of things that are going for it. It starts with the faint vertical lines of plowed rows in the field, met by a band of mist rising from the moist soil. The horizon line, not just a straight, flat line, but one with character, rising and falling as you move across it, then met abruptly by a single bush to stop your eye for a brief moment. Without the bush, I think the image is kind of weak, but with it, well, it makes all the difference.
Another lesson on being ready for anything was taught me the evening this was made. Christeena and I were parked along Southside Blvd. waiting for the Melba fireworks display when this scene came to view just across the street. I had to walk just a bit to find the right perspective to shoot from, but I was ready. Instead of just focusing on where the fireworks would be coming from, I kept an open mind to anything that might present itself. I did miss the first few fireworks while working this scene, but I don’t regret that at all. I have learned that if I am ready, many possibilities will present themselves. All I must do is recognize them and be ready to interpret and capture them.
In landscape photography, clouds can be a very big asset. Clouds affect the background area of the image, they affect light quality, and sometimes they can be the entire subject of the image. I love chasing storms in search of the perfect clouds. I have learned to create images with or without them, but my preference is always to have them.
One particular summer afternoon I didn’t even have to go in search of them, they came to me! I notice from inside the house that the light was changing, and so I went outside to check it out and as I looked up I saw some of the most incredible cloud formations I had ever seen. The clouds became my subject that afternoon. I put on my 200mm lens and began photographing smaller sections of the cloud formations instead of using the usual wide angle lens to capture the whole sky. Everything in the viewfinder became abstract. Some images, like the one above appeared to be inverted as well as having the appearance of having been shot from above. I had a great time exploring nature in my front yard that afternoon. It is a wonderful experience to create images while right at home.
There are photographs everywhere just waiting to be created. Many times we are too focused on the big picture that we fail to see the details, when the details can be just as interesting, or sometimes even more interesting than what we see. We must train ourselves to slow down and become observant of our surroundings.
One afternoon I went on a hike with a couple of my boys to Bridal Veil Falls. I had made this hike on several occasions previously and had walked over/through this particular stream and never thought anything of it. However, on this hike, I stopped to check out some wild berry bushes and while looking I happen to look down in the stream and noticed the interesting color of rocks beneath the surface of the crystal clear water. This one stone seemed to stand out from the rest, so I photographed it. It is a reminder to me that I must make a conscious effort to really explore my surroundings. Life is much more enjoyable this way, and I often find new subjects to photograph as a bonus!
On one of our trips to Stanley, Idaho, we went up to the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge. On the way back down we stopped here to do some fishing in the rain. The fishing was really slow, so I began looking for photography opportunities. When the clouds broke just a bit, this view opened up. The low lying clouds hovering over the mountains is what first caught my attention. I had been struggling all day to find something to photograph, as the destruction of the landscape caused by the dredging operation was everywhere in view. From this view, most of the destruction is hid from view, and the tailings on the right side are beginning to be covered in new growth, somewhat concealing them. It amazes me what damage was done during this mining operation and the years it has taken for recovery to start happening. I hope man has learned to preserve the beauty that exists in the world around us.
I love subtlety in imagery. The soft and delicate tones and color in this image, for me anyway, is what makes it work. This is an image that really needs to be fairly large, as the soft texture in the water begins to really become evident in the enlargement. The ripples on the surface cause a bit of distortion in the rocky bottom of the shallow waters of Lake Lowell. The contrast of the rocks under the water to the crisp and smooth rocks on the shoreline add visual interest as well. Also, the bush that is growing along the shore tends to frame the image, creating a stopping point or resting place for the viewers eye.
While different from the images of power that many of my water images have, this still catches my eye and is very pleasing to look at.