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March 2014

March 2014 (5)

Saturday, 29 March 2014 22:04

Purple Mountain Majesties

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Translated literally their name means the "Salt Mountains," but their reality is nothing quite so ephemeral. They were formed some 25-28 million years ago by the intrusion of igneous rocks into surrounding less resistant sedimentary layers which eventually eroded away. The shapes of some of these intrusions are laccolithic in nature meaning their floors have spread out along more or less level fracture planes in the encompassing sedimentary rocks. Some of the once-overriding sediments nearby - the uplifts of the Colorado Plateau - have now become the exotic warps and folds of Arches National Park, and the mountains, of course, are the La Sals, rising to the east and topping out at over 12,700', with the continuous slicing of the Colorado River moving in between. After the first snows of late-September and early-October the tips of the La Sals are covered in white, giving rise to the name by which the early trappers and mountain men knew all the Rockies: The Shining Mountains. I chose to divide this Image into about 65% land and 35% sky because the beautiful line of floating stratocumului were elements of visual interest in a startling blue firmament. Of the 65% land, I divided it into one-third Navajo Sandstone foreground, one-third mid-ground, and one-third purple mountain majesty. A medium telephoto focal length of 157mm gave me the angle of view and magnification I wanted. At an aperture of f/22, a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.   


Saturday, 22 March 2014 22:36

Intimacy in a Slice of Time

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David Nolan and his ancestors have been farming in the beautiful mountain community of Fines Creek, North Carolina for several generations. They are people who clearly love the land and wish to see it kept, in this valley, to the noble purpose of agriculture. Although it would have been easy to create an image of the entire barn of which this slice is but a part, it was the intimacy of this piece of the old silo and its time-honored relationship with the old barn which it adjoins that really caught my eye. The worn old ladder now clasped to the breast of the silo as much by a swarm of searching vines as by the nails that once did in years gone by just seemed to complete the story of a time long ago when farming was a different enterprise than it sadly has become. David Nolan kindly consented to allow our recent workshop to photograph this wonderful piece of history. A focal length of 292mm gave me the intimate slice I wanted from the larger whole. An aperture of f/11 gave me sufficient depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/15 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.     


Saturday, 15 March 2014 21:21

Light Play at Wiggler Bench

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From a high point along Cottonwood Canyon Road just southeast of Kodachrome Basin State Park in the vastness of Kane County, Utah there is a view across the upper end of Wiggler Wash where Horse Creek enters through its breach in the wall that is Wiggler Bench. Far beyond, the Escalante Mountains and the Aquarius Plateau rise into the sky. It is a sparse country of Navajo Sandstone and juniper, with enough water to grow sage and rabbitbrush and little else. What does grow in rich abundance is beauty, and it blooms year-round; but in the late light of a mid-fall afternoon when the rafts of floating cumuli sail across the deep azure space above, the highlight and shadow make that beauty palpable. It brings out texture and tonality in a wash of contrast that brings forth a richness that can only be described as awesome. We found a place along the edge of the wall where the view was unobstructed and began crafting combinations of line and shape that were feasts for the eyes. A short telephoto focal length of 157mm gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/22 maximized my depth-of-field, while a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.



Saturday, 08 March 2014 22:14

The Enchanted Land

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If there is any place on earth that lives up to its nickname, it would definitely be New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. What the eye does not literally see, the mind will surely create. West of Tres Piedras the highway crosses a high dissected mesa in the Kit Carson National Forest before dropping down into the long narrow valley of the Rio Tusas. On the mesa are aspen groves with ethereal, wispy grasses spread throughout. My mind could not accept the grass as sharply defined stems, and so I decided to exacerbate what I "saw" in post-processing with negative clarity; and in so doing created a gauzy, airy feeling which was more in line with my experience. The aspen trunks retained their definition while the grass took on a softness that carried out the enchanted feeling I had. I positioned myself so that I was fairly close to the large trunk on the left, which became my foreground anchor. This trunk then led the eye down the diagonal left-right line through the frame by way of the open right side, encapsulating the grove as it went and providing a way through the image. It is sometimes useful, even for "realists" like me, to help the camera achieve your vision. A moderate telephoto focal length of 168mm gave me the magnification and angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/22 gave me depth  of field. And a shutter speed of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me a slightly-lighter-than-medium overall exposure.

Saturday, 01 March 2014 22:41


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Flowing out of Profile Lake, at an elevation of 1900' just north of Franconia Notch in the awesomely beautiful White Mountains, the Pemigewasset River is not even two miles old before it enters into one of the most wonderful geological corkscrews I have ever known, called The Basin. The young stream is twisted and contorted by a world of granite that it has shaped over some 25,000 years with the help of the corrosive forces of sand and swirling water. Polished smooth, The Basin is a lithic whirlpool tub that offers an amazing juxtaposition of water and rock. It is a turbulent beginning to what will become, some sixty miles further south, one of the great New England streams of industrial development history, the Merrimack. My good friend Dave Gorke introduced me to The Basin several years ago, and it remains in my mind, today as then, one of New Hampshire's special places. I wanted to find a wide-angle perspective within the confines of this relatively tight portion of the larger whole, which is actually a few yards upstream from the real show of tourist fame. So I knelt on the rock run of the streambed with my camera about a foot above the rock. The fallen leaves of the fall color display were close enough to be used as foreground elements beyond which I could then show the texture of the rock and the beautiful lines that time and water have created. A focal length of 27mm gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/16 gave me adequate depth of field; and a shutter speed of 3.0 seconds at ISO 100 gave me an interesting rendition of flow and a medium overall exposure. Had the flow been any milkier, I would have increased my ISO to freeze the motion more; but the swoosh was more in line with what I wanted to show in this scene. 


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