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on Jul 7, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Size or Place

We’d just finished flying, had dodge in and out of clouds about 30min out but landed to clear skies. The sun was slowly going down but sunset is after 10:30pm so speed is relative. One of our favorite past times from our locale is watching the skies. Ya, there are a bunch of planes in the air, a Piper PA-11 & Cub, A Taylor Craft and Aeronca, but its against the clouds that makes watching them so entertaining. Off to the west they are slowly building, but behind us we really can’t see from where we’re sitting. We get up to watch the activity flyin about when we see the top of a tower growing behind us. It’s massive! I was so comfortable sitting there. Sharon said “let’s walk up the hill” which, well … I was so comfortable. I got up and we started to make the walk up the hill when I saw the cloud had grown even larger. So i went back down to the car...

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on Jun 20, 2016 in Landscape Photography

The Magic of Five Minutes

Light is everything, everything in a landscape photograph. All too often though, the moment we happen upon a landscape we like, the light just isn’t there. But because we are there and all the efforts it took to be there, we click away anyways. It’s really not that different from that hail Marry pass. But unlike the hail Marry, we have options and the biggest option we have in our playbook is time! This is a simple illustration of my point. The side of this old miners cabin when we first walked up is what you see in the top image. The light was a little contrasty but more importantly, not very expressive. But I was there so I took that click. I had no real thoughts about the image other than it was a “I was here” photo. In my book, about the worse kind of photo. But we stayed just five more minutes prevuing the scene. Then the light radically changed, it had character and therefore, gave...

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on May 24, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Just A Sliver

When the heavens put on a show, it’s one of the great events that can disappear as fast as it appears. Bringing that fleeting moment of majesty to life is the challenge because of in large part of its scale. When the tops of those clouds are 30,000′ or higher, how do you say “freakin huge” in the small medium of our camera? And if you have a storm as part of that story, bringing that power of nature to life just adds to the mix of complexity. There are lots and lots of ways to start to communicate this starting at the bottom and working your way to the top! You gotta have some scale in the photo, something that permits the eye to quickly saw, “dang, that’s big!” Photographers understand this but tend to put too much landscape in the bottom of the frame. At the same time, often the landscape is not as interesting as the heavens themselves. The sliver is even more important in these...

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on May 5, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Caverns of Sonora

One of the great aspects of storm chasing is seeing parts of our amazing country you otherwise wouldn’t see. The Caverns of Sonora is a great example of what I mean. It is the coolest cavern I’ve toured but didn’t know it even existed! The sad thing is that now I know about it, I probably wouldn’t travel just to see it but on a road trip, it’s a must do stop! There are tons of great treasures like this you see while your storm chasing that make the chase just that much sweeter! You go down if I remember correctly nearly 200 vertical feet on the tour. That’s a lot of stairs cause you gotta come back up them to get out. At first, the cavern isn’t all that impressive and then all of a sudden you turn a corner and the magic appears, room after room after room! The natural beauty, the sculptures created by water and minerals is staggering! The lighting is provided by the lights...

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on May 4, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Can’t it Be Alone?

The sun and the moon suck photographers in like moths to a flame. There are lots of reasons for this, all very valid. Often though, that memorizing glowing ball tends to fog the mind and the final image, well, just isn’t as memorizing as the real McCoy. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to many and they wonder why. The answer might be simpler than you might think. It could be simply you included items in the scene that were not needed. Now this might not be the case all the time, but here’s an example from a shoot on top of Mt Scott to illustrate my point. Shooting long (D5 / 300PF) the subject was pretty clear cut, the sun. But often we’re told we need to have something else in the frame. This might be true if the photo of the sun sucks. Why might it suck? Often it’s because the way the light and color are distributed in the frame. When you’re shooting over...

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on Apr 29, 2016 in Landscape Photography

Day 4 Storm Chasin – The Cloud

You’re not looking at a tornado in either photo. Simply put, it was too cold to produce the needed rotation for a funnel to drop down. We went the bed last night full of hope, the models were looking good for at least one tornado in the area. We had spend the day yesterday driving to stage for today and we were in the best spot, mother nature just decided not to play. The top flow certainly looks like it might be a funnel, but it had no rotation. It was moisture simply getting out of Dodge. It was taken about two hours before the bottom photo. The size of this supercell was really pretty staggering! Finding a place where we could get a clean shot was a challenge and when we finally did, there was nothing to include for scale. But it took us nearly 30min of driving to get out to this vantage point, it was that big! The light colored mass in the lower left is...

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