The Storm Rolls In

Chugach Mountains captured by Z 6II / 180-400VR

Is the storm coming, hammering the mountain top, already pounding the mountains or about to blow out? You can tell your story in camera simply with the push of a button and turn of a dial. Exposure must equal emotion, emotion that comes from you! When you see them clouds, how do YOU respond to them? Are they good or bad, about to ruin your photographic opportunity, or do they create one? Since only you know when you depress the shutter release, you can make them whatever you want and tell your story, yours!

In this case, they were bringing snow to the Chugach Mountains and causing me to hike out earlier than I planned. The storm while not a big one was causing me a big change in my plans. With that, I underexposed -1 stops to say the storm was incoming and bigger than it really was. Shooting B&W was a natural for the moment, underexposing for telling the story I was feeling. That’s what writing with light is all about, reaching down to your emotions and using the tools of photography to tell them. That brings out the power in the photograph as the storm rolls in.

Sheba Moment

Sheba captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

From a mile away we saw that “white spot” on the black sands of the Oregon Beach. We knew instantly it was a Great Pyrenees which we have a huge soft spot for so we headed over. On the way, I had to make a click as they seemed very much alone. By the time we had walked up to Sheba, we could see she is old and we go on to learn she’s 13, really old for a Pyrenees. Its owner said we could greet Sheba and she felt old as well. We found out she’s on her last days and her owner wanted the last few to be the best possible. It seemed Sheba loves the beach, this quiet section so it’s where she’s spending her last moments. We took in Sheba’s view, made a couple of clicks and then said goodbye. I like Sheba’s beach!

Gotta Have that 2nd Lens!

Devil’s Punch Bowl Beach captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

The Oregon Coast is gorgeous, I have spent a lot of time here walking its beaches and staring out from its bluffs. Though I have a wide-angle in my hands, I am looking and watching all the birds. With all I’ve seen and what I learned from others, I came to the OR Coast this week to just photograph birds. This is our second morning and as you can see, the scenery is gorgeous and there is not a single bird. I was all set to get down in the sand and spend quality time with the LBJs as they head south, but they’re not here. That poses the larger question, what’s happening to the birds or the world they depend on that they are not here. This is the time with the OR Shorebird Festival would normally be held for goodness sake.

This is why you gotta have that second lens with ya. In the perfect world, I’d have photos of birds and a gorgeous planet but the big lens wasn’t even pulled out today. I’ve been skunked way too many times to take it personal even though I do. And while I didn’t photograph any critters, I still got the beach!

The Romance of B&W

Monument Valley landscape captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

In the perfect world, all could venture to the same locale that inspires us and take in the wonders we are so fortunate to do with our hearts and cameras. The next best thing is to invite those we share our images with to step into that moment with us through our photographs. When it comes to landscape photography the B&W screams that love affair we had. It permits to make the most of black to hide certain elements while including them. It permits us to speak in visual depth. And most importantly, it permits us to communicate with the power of light to the viewer that, “they need to be there!” Straight out of the camera, B&W is also very simple to bring home. Great memories and photographs, the romance of B&W!

14mm Sometimes is Not Enough!

Walker Lake 2 image pano captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

The winds were howling in Hawthorne, NV as we pulled over on the shore of Walker Lake. The clouds we’d seen long before arriving at the lake were already in NY by the time we parked. The scene was charging that fast so my original thought about an image had changed many times. I stepped out of the truck at first with the Z70-200 but by the time I turned, I knew I needed wide. Grabbed the Z14-24f2.8 and put the camera to my eye and knew that wasn’t wide enough either. I love shooting at 14mm but as you can see here, a bunch of drama was not in the viewfinder. That’s when I knew I had to take a two image pano to bring in the all the drama. It’s so easy to do today! In ACR, bring in both images, click on making a pano, and done. The morale of the story, when working with a fleeting scene and you need to do wide, a two image pano can be faster than changing lenses!

Walker Lake captured by Z 6II / Z14-24f2.8

White Pulls the Eye

Walker Lake, NV
captured by Z7 / Z14-30

Whether it’s a color or B&W image, the color white is simply the most powerful of them all! While it is the most challenging to also control. But by doing so, you can force the viewer of your photograph to look anywhere in your photograph you want them to look first and then over and over again.

At the same time, white is an anchor color to our vision. Our mind’s eye goes out and finds white and from that, it then determines what all the other colors are. The amazing thing is that both of these “white powers” happen without our knowledge or control. But we need control both of these and put the power of white in our corner.

One of the simplest ways to do this is knowing we can make something white, brighter by making elements around it simply darker. In this case, the clouds at the top of the frame and the ground and the bottom of the frame were made darker in post. By association, the mind sees the white and brighter goes to it first and then travels around the frame over and overcoming back to, the white.

This is the kind of mind trivia I’ll be covering in my landscape classes next month on The Landscape Conference. Come and join a passionate group of instructors to learn so much, especially about the how white pulls the eye!

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