Category Archives: The Grand Landscape

The overview of the natural landscape.

Experimenting with Moods

Pilot Peak

I am focusing on trying to create various moods with my black and white images.  This image of Pilot Peak was shot in midday light.  I added contrast along with dodging and burning to get this “late evening” mood.

The image below is processed with a B&W conversion with just a little contrast and brightness adjustment.  It captures more of the detail, but lacks feeling (my perspective).

What is your preference?

Symmetry

Beartooth Lake

One of the most beautiful scenic drives that I have been on is the Beartooth Highway from Cook City, Wyoming to Red Lodge, Montana. On the way up to the summit, I saw a small opening through the trees with a beautiful lake peeking between them.  I found a turnout and walked a short distance to see this beautiful scene.  The lake was smooth as glass, the sky was blue, and the snow beamed out its radiance.  Symmetry of the bluff reflecting in the lake was perfect.  It was mid-day, so the colors were muted.  But is was perfect for black and white.

Someday, I will be back for an early morning or late afternoon shot of the warm sun reflecting off the bluff into the lake.

Mt. St. Helens, Life Renewal

Mt. St. Helens – 27 years after

Nature is magical!  It renews itself.  Out of a devastated landscape, life emerges.  I wish I had taken photographs when Karen and I visited the devastated mountain twenty plus yeas ago.  Everything was grey and brown, mud and ash.  It reminded me of what I thought the moon’s landscape was like.

Now, life is emerging everywhere.  The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of the wildflowers scattered about breathe life into the landscape.  The greens below are young trees that have sprouted from seeds that have been brought to the surface by the small ground animals that survived the blast underground and from returning birds dropping seeds from above.  Life is a miracle!  My spirits lifted as I looked down over the valley below.  My imagination looked forward to picture a natural forest that will return in the centuries to come.

Looking Up The Throat

Mt. St. Helens – North Face

This is the devastated north face of Mt. St. Helens, 37 years after it exploded on May 18, 1980.  The beautiful white symmetric Mountain cone is gone.  The evolution of our earth continues.  The last time I was up to see the mountain was five years after it erupted.  At that time, we saw the start of life returning.  How much it has changed in the 32 subsequent years.  In my next several posts, I will try to convey the changing life that has transpired.

Iconic Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons – Oxbow Bend

This is one of those “Iconic Views” of the Grand Tetons taken from Oxbow Bend of the Snake River.  I think every photographer who has visited the Tetons has taken an image from here.

In the early morning when I drove by this spot, the mountains were covered with clouds.  I came back in the early afternoon when the landscape was covered with mid day sun,  Even though the lighting was not the best, I saw tonality differences between the trees, river, mountains, and sky.  I thought B&W would work.

Ansel Adams’ Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons and Snake River

Ansel Adams shot one of his great photographs from this spot.  His image showed much more of the Snake River.  The trees have grown significantly to block part of the view that Ansel witnessed.

I shot this in mid-afternoon in hard sunlight.  The colors in the scene were all washed out. Bus loads of people were wandering all about taking snapshots.  I had to wait until the busses loaded up to get to a good vantage point. I was in no hurry   I knew that I could still get a good black and white image, so I took my time.  I shot multiple exposures focusing on the sky, mountains, and foreground trees.  I blended the different exposures together to get this image. I am no Ansel, but I bet he did similar dodging and burning to create his image.

For reference, below is Ansel’s original print.

ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984)
Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942
gelatin silver print, printed 1960s, flush-mounted on wood
30 5/8 x 45 1/8in. (77.8 x 114.5cm.)

According to current research, this is one of nine mural prints of this image in existence and one of only six in this size, with print dates ranging from 1952 to 1973. This magnificent, extraordinarily rare example was probably printed in the early 1960s.  In 2010, this photograph realized $338,500 in a Christie’s auction.

Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Hot Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world.  The immensity of the spring is very difficult to capture from the ground level.  I had my 24-105mm lens and only could capture a portion of the spring.  I could not change to my 14mm wide angle because of the extreme harsh mist generated by the hot spring.  On my next visit I will make two trips to photograph from the ground level.  The first will be with my wide aperture lens to try to capture as much of the overall grandness of the spring.  The second will be with my mid-range zoom to capture the details. To get a full photo of the spring, one needs to hike up the trail on the hill above the spring.  The trail is currently (June 2017) in construction and not accessible..

I found the details of the water and mud beds below fascinating.  Lines, colors, and reflections intrigued me.  I will display images of some of those images in future posts.