Category Archives: The Grand Landscape

The overview of the natural landscape.

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.

The Clouds Came In

Snow Mountain Ranch – Dark Cloud Starkness

As the afternoon progressed, dark clouds started to come in.  The atmosphere of the day changed from bright wildflowers to stark dead sagebrush.  It was a sign to start heading back to the trail head.  It was a very special day, a day of seeing, a day of reflecting.  I look forward to future visits.

Field of Wildflowers

Snow Mountain Ranch – Field of Wildflowers

Like I mentioned in my last post, my objective of this photo excursion was to first enjoy the beautiful day and wildflowers.  Then my photographic objective was to collect a series of images that captured the “Grand Landscape” of wildflowers and the area as well as smaller “Intimate Landscape” of flowers, rocks, sage brush, and other interesting objects.  This image is somewhere in between. I picked this image because it gave me a feeling of being amongst the wildflowers instead of being apart from them and viewing them against a distant background.  I actually was down on my elbows and knees when I took this image with a wide angle lens.

 

A Day of Fun and Practice

Wildflowers – Snow Mountain Ranch, Cowiche, Washington

I took a day to explore and photograph wildflowers.  I tried to capture both the overall feel of the large masses of flowers and their place in the countryside as well as individual vignettes of little scenes of flowers and interesting subjects.

This image I attempted to capture the field of bright wildflowers set against the green hillsides covered with sage brush and bunch grass and the interesting clouds in the background.  My objective was to capture the feel of the beautiful, cloudy, peaceful day.

A Perspective of Time

Argillite Boulder – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington

This image depicts an interesting perspective of time.  The rock in the foreground was deposited here on Rattlesnake Mountain around 15,000 years ago.  The Rattlesnake Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills in the background were created as part of the Yakima Fold formation about 1.5 million years ago.  The bedrock of this area is basalt from basalt flows through eastern Washington from 6-15 million years ago. The argillite boulder in the foreground is metamorphic rock from western Montana formed 1.5 billion years ago.

So here I was, sitting on a rock created before life on earth existed, brought here by a humongous flood around 15 thousand years ago, deposited on mountains uplifted 1.5 million years ago, created by a series of gigantic lava flows about 2 miles thick 6-15 million years ago.  And I think I am old at 67 years. As many of my Whizzy friends would say, “It’s a thinker.”

What is a Bergmound?

Bergmound – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington

As glaciers moved southward during the Ice Ages, they scoured the terrain picking up rock debris.  During the Missoula Floods, parts of the glaciers would break off forming ice bergs.  These were carried down through the Eastern Washington scablands into the Pasco basin.  As Lake Lewis formed, many of the ice bergs floated to the edges of the lake.  As the lake emptied, several of these ice bergs were left stranded on the surrounding ridges.  They melted leaving mounds of accumulated rocks, gravel, and sand. These are “bergmounds”.

Most bergmounds are found in the Pasco Basin at elevations of 600 – 850 feet.  They are 20 – 35 feet higher than the surrounding terrain.  The bergmound pictured above is on a plateau of eastern Rattlesnake mountain above Richland, WA.  The bergmounds are somewhat inconspicuous unless, one is looking for them.