Monday, October 31, 2011

sent across the pond

Our friend, Victoria, emailed photographs from a friend she had recently visited in Scotland.  So I thought I would bounce a few back to him in this morning's blog.

These were shot during two different trips, one in February when all the inn keepers to a person asked why we were visiting during February, and one in April five years later.  The one thing that may be obvious from these images is the fact that the light is very low.  In a latitude that far north (between 56 and 58 degrees), the sun doesn't rise until 8:30 or so and sets around 3:30 in February, so I had to make the best of those hours.  These were scanned from Fujichrome Velvia slides.

Below is the Glenfinnan Bay of Loch Shiel, in western Scotland, where a monument to Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was built in 1815.

The light was extraordinary when I took this photograph of the Glenfinnan Viaduct.  I don't recall this but apparently film of the Viaduct was used liberally in the early Harry Potter films.

Low sun is again apparent below in an image made on the Isle of Mull in west central Scotland.

Here's to you and your friends, Peter!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, October 24, 2011


In my life-long quest to become a better and more dynamic photographer, I not only have an insatiable appetite for looking at and reading about photography, but I frequently experiment with different elements in order to learn by doing.  The process or the journey helps me really focus on the whole image rather than being a quick draw photographer.

This week, I was pondering backgrounds and how the colors and textures of the backgrounds, as well as the light falling on them, add to the final image.  Pulling out different fabrics, plants, and food items and shooting a small seed head from a Western salsify, also known as goatsbeard (tragopogon dubius), I realized again how much blue is in basic black, how much yellow can be in what my eye perceives as white, and how all the surrounding surfaces add hues to the final product.  This is particularly true in color photography but as you can see in the photographs below, it is also true when the images are layered with a tone.

The backdrop here is a charcoal grey wool vest, and the way the tangle of fibers pop is astonishing.

The backdrop here is a batch of warm, dark roasted coffee beans.  You can see, even with tone applied, that there is a lot of yellow present.

And this was the most lovely accident.  I was preparing other back drops and noticed the light and reflection of the goatsbeard I had just placed on a granite tabletop.  The photograph also makes an interesting study when the image is turned ninety degrees to create a vertical.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Indian summer

After the rain, snow, and frost that laid its hands on the Rockies earlier this month, I feared all the autumn color would be brought to the ground.  But there are still veins of it, waiting to be explored.  We are experiencing Indian summer at its best.  

According to that great online source of knowledge, Wikipedia, "an Indian summer is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs in the autumn. It refers to a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, usually after there has been a killing frost. Depending on latitude and elevation, the phenomenon can occur in the Northern Hemisphere between late September and mid November."  There is also extensive etymology about this dual-word phrase, but the above definition suits the weather we have been experiencing quite nicely.  It is breath taking!

So I must celebrate it with one more blog and another group of photographs.

just a sampling of the excitement still lurking during this Indian Summer!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image


Saturday, October 8, 2011

color of chaos

Even with a dictionary and Thesaurus full of superlatives with which I could describe the colors in the mountains this autumn, I find myself incredibly tongue-tied.  The mountains are full of reds, salmons, corals, yellows, and golds in a chaotic and gaudy tangle of color, contrasted with forest primeval mystery and Maxfield Parrish fantasies.  Quite frankly, I cannot remember an autumn this spectacular, and with luck, all of you were able to witness it.  If not, here are a few shots to let you sample the flavors.  Because many of the hues are so rich and bold, I will add a photographer's note.  NONE of the colors in any of these images has been enhanced!

This photograph includes multiple layers of color, within stands of aspen and the oaks surrounding them, including bare aspen in the background which fell prey to and were stripped by caterpillars.  These failed to produce new leaves during the season.

By clicking on the image below, you can enlarge it enough to see the red scrub oak in the background.  They are really putting on a show this year!

A small forest of scrub oak trees doing their best to make me suck air at high altitude...

...followed by a weekend surprise at our house!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image