If you ask anyone “what’s your favorite whether” most people will likely respond sunny clear sky. It is indeed a pleasant weather. It cheers us up and lifts our moods. I bet you’ll see more happy faces on a sunny day than on a gloomy overcast day.
It is indeed most enjoyable weather for most activity. With a small exception of landscape photography. Clear sky is empty and boring in landscape photographs. How many landscape photographs have you seen that struck you with its beauty of clear sky? Not many, if any. The only image that comes to my mind is by Freeman Patterson with a wall by the right edge of an image, fence by the bottom edge and a person’s head in the right bottom corner, the rest of the image is blue clear sky. And it is not even a landscape.
So, when a photographer is met with such weather what is left to do? Right, turn to close-ups or abstracts or both. Such was the case on my trip to Alberta. On the third day by Abraham Lake I was greeted with sunny clear sky. It was warm too. Very pleasant weather for a little stroll somewhere in a park. I’ve enjoyed it and tried to make some images. But to my dismay nothing was working out. The air was so crisp and clear that even during sunrise there were now color in the sky. The sky was simply getting brighter and brighter.
Eventually, I had to accept that it was not a great day for landscape and started paying more attention to the things under my feet, which was mostly ice. And what a fascinated subject it turned out to be. There were so many different textures and shapes. Here look for yourself.
There are good images. There are bad images. And then there are images with which I feel emotional connection.
Last fall I was photographing fall foliage in Tumwater Canyon near Leavenworth. I was out for two days, photographing in rain and wind, photographing water and leaves, clouds and rocks. On the last day before going back home I went on a hike up the wall of a canyon. That’s where I found scenes with which I felt emotional connection like with no other. It was a very special feeling that brought me inexplicable joy, the feeling of revelation.
. . .
It takes me long time to process images. It helps doing it a while after making them. Over time the feeling of being there wears off and I’m able to look at images more critically. I’ve just came by the images those images that brought me so much joy back there in the woods near Leavenworth. As soon as I saw them something inside me immediately clicked again.
I look at them and hear music, music of color, tone and form. One note transitions to another like one soft color transitions to another. I’d like glide this waves of color following tender curves of leaves over and over.
In my experience photos with amazing light such as sunsets and sunrises are most popular among viewers. Yet I have a lot of photos that don’t have grand scenery or amazing sunset but tell a quiet story about the place. Such as this one of a seaweed left on the rocks of Rialto Beach as the water recessed during low tide.
I’m not sure what to do about them. They fill small gaps in the story about Olympic National Park, making it more complete. At the same time I feel like the story becomes too long, especially a story about such diverse place as Olympic National Park.
This photo is just for fun. If you let your imagination run wild it can help you see interesting shapes around you. Like I saw a shape of a humanoid caught in a frozen waterfall.
What can be simpler than a single curve in snow. It is like an artist calligrapher drew a hieroglyph with a single movement of hand.
What’s interesting is that I found the same curve in a track of foot steps that a fellow photographer left behind.
The main attraction of the lake by the small town of Nordegg is bubbles caught in the ice. As the lake freezes bubbles of air float up from the bottom of the lake to the surface where they are captured and then enveloped by ice. Those frozen bubbles form amazing surreal three-dimensional structures.
Just how many photos of the same subject can be made? Apparently a lot.
One of the key locations we photographed on the last trip to Canada was an artificial lake by a tiny town of Nordegg. The winter is bitterly cold their and the lake freezes deep enough to walk on ice. The constant wind blowing over the lake keeps the ice clean from snow. What’s most interesting is air bubbles that rise from the bottom of the lake just to be captured in ice building fantastic three-dimensional structures.
One of such structures was in a form of an arrow. I was so drawn to it that I spent hours photographing it over two days. Coming up with new and new ways to do it. Here is how it looked:
Now how about using flashlight to highlight part of an arrow? That circle at the head of the arrow seems very attractive:
How about showing the arrow in the context of the area surrounding it? Let it be the lead to othe bubbles:
Let’s step further away. How about hiding the arrow in a landscape for a curious eye to find:
I’ve done much more different photos of the same subject on that trip; they are just not as good.
I guess my point is that I don’t come-see-take a photo. I work with the subject, explore it visually and find many photos of it which eventually dwindles to a few ones I keep.