Are you like me and take a camera equipment with you on a family vacation? And I don’t mean a small camera for family snapshots. I mean large tripod and backpack full of lenses, filters and big camera. Even if for a moment, even for a little bit I want to enjoy the new place thru a viewfinder.
I’ve just come back from a trip with my son to Hawaii. There is not mucch opportunity for photography with a 10 year old who does not like hiking. Fortunately, our hotel location in Kauai happened to be picturesque. I did not need to wonder far away for a sunrise, just sneak out of the hotel grounds.
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.
(This is the last story in 3 story series on photographing popular destinations. This one is the happy one.)
In my travels around Colorado this fall I visited many different places. It was my first trip to Colorado and my first fall trip to Colorado and thus I spend most of the time exploring. In a few days after my arrival a sudden and unexpected snowstorm ran thru the mountains, taking off most of foliage and dusting them with snow.
On the fourth day I drove south in a search for fall foliage. That’s how I ended up staying overnight in Montrose. I arrive late at night. It was already too dark to see anything around. At a hotel I saw a tourist guide mentioning Black Canyon National Park. I was not even aware of it. I thought that since I was so close to it I might as well visit it. The brochure did not have impressive photos of it. I searched online and did not see anything impressive either. One thing for sure was that there was no fall foliage there. Thus I abandoned that idea.
In the morning I could see my surroundings. Everything was green. No fall foliage in Montrose yet. I decided east and then north to Crested Butte. Just a few miles out of Montrose travelling east I saw a sign turn to Black Canyon National Park with only a few miles to the entrance. I thought it was a sign that I should go.
I did not regret I went there. I did not find fall foliage their or amazing well-recognized photo opportunities but I found something way more important. Solitude being one-on-one with the Nature. I was almost the only visitor there. I was sitting on rocks by an edge of the canyon listening to quite singing of birds, facing warm sun and cool breeze. I would look at the deep walls of the canyon dropping down with edges lit up by the Sun. Or I would close my eyes and let the other sense sharpen and form their own world. It was so relaxing and peaceful. That reminded me what photography was too me, filled my mind and soul with creativity again.
It is amazing how many different photos can be made in the same spot and of the same subject. Look at this photos for example. The same sea stack at Second Beach, just different atmospheric conditions, different light and different exposure.
And here is a couple of photos with a different angle:
Yet one more angle:
More photos of this place from my earlier trips can be found on my website: http:///www.vitphoto.com/?folio=Olympic.
I do like color. I have whole collection of photos with nothing but color in them. But there is still room for black and white photos in my heart. Sometimes black and white is what’s needed to bring out a drama in a photo. Photo like this one.
Day 2. Lake Perfection
Our destination in Core Enchantments was Lake Perfection. That was where we planned to setup our base camp for a few nights. We were walking along the streams and lakes. Gorgeous afternoon light was making golden larches glow.
Maybe this was the hardest part of the trip. It was so beautiful around that I wanted to drop everything and start photographing. Josh and John were more practical and wanted to stick to the plan and get to the camp site first. Needless to say that once we got to the camp site, we dropped backpacks grabbed cameras and tripods and fanned out to photograph. Setting up the camp could wait till darkness falls.
The first week of this September this year my family and friends went to Pacific Coast of Olympic Peninsula. We went to First Beach, Second Beach and Rialto Beach. We had a lot of fun. My son as always was heading numerous construction projects on the beaches or maintaining fire. And I as always used any time available to do some photography.
This time there were no breathtaking sunsets, no amazing colors but there were spectacular clouds, textures, reflections. Sounds like a good opportunity for black-and-white photography.
I’m mostly doing color photography nowadays but whenever I try converting some of my photos to black-and-white they still look great. Which leads me to thinking that color can add something to a photo but it cannot make a photo. The photo should be strong even without color. Color is just an icing on a cake.
Other times the color is weak, or unpleasant, or destructive. Like on this trip the color was boring, it was not adding anything to photographs. And sometimes it was unpleasant yellowish color on the clouds that I did not like. Thus I was completely focused on making black-and-white photography.
I love moving water for an infinite number of shapes it can take. I can spend minutes, hours in one place photographing moving water and getting a new image every time.
Consider the following photos as an example of what I’m talking about. All of them were taken at The Lost Coast at around the same time of day at the same place.
Here the water is in a shape of a bird:
The one in a shape of a vortex:
And the one in a shape of a mountain:
Photography has been and hopefully remain as much about playing and experimenting. One of such fun things is to introduce an artificial light sources in a landscape. The official term for it is “light painting” but for me it is just playing with flashlights, imagining what a landscape can be, and then getting a surprising result.
Like in this photo that I took at the Second Beach in Olympic National Park just after sunset, when it was dark enough for a long exposure and dark enough for a flash light (actually 3 flashlights) to make a difference.
Path of Light