Recently I went on a trip with my girlfriend to Rowena Crest to photograph wild flowers. As we stopped by one of many meadows filled with bright yellow flowers I asked her a question.
“Look,” I said, “there is this meadow of flowers. I bet there are good photos here but I don’t see any. What about you? Do you see any?”
Her reply made me think for a while about my motivation: “You need to believe that the place is beautiful to make beautiful photos.”
I realized that I did not think that particular meadow was very beautiful. There were random patches of flowers. None really stood out.
The reason I wanted to take pictures was that it was a rare opportunity for me: those flowers were there for a short time a year and we had to drive four hours to get there. As such I wanted to squeeze every possible photo from every meadow we came across.
I still took a few pictures there but I did not have a goal of making beautiful pictures. I was experimenting with compositions, finding patterns in a chaos and leading lines in twisted tree branches.
I did make beautiful pictures on that trip in the places I believed to be beautiful.
There is an old joke that a human being can look indefinitely at three things: fire burning, water running and another human being working. I whole heartedly agree with each of those. Today’s post is about the second one. That’s why every spring I run around looking at waterfalls.
Especially in spring when the snow is melting in the mounting filling waterfalls with water making them more powerful. Most of all I love water running thru a forest making a new path for itself. There is something raw and uncontrollable about this.
I like photographing water because it changes its face constantly. No two image of the same place can be the same. I can take image after image and each of them is different. It keeps changing direction as a long body of an animal.
Playing with shutter speed from powerful streaks during short shutter to silky smooth during long shutter creates even more different images.
Here is a selection of images from last spring.
Photographing the same place again and again is like visiting an old friend.
A couple of weekends ago I went to Olympic Coast for 3 day photographic trip. I decided to start this year with visiting my old friend: Second Beach. By far it is my favorite beach for photography. There are so many different opportunities there.
While driving there I noticed something else that caught my eye: an amazingly saturated greenery of fresh spring leaves. It was amazing. The result was that I spent most of the day time during those three days in a forest.
Now let me welcome you to Olympic Peninsular forest in spring.
One interesting thing about nature photography is visiting the same place at different times of a year. Last spring I took a photo of one of the waterfalls on Change creek. Back then the trees were covered with fresh green leaves. Green moss was covering rocks.
I went to the same place about a month ago and it looked recognizable but at the same time very much different: bare trees and snow covered rocks.
[Good] photographer is the one that does not show bad pictures.
There are days when I take photos that excite me, photos I love. And then there are other days when I get none. That’s ok. It is continuous learning experience, continuous self-development. The important thing is not to lie to myself and pretend that mediocre photos are good ones. Just because I put up a lot of effort in taking them does not make them good.
On my last trip to Rainier two weeks ago I had those two days. On the first day I was treated to a nice sunset with great color in the clouds and a pink tint on everything on the ground from the light reflected from the clouds. (That’s when I took the photo below.)
On the second day nothing worked out. The photos turned boring and did play any tune in my heart. And you know what? I’m not going to show any photos from the second day. I’m still going to look at them; see if there is anything that can be photographed differently; what and why did not work. I’m learning from bad photos and you’re enjoying good ones.
Sunset at Mt Rainier
Long time ago I photographed waterfalls from a side to keep myself and equipment away from the water. One thing that I’ve started doing this year is working into water and photographing waterfalls from where the water flows.
Being in the water makes experience much more vivid. I can be more intimate with a waterfall; look at it face-to-face; take a photo of waterfall with water coming onto me. I hope it gives my photographs that intimate look.
Of cause, I have a special boots to keep my feet warm in freezing water. The boots themselves are kind of interesting development of a human mind in itself. Rather than fighting the water trying to keep your feet dry they let the water in and that water seals the boots. The little amount of water that got in is quickly warmed up by your body and the feet stay warm and cozy.
It sounds so much like what photographers do – letting the world around to sink into them and then lock it in with a camera.
Spring Spring (Homestead Creek)
There is no such thing as bad light.
When I just started photographing the only good light I knew was a sunset or sunrise. Then I added daylight with sunlight breaking thru the clouds which was creating an interplay of shadow and light on the ground. But for longest time I thought grey overcast day is bad light that is not suitable for photographing anything.
Well, I was wrong. I just did not develop my eye enough to see what a beautiful soft light an overcast day can give. That’s the best light for photographing deep in the forest where direct sunlight falling down thru a thick canopy of leaves and branches create extreme contrast.
Overcast day on the other hand creates nice soft light that is smoothly descending thru every opening and canvasing the ground with soft highlights.
What a perfect opportunity to photograph this flower that is blooming deep in Pacific Northwest forests whole spring and summer. I love its perfect triangle of three petals and three leaves.