The Light 2

The morning in the backcounty of the Monument Valley started with rain. The sky was overcast. There was no sunrise.

We photographed anyway because we were there. It is better to do than do not. I photograph whereever I am and whenever I am. Who knows when is the next time the opportunity like that presents itself.

After about an hour of photographing we decided it was time to go back. As we packed up the sun broke thru the clouds. The was only one whole in the clouds and a spot of light was slowly moving across the valley lighting up its different features creating new and new images.

We’ve unpacked and started photographing the same place all over again. This time in a new light.

The Experience

Long time ago, when I only started doing photography more as artistic pursuit than a record of personal life my focus was completely on making stunning images, images that captivate viewers. If I came back from a trip with no great images because weather did not cooperate or my creativity was on a break, I would have been depressed: the trip was a failure. And if I brought great images I would have been extremely happy.

Now I travel more and more for experience. The experience of being somewhere. The experience of living there. The experience of being one on one with the nature, or being with likeminded friends, or being in another culture.

Don’t get me wrong. If I make a great image in the process I’m still excited like a kid for a new toy. But I enjoy the full experience and enjoy it independently of whether I make great images. Making photographs only makes me more acute to the world around making me, more sensitive to the experience.

One of the memorable experiences on the last trip was a trip to the backcountry of the Monument Valley with a local guide. We were lucky to get some decent light and I got some exciting images but photography was only a part of the experience.

I also enjoyed being in the wilderness, the food cooked on the coals of a camp fire, the dinner by the campfire, sleeping in a tent surrounded by the noises of the wilderness away from industrial noises of the modern houses, the waking up to the rain bouncing on the tent in the morning urging me to get my boots into the tent before they are filled with water, the eerie silence when all birds and critters suddenly went silent just as the sun hidden by the clouds broke the invisible line of the horizon, the hot coffee on the chilly morning as the campfire was dying down with no one feeding it more logs.

That is the full experience. That is worth living for.

The Spring is Here

spring has come to Skygit Valley. Last weekend I went there to photograph daffodils but ended up photographing less daffodils and more of other scenes of Skygit Valley rediscovering it for myself. Even when there were daffodils in the frame they were taking very little part of it.

First, my attention was captivated by the snow geese taking rest in Skygit Valley during their regular migration.

Then I got fascinated by the smoke and steam coming from tall pipes and blending with the sky.

Then I noticed puddles in the fields and was looking for interesting reflections.

Then I went after complete abstract shots like this.

Then after lonely trees.

Then finally, by the end of the day I finally stood by a daffodil field. Even then I more enjoyed how the sky was painted with clouds then the flowers themselves.

Power of B&W

I cannot believe I have not published a post to my blog in so long. It is enough to slip one week without posting and then another week and then not writing becomes a norm rather than exception. Time to break out of that habit. Expect lots of image in rather random chronological order over the next couple months.

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It is one of a rare hot summer weeks in Seattle. The temperature is constantly over 30 during day and nights are warm and humid. On the days like today I want to throw all food out of the fridge and close myself in it. It is a nice thought that I doubt I’ll ever make come true. I’m not that desperate. But that certainly makes a memory of the last winter refreshing. And that’s the memory I want to share with you today.

I love color to the point when I just photograph some color without even any subject. But sometimes the color is a distraction, a nuance that does not add anything or maybe even takes away something. In those case black-and-white image might still be more powerful. I find black-and-white especially working well in winter. One of the main reason is likely that there is not much color in winter in the pacific northwest mountains. The only color is the tone of the sun light breaking thru the clouds and that one is typically weird.

Like in this case the Sun broke thru the clouds just for a moment putting a spotlight on a bunch of trees in a valley. The color was strange but black-and-white tonality of the scene was beautiful.

Tulip Fatigue?

Every year there is a tulip festival in Skygit Valley. It is probably one of the best events in the northwest. It attracts a lot of people and that includes photographic crowd. I’ve photographed there many times of the years.

This year I went to photograph there too. Strangely enough I ended up with no photographs of tulips. I photographed workers picking up bunches of tulips for sale. I photographed dirt roads, fences, trees, and everything else around except tulips. Do I have tulip fatigue and don’t respond visually to fields of tulips anymore?

Workers Picking Tulips
Workers Picking Tulips

Bus at the End of the Road
Bus at the End of the Road

Dante’s Peak

Day 5, Noon

What an amazing breathtaking view of Death Valley opens up from Dante’s Peak!

The elevation gain of Dante’s Peak is so high that the temperature drops 15C comparing to the the temperature at the bottom of the valley. I got there in t-shirt and shorts but quickly had to put on long-sleeved shirt, warm jacket and gloves to keep myself warm.

Here is a panorama with Badwater in the front (click on the image to see bigger size):

View from Dante's Peak

Here is horizontal photo of the part in the distance:

View from Dante's Peak

And here are is a vertical:

View from Dante's Peak

Tunnel View at Sunset

Tunnel View at Sunset

I was on a trip to Yosemite last week. Now I’m back home and started working thru the photographs that I took on the trip.We were very lucky – the sky was gorgeous three out of four days we spent in Yosemite.

Here is a classic "Tunnel View" of Yosemite valley. This photograph was taken at sunset on the first day of our trip.

I find myself constantly drawn to black-and-white photography. This image is a great example of where black-and-white look great (and better than color one) for my taste.