Redwoods, ferns, and rhododendrons near the northern California coast
Last week my wife Claudia and I visited our son Kevin in Arcata, California (he goes to Humboldt State University there). Arcata is just north of Eureka, along the northern coast of California, in redwood country.
Eleven years ago we’d camped in this area, and hiked a beautiful trail through the redwoods (nine-year-old Kevin complaining the whole way, especially on the steep climb back). The next morning I returned alone with my camera, found the forest enveloped in dense fog, and made one of my favorite photos ever.
I’d never gone back to that spot, but forecasters predicted patchy fog for last Wednesday morning, and it seemed like a good time to go. So we rose early and drove through fog, then sun, and back into fog. As we neared the trailhead I caught a glimpse of a roadside redwood grove that took my breath away. In the fog it was just so beautiful, so… primeval. I felt I’d traveled back in time a million years.
A Deeper Frame
I think David duChemin is one of the most refreshing voices in the world of photography today. While most of the photographic world seems to talk about equipment, or the latest way to make your photographs “pop” in Photoshop, David prefers to talk about vision, and emotion, and the art of photography. Radical stuff.
David, as some of you may know, is the founder of Craft & Vision, the publisher of my eBook Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom—as well as over twenty other eBooks. It’s been awhile since David wrote his own eBook, so I was excited to hear that he was working on a new one.
This book—A Deeper Frame—is now available, and it lives up to my high expectations for David’s writing. In this volume David examines an aspect of photography that most of us have probably thought about at one time or another: depth. But in typical fashion, David offers fresh perspectives, and (pardon the pun), a deeper look at this vital subject. He certainly got me thinking with passages like this:
The more a photograph recreates the illusion of reality as we experience it, the deeper the potential experience, the longer the memory of the image, the greater the possible impact on their hearts and minds. Deeper photographs give us a means to create more engaging one-frame visual stories.
Of course there’s also plenty of more practical advice about how to create depth in your photographs, including an interesting discussion of perspective, placement of elements within the frame, optics, and focus. Then he moves on to some less-obvious ways to create depth through color and light.
If there’s one thing missing from this volume, it’s how to flip this concept around: to deliberately flatten the perspective in a photograph—something I do frequently. Maybe I’ll post something about that here in the future. But in the meantime, I highly recommend you read this eBook. If nothing else it will get you thinking about the whole concept of depth in photographs, something that most of us—myself included—pay too little attention to.
As always, this Craft & Vision eBook is only five dollars. What’s more, until midnight, July 2nd, you can get A Deeper Frame for $4 (discount code DEEP4). Or you can buy 5 eBooks (including Light & Land, if you don’t already own a copy!) for the price of 4 (discount code DEEP20). And, for the first time, an even bigger volume discount: 12 eBooks for $40. Use discount code DEEPER12.
Half Dome and oaks in flooded Leidig Meadow, June 16th
Last Thursday Claudia and I rose early and drove up to Yosemite Valley to see the high water. When we arrived, we found Swinging Bridge almost completely submerged, and large portions of Leidig and Chapel meadows resembled lakes.
I wanted to make a photograph that “said” high water—that really showed the flood. But when the water is this high, many of the best viewpoints are under water! I found a spot in Leidig Meadow that looked great, with two of my favorite Yosemite Valley oaks rising out of the pond. But there was no way to photograph these trees from dry ground without contending with intervening branches and trunks. If I wanted this photograph, I’d have to wade in.
Sunset at Tenaya Lake, Saturday evening
Tioga Pass opened Saturday, making the Yosemite high country accessible again. We always like to see this terrain when it’s still covered in snow—a taste of winter in May or even June—so Claudia and I drove up on Saturday afternoon. There was a lot of snow, but based on reports we heard during the last two weeks we actually expected more. The recent warm weather has melted the snowpack quickly. But, as you can see from the short video below, we found some large snow banks, and Tenaya and Tioga Lakes were still mostly frozen.
Skies became increasingly overcast Saturday afternoon, so I photographed abstract patterns and subtle colors in the ice at Tenaya Lake, not expecting much of a sunset. But late in the day I noticed a hint of purple in the clouds, and soon the sky exploded into shades of red, allowing me to capture the image at the top of this post.
"Sunrise From Sunset Point" by Raymond
The critiques are back! With my trip to Utah, and then having to restore the blog, it’s been awhile, but I’m happy to be able to present another photo critique this week, and I hope it won’t be so long until the next one. Thanks for your patience!
This week’s photograph was made by Raymond in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Perhaps the most striking feature of this image is the colorful sky, with clouds appearing to radiate out from the sun just before it clears the horizon. The warm hues of the red-orange clouds, along with the rusty rocks, form a nice color contrast with the cool blues of the sky and distant mountains.
What I like most about this composition is how the foreground and background complement each other. Those radiating lines in the clouds are subtly echoed by the folds in the landscape below.
Raymond said, “I found the scene to have many things going on—the snow, the hoodoos, the colored bands across the canyon sides, the ridges running down the sides, etc. In circumstances like that I find it difficult to feel “sure” of how the elements are arranged. I basically placed the horizon at the one-third point and placed the sun at the left/right midpoint. With my fingers crossed, I was hoping the colored bands would help lead the eye into the distance and the canyon’s bowl-like shape to cradle the elements of the scene.”