While driving through the desert a couple weeks ago, I departed under the same clear skies we’ve had for most of the summer. After a couple hours, I noticed a tiny cloud or two on the horizon. I was headed in that direction, but didn’t think the situation would be the same in two hours. When I arrived, there was an hour or more of daylight remaining, and to my surprise, the cloud cover appeared to be getting better. I stuck around until sunset before continuing on to my destination, glad I had my camera along.
Back in springtime, we had some days that were absolutely beautiful for hiking. No, not the sunny ones. The ones with clouds and rain threatening, even if hardly producing. Those were also great days for photographs, especially in b&w.
Last week we had a late season winter storm which brought snow to the mountains and a decent amount of rain to lower elevations. I went out to hike around the rainwater pools before they evaporated, and was fortunate to have plenty of fast-moving clouds for long-exposure photos. This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit Leanne’s website.
Incorporating the sun into a landscape photo can present many undesirable effects, unless you have the right conditions. It usually comes down to having the right clouds. If that isn’t happening, you can use a foreground element to partially block the sun. In the case of the photo above, there was a heavy overcast sky which just allowed enough of the sun to come through over Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada. This is my submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. This is also my post for this week’s Daily Post Challenge: Variations on a theme.
Another shot from Valley Of Fire that includes the sun was this one through an arch. There was another small opening in the rock, and I positioned myself to a spot where the sun was just catching the edge of the rock. This was a matter of inches in either direction for getting the sunburst I wanted, or getting full blown sun flare.
With decent optics, and just a little bit of time in editing, there are times you don’t need anything to filter the sun out at all.
Sometimes, I’ve gotten lucky, and the perfect cloud has moved into place. This photo from the Grand Canyon was one of those moments. The cloud was just large enough to block the sun for about 10 seconds – all I needed.
Of course, there was nothing like the film days, and being able to stop down to f/64 or f/90 with a large format lens. I think there might have been a little humidity in the air to help this one, too.
As is probably obvious by now, I have a fascination with the desert. The plants, features, textures and moods always provide reasons to explore further. Although I have experienced serenity in the desert, I’m not sure I have images that convey that mood – especially to those who have never truly explored those same places.
I think there are many who would agree that oceans are a great place to find serenity, especially on a remote beach at sunrise. I find that sunrises, in general, tend to be more peaceful and calming than sunsets. Perhaps because they signal the start of a new day, often witnessed alone. Almost everyone I know thinks this is not a good time to be awake yet. That’s OK. More serenity for me to enjoy.
I can find calm settings just about anywhere in nature, but I think forested mountains would have to be second on my list, right after oceans. Having a lake or a small stream is certainly an added element of calming.
I spend a fair amount of time in airplanes. By allowing myself to get distracted looking out the windows, I find this can become very calming, especially when flying over seemingly infinite cloud cover.
Also making my list would have to be any moment when witnessing a rainbow. This one happened to be from an airplane. Ahhhhhhh!
- Feature photo: Early morning on a black sand beach in Hawaii
- 2nd: Same beach and morning as above
- 3rd: Sunrise from Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- 4th: Small lake in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah
- 5th: Infinite rolling hills from the Black Hills, South Dakota
- 6th: Minimal cloud cover over the Gulf of Mexico
- 7th: Sea of clouds somewhere over Texas
- 8th: Rainbow upon approach to Sacramento, California
Last week I had a short trip to the east coast, and managed to get a little time at the beach. On my second day there, the clouds lit up for a sunset that was very nice. After that I continued shooting, knowing that any of those shots would be best as b&w. The last one of the night turned out to be my favorite, and is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. You can go to her site to see photos contributed by others, as well as instructions on how to participate.
This is one of those rare times when the last shot of the morning turns out to be my favorite. I had been up for sunrise, near that hill in the lower part of the frame. The first minutes of daylight had a powerful glow, with just enough clouds to add some life to the scene. As the morning progressed, the light continued to change with the building clouds. After taking photographs for more than 2 hours, I thought I had exhausted all the possibilities, and was heading back down the trail. I turned around in time to see this, and fire off a couple shots. The saturation didn’t have the pop that was present in my early morning pics, but that didn’t matter. I knew right away this was meant to be in b&w.
You will see this photo along with those of other bloggers in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.
I love hidden treasures – those places you come across that very few people visit or even know about. This is one of those places. It’s on the edge of metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, and so close it may be in the city limits. But, for the millions living there, most have never seen this.
The water flows year round, and it used to be the dogs’ favorite spot for a walk. Just not today. Photography came first. The scents of the river covered my clothing, and I was frantically sniffed upon returning, and given looks that said How could you go there without us? I was soon forgiven because dogs are great at that.
This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. You can see what other bloggers have added at Leanne’s site.
Cumulus clouds and sunsets can often combine for some of my favorite lighting in color photographs. This was a bit early for the underside of the clouds to display the changing colors, but the atmospheric conditions made the timing for this shot perfect.
This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. You can see more b&w images from other photographers on her website’s blog.
An ordinary day on the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. There were no dramatic waves nor spectacular storm clouds. As the sun was setting, only two patches of cloud remained lit. I loved the way they reflected shafts of light across the water and into the sandy area where the waves were receding. To me, that’s what made this shot stand out from the rest I took that day.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”
Last summer, I was out hiking a favorite trail in Red Rock Canyon, when I saw this group of storm clouds building over a ridge. I knew this meant it was time to be heading back to my vehicle. I miss having real weather, as this summer has pretty much been a letdown for photography locally.
See more on Ed’s site, Sunday Stills!
Last summer I was out at my playground, Red Rock Canyon, waiting for a sunset. I started out taking what I thought was going to be a three or four frame stitched shot. As I moved the camera upwards, the clouds still looked great, and the next thing I knew, I was leaning backwards with the camera pointed straight up. I checked the other horizon and thought I might as well keep going. Photoshop will not stitch together a shot of completely blue sky or even one with thin wisps. I wasn’t sure if this setting was going to come together, but it did with no problems.