Monthly Archives: October 2009

Memories of Summer: Oklahoma Tall Grass Prairie Sunrise

A blast  of Winter came to Colorado over the last few days; snow, cold and wind. Now I actually like cold and snowy weather; it can provide  beautiful and challenging photography, but my senses  were still accustomed to the wonderful  warm days of Indian Summer in Colorado that were present just days before the storm . This morning, as I scraped the ice off my truck in 16 degree temps, my mind wandered back to my summer excursions, particular to a trip I made in July to Oklahoma when the temperatures went over 100 degrees. On one day I spent a wonderful morning at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in the Osage Hills of Northern Oklahoma and was able to capture a great sunrise. Conditions were perfect with incredible verdant green grass and wonderful clouds in the sky that lit up as the sun hit the horizon. Viewing it certainly warms me up and brings back wonderful memories. Isn’t that why we all make photographs?

Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie Sunrise

Sunrise on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Oklahoma

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Slow Down and Look: The Joy of the Intimate Landscape

One of my absolute favorite photographic subjects  are intimate compositions of grasses. Finding and making  these “Tapestries of Grass” is a joy but also a challenge to extract an image from an environment that at quick glance may seem mundane or  even chaotic. The secret I believe in making any good intimate landscapes is to slow down and really look at the environment around you. When I am out I will often just stop and stand still for several minutes, scanning the surroundings and watching the light. More often that not something will catch my eye.  I look for patterns, textures, and colors and if it strikes me I set up the tripod and precisely fine-tune the composition.  If it all comes together I make the photograph, if not I move on.  The following image made in Kansas at the Webster Wildlife area is a good example. It was made from spending at least  30 minutes wandering and looking in an area of  prairie less than acre in size. Kansas Autumn Grass Tapestry

Social Networking: Find me on Facebook

After much thought and quite frankly a  bit of reluctance, I have today  entered  the world of social networking by starting a facebook page.  I view facebook as a complement to this blog and my website to reach out to friends, colleagues and clients. Check it out for news, show announcements, notes on trips, and coming soon,  announcement of workshops I will be giving.

More from Kansas: Monument Rocks

Monument Rocks Arch

Monument Rocks Arch and Earth Shadow

Last week on my way to attend the opening of the Kansas Park Trust show in KC  I included a stop  at Monument Rocks to photograph them in dawn and sunrise light. Monument Rocks are a collection of pinnacles composed of the the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation located in Gove County south of the town of Oakley. Lithologicaly they are composed of chalk, a very fine grained limestone formed from accumulations of the shells of  tiny microscopic marine organisms.  The down cutting of the Smokey Hill River has eroded away most of the formation leaving the 70 foot high pinnacles. As a photographer and a geologist they make great subjects and over the years I have often photographed them.  Last Friday morning the sky was absolutely clear with no clouds which is often not the best for spectacular  sunrises, but very nice for the development of a nice earth shadow, the subtle pink and blue band visible on the western horizon in this photograph of the Monument Rock Arch.

The next image was made just after the sun rose and illuminated one of the other pinnacles. By blending three exposures I was able to maintain detail in the shadowed pinnacle without over exposing the sunlit pinnacle.  The new digital tools we have today have greatly expanded our ability to capture the natural world as our eyes see it!

Monument Rocks Sunrise Light

Monument Rocks Sunrise Light