Tag Archives: landscape

Gallery

Winter Colors,Textures and Patterns: Frosty Trees and Grass

This gallery contains 6 photos.

On a recent trip returning from Kansas I had a very  productive day photographing frosty grass and trees. The earth toned colors of the grasses combined with heavy frost and ice on the grass and bare tees made for some … Continue reading

Bosque Moonset

I took my my annual trip down to Bosque del Apache NWR this year during the last week of December to coincide with the full “Blue Moon” on December 31/Jan 1.  I often time my trips to coincide with full moons so that I may photograph moon rises and moon sets. The best time to photograph a moon rise is usually  the day before the full moon, as the rising moon will occur  before sunset and allow a nice balance with sunset light. Of course if there are clouds on the eastern horizon, the moon is obscured and that was the case at Bosque this year. The best time to photograph the full moon set is the morning following the full moon or occasionally one morning later. Again the idea is to balance the position of the moon with the pre-sunrise light. Another interesting element that may be present is the earth shadow. In the western US, if the horizons are clear before sunrise or after sunset, the presence of the earth’s shadow  is often visible as a pink and blue band on the horizon opposite the rising or setting sun. The juxtaposition of such an earth shadow with the full moon can make a stunning image, and this was one of the images I was after at Bosque. I was fortunate to have almost perfect conditions on the morning of New Years Day and managed to make the image seen here. A few clouds were present that masked the effect of the earth shadow but  they took on the wonderful  pink glow of pre-sunrise light that photographers love. It was cold enough that a group of Sand Hill Cranes were huddled together with their necks buried in under their wings and their legs actually frozen in the ice. After the sun rose it was quite comical watching them trying to extract themselves and then run and slide across the ice to take off.

New Years day full moon set over the Crane Pools at Bosque del Apache NWR

Sandhill Cranes getting ready to takeoff at Bosque del Apache NWR

Extracting an Image: layers, patterns and colors

One of my favorite places to photograph is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Its a great place to extract natural abstract images  built on patterns, textures, colors and forms. I made this image last Spring and as I  wandered  among the dunes, I was drawn to the patterns of magnetite, illmenite and other dark heavy oxide minerals that are concentrated by  the wind winnowing away the lighter less dense quartz and feldspar grains. These diagonal layers of  dark patches in contrast to the  golden colored layers of rippled sand in the foreground combine to make an interesting  graphic image. A print of this image is currently on display at the Visitor Center in the park.

Location Planning and Anticipating the Light

My image Iris Meadow Sunset was recently chosen for  the September Cover of the Rocky Mountain Nature Photographers web-site. The story behind this image provides a great example of what some location planning  and the ability to react to  sky conditions quickly can do for the landscape photographer. I am a member of the Chico Basin Ranch Artists and this June we were down on the Zapata-Medano Ranch in the San Luis Valley for our annual Artists Gathering. Conditions on the ranch were perfect with fresh snow on the mountains and the  wet meadows ablaze with blooms of wild iris. During our first evenings dinner I was watching the sky through one of the windows and quickly realized the sunset light was going to be spectacular.  I excused my self and quickly jumped in the my truck and drove a  few miles to a location   I had scouted earlier in the day. I arrived just in time and  quickly set up on this  composition as the sunset  began lighting up the clouds over the Sangre de Cristo Range. The resulting image  turned out to one of the best I made during the trip. This light only lasted a few minutes and if I had not scouted the location and  been able to react quickly to the developing conditions, this image would have been lost.

Iris Meadow Sunset

Lake Superior Summer Solstice Sunrise

During my  June trip through the upper Midwest I spent several days in Minnesota. The day before the Summer Solstice I arrived at Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It was a Saturday and the park was absolutely packed with people enjoying the spectacular waterfalls. Because of harsh light and the crowds of people I did very little photography that day, instead I scouted locations along the shore for the following morning’s sunrise.  I woke the next morning at about 4:00 AM and could tell almost immediately that the dawn light and sunrise was going to be spectacular.  I hiked down to the shore to the spots I had scouted the day before and waited for the light show to begin and Summer  officially start. As you can see from the two images below I was not disappointed!

Lake Superior Summer Solstice Dawn Light

Lake Superior Summer Solstice Dawn Light

Summer Solstice Sunrise Over Lake Superior

Summer Solstice Sunrise Over Lake Superior

photo: Green River Storm Light

Storm clouds in the Upper Green River Valley, Wyoming

Storm clouds in the Upper Green River Valley, Wyoming

Here is another image from my recent Wyoming trip. After hiking out in the snow and rain from the Deep Lake area in the Wind Rivers  I headed to the upper Green River valley near Green River Lakes. The afternoon of August 15 provided some of the most amazing storm light I have witnessed with rapidly moving clouds punctuated by changing sun light. It was spectacular to watch and photograph. This image is one of several I made throughout the late afternoon. What makes this one standout is the light highlighting  the  colors of the marsh grasses along the river in combination with the incredible sky and clouds.  Sometimes you get lucky!

Wind River Range Trip

I returned last night from a trip into the Wind River Range in Wyoming where I backpacked into the Deep Lake area from the Big Sandy Opening trail-head.  As much I like to photograph the prairie, there are times I need to return to the mountains and the alpine environment; places that are close to my heart and I came to love when I first ventured west as an undergraduate geology student at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Although I have visited and traveled in many  of the mountain ranges in the West over the last 35 years, I have  not really been back to the “Winds” since I was a serious technical mountain climber back in my 20’s and 30’s. It was an immense pleasure to travel once again into what I consider to be some of  the finest  mountains in  the West and I was blessed with interesting weather and some stunning light.  The two images below were made early  in the morning on August 14 in  Deep Lake  cirque with the rugged and magnificent peaks of East Temple and Temple Peak rising over the lake. I was very fortunate to have  fabulous  early morning golden light, along with  perfectly calm conditions that allowed me to make an almost perfect reflection image of Temple Peak in the lake. It was the start of a  wonderful day in the magical environment of the alpine zone of the Wind Rivers.

Temple Peak Reflects in Deep Lake   ©Stephen Weaver

Temple Peak Reflects in Deep Lake ©Stephen Weaver

Temple and East Temple Peaks, Wind River Range   ©Stephen Weaver

Temple and East Temple Peaks, Wind River Range ©Stephen Weaver