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
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
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.
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.
Posted in "landscape photography", Image Thoughts, Photographs
Tagged "landscape photography", landscape, Medano Ranch, nature photography, photograph, San Luis Valley, Stephen Weaver, sunset, wild iris
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
Summer Solstice Sunrise Over Lake Superior
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!
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 and East Temple Peaks, Wind River Range ©Stephen Weaver
Posted in Photographs, Trip reports
Tagged "landscape photography", alpine, Deep Lake, landscape, mountains, photography, reflections, Temple Peak, Wind River Range, Wyoming
Ferns grow in a grove of Aspen in Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota ©Stephen Weaver
During my Mid-West trip I spent several days in Minnesota including time at Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior and Buffalo River State Park just east of Moorhead. The day I traveled to Buffalo River SP I passed through Tamarac National Wildlife refuge on a rather rainy afternoon. Tamarac NWR lies just at the western edge of the great northern forests of northern Minnesota and within 15 miles of the refuge you reach the prairie. The rainy day provided excellent soft light that is perfect for photographing forest environments. Wandering a bit in this forest I found this composition of aspen trees and ferns.
Continuing on with the sunrise – dawn light theme, I present an image from the UP of Michigan, made in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Of the two sunrises I photographed there, this is my favorite. I was drawn to the simple almost minimalist layered composition and of course the beautiful pastel shades of reds, orange and blues. Of several exposures, this provided the slight wave-ripple on the water that adds strength to the composition. One other composition note: I placed the horizon right in the middle to divide the image into two major layers of water and sky, each of which have subtle layers within them bases on color tones. Enjoy:
Lake Superior Dawn, Porcupine Mtns State Park, MI ©Stephen Weaver
Posted in Photographs, Trip reports
Tagged "landscape photography", dawn, Lake Superior, landscape, Michigan, nature, photography, sunrise, UP, Upper Pennisula
One last image from Nebraska before I move on to other images from my mid-west trip. My absolute favorite time of day to photograph is that magic time just at and before sunrise. If clouds are present above the horizon and the horizon is itself clear, the clouds can take on amazing colors of pinks, reds and orange as they reflect the light from the rising sun. This sunrise made at Smith Lake was fabulous and although I did not know it when I photographed it, this would be the first of several amazing sunrises I would see and photograph in the following days.
Smith Lake Sunrise ©Stephen Weaver