A rainbow stretches over a montain valley outside of Nederland, Colorado during an Autumn thunderstorm. It was a pretty incredible scene as you can well imagine. It's times like this I am thankful that I'm a photographer. ---John
Regardless of what anyone says, it really is all about the light. There is nothing else that can have such a dramatic and profound impact on a photo as the lighting within a scene. So it was yesterday morning at Belmar Park here in Colorado. I didn't have much time to shoot this scene as the light was fleeting so fast at sunrise with the clouds rolling in but I managed a few good ones for the couple of minutes which I had that I am pretty happy with. I really love this place, a very intimate little lagoon area surrounded by several lakes and ponds that are rich in wildlife and habitat. I am also pretty well floored that this photo is currently featured under the G+ "What's Hot" section [link]
To say I have a love affair with dirt country roads in Fall is an understatement to say the least. There is just something about them which I adore, maybe it is the feeling of just being out there in the country, rural America, simpler life, simpler things...whatever it is though I love them! This was captured outside of Central City, Colorado when the light was just amazing a little before sundown. Photographed using a combination of in camera HDR, a circular polarizer and a Grad ND filter. ---John
Photo thoughts--- It was so quiet that you never heard a thing except for the bugle of the Elk across the lake. Everything seemed to be at peace and at ease as I watched the sunrise along the shores of Lake Estes in Estes Park, Colorado this past Autumn. Tranquility in it's finest form with a cool very slight breeze to keep me company. The building in the background is the legendary Stanley Hotel, one of the most haunted places in America and where the book "The Shining" was written at. I imagine that the ghosts were probably sipping coffee and watching the amazing painted sky from it's deck and veranda. As I said in my previous post, this is where my heart belongs along with my creative spirit and I think you may understand why from this photograph of mine. ---John
A country road along Kenosha Pass Colorado cuts through the beautiful Fall Aspen trees. Anyone who has shot with me knows I am a complete sucker for dirt roads during Autumn that wind and twist through the Aspen trees. I was actually shooting the scene that was 180 degrees opposite of this and swung around to check out the light behind me when I saw this. I pretty much went "wow" when I noticed it with how the light just danced against the golden Aspen trees and that blue sky. Captured using my cameras HDR ability and panoramic format. ---John
This was a tough shot. I won't lie, one of the hardest exposures I have ever taken. The dynamic range was just absolutely gigantic and even using my Sony a550's ability to shoot HDR in camera set to almost full & a 4 stop Grad ND I was having trouble. In the end I managed to pull off one that was a keeper. There isn't much out here on the eastern plains of Colorado. A lot of dirt roads that go one forever, open range for cattle and abandoned farms dot the landscape. It some ways it is like a land which time forgot, lost in the past eons ago. It is also very very quiet. In many ways it gives you the sense that the end of the world has happened. It is kind of spooky. It is also very beautiful. I wanted this shot and I wanted it bad. There was something just odd about this scene that got me. Here stood this windmill, the kind you see in the yards of old farmhouses, yet there was no house, there was no yard. Maybe at one time perhaps there was ages ago, but whatever trace of anything there is long gone.It got me though, greatly. I found the whole scene kind of ironic really. Surreal. Light, all of life is based around it and yet, here this windmill stood with the light reflecting on the blades, but nothing around it at all. A sense of man with no man at all. That light in the blades though? A complete catalyst for a photographer. I hope you all enjoy it ---John
Featured & Published! My photograph here is published in the second issue of "Exposed Photography Magazine" [link] It has also been featured inside PhotoExtract.com [link]
A wallhanger! A few weeks ago I took advantage of Adorama's sale on large metallic prints and ordered up a 20x30 of this shot...all I can say is 'wow'. I\f you all wanted a print from me or ever thought about purchasing one of my images I have to say that this one makes a dang brilliant shot to hang! It isn't often I speak highly of my own work but this time with this shot? It's an exception. It really looks incredible printed large!
About the image--- Tranquility. It is one of the things I seem to chase after besides light a great deal when photographing. Smaller, more intimate scenes that I imagine many would otherwise look over. This spot has long been a favorite location of mine, there is just something about it. I have never really gotten a Fall photo though worth much though until this year. See, here in Colorado, just before sunrise (when I am often shooting) we have this thing we call "the solar mountain breeze (among other things depending on your level of frustration at the time lol) in which the breeze picks up. It usually starts 30 minutes before sunrise and can make shots like this next to impossible. I lucked out with it on the morning when I photographed this. Big time. It was completely still for once, with the gentle breeze only being caused from the water rushing by.
Technical stuff--- Sony a550, Minolta 18-200mm lens, stacked Fotodiox CPL and ND8, about 3.5 seconds at f14, tripod and wireless shutter release. Also anchored my backpack on the center column hook for more stability. Other than that?
Video of location I shot while photographing this--- I shot a quick little cell phone vid of us shooting this scene [link] if you would care to check it out, a little shaky as the light was low
The sun crests the horizon at sunrise and hits the Cottonwood trees and Pine's at Belmar Park in Lakewood, Colorado. One of the most incredible displays of light I have ever witnessed contrasting against a stormy morning thunderstorm sky. Incredible living and fleeting light changing by every second. I hope you all like it ---John
Sony a550 Minolta 35-70mm F4 lens Tripod, CPL, Grad ND
Insight about the shot---Light. I am always chasing it. There just isn't much of anything else that can add so much to a shot than light. I guess that's why I wake up at crazy times of the morning )3am often) to get on location to have the best conditions. There is an old saying that sort goes like "artist's suffer for their craft", am I suffering waking up at such a crazy time of the day? I don't see it as such at all because the reward is so great. To sit and photograph with nothing around you, no noise, no people, just the sound of the leaves rustling and the birds singing. Everything feels so much more alive at the hours before dawn and during it. The world seems like a much calmer place and time just seems to move slow.
This was captured at Cherry Creek State Park with a couple of friends I shoot with on a cool gorgeous Autumn morning. The only other person we saw was a lone fisherman who had been there all night long, just relaxing on the shore and casting a line. Other than that, completely void of people.
Technical info---I really liked how the pathway lead into the trees. I also really liked how the fence worked with a sense of forced perspective which basically forces the viewers eyes down the path. I have a shot without it as well but I feel the composition in this capture is far better considering what it does. I wanted to portray the light the best I could and have the viewer enveloped, surrounded and wrapped in it. Not a easy shot to especially shoot either with just a huge dynamic range, so had to use my Sony a550's ability to shoot HDR in body with a setting of 3 backed by a Fotodiox CPL and Grad ND. After several tried I got it using that setup. The darks and lights had a happy medium, at least in my eyes with holding back the brightness of the leaves some.
This past weekend myself along with one of my shooting buddies headed out to the eastern plains of Colorado to do some hunting for some good old "rural decay" as I call it. We wouldn't come away empty handed. We found this old abandoned farm and decided to double back to photograph it at sunset. I was thinking that this place may be really lit up against the setting sun and I bet right (for once) The light was completely crazy lighting up the barn that you see here and illuminating the sky behind it, turning it this glowing iridescent indigo blue.
How I took it & processed it--- I don't have an ultra wide angle lens and used my 18-200mm for this capture. When I was standing at the lower bottom of the road up to the barn, I noticed that by going as wide as I could, it really accentuated a forced perspective with giving the impression that is shot wider than what it actually is. So going with that and the composition, I took the shot. I actually hand held this capture with only using my CPL and no grads...didn't really need a grad thanks to the light. As far as processing goes, almost entirely done in Lightroom with slight HDR masking in a few areas to bring out the texture & local contrast in the wood of the barn. The road was untouched for this. While it may give the impression of an HDR look and feel, the textures you see are just how my camera captured them. I was rather worried about about the telephone lines but that worry proved unfounded. If anything I am still shocked this place even had power at one time. It has been abandoned for an awfully long time. It sure was gorgeous though! ---John