Intimate landscapes…revisited

So…it’s spring again, and I’ll try to make time to be a little more active here on the blog. My apologies for lack of posting throughout the winter.

Green tranquility

The magic place

 

I have previously written about my love for intimate landscapes. I love a grand vista as much as everyone, and more or less plan my trips around viewpoints and with a more or less grand landscape in mind. But as I previously have stated, throughout the years I have drifted more and more towards photographing more intimate scenes. Not only do that type of landscapes open up for an infinitely larger variation of scenes and are more forgiving wiht respect to light, but I also find it more challenging and rewarding to work around a specific composition. Trying to figure out a small scene is pretty much like solving a puzzle or crossword. I particularly like to work with forest-scenes and although it can be extremely challenging to come up with a composition that conveys the mood or pass on a message of some kind, it is also very rewarding when I feel I achieve that.

I have a few inspirational sources, or favourite photographers if you will, when it comes to this genre. Besides the obvious Eliot Porter who probably first came up with the term “intimate landscape” with respect to photography (major exhibiton at Metropolitan museum of art and printed publication titled “Intimate landscapes” in 1979 – google it!) there are also more contemporary masters of the craft. I could name numerous, but photographers like Serkan Gunes, Hans Strand, G Dan Mitchell and Christioher Burkett stand out, in my opinion.

Misty spring

Misty autumn

Having worked dedicated on intimate landscapes for only a few years, I’m definitely a novice in the genre. But I will continue to focus on the small scenes as I find it extremely rewarding and great fun.

Summer storm, Grand Canyon

Mather Point summer storm.

Mather Point summer storm.

 

The first time I visited the south rim of Grand Canyon, weather was grey and wet. As I checked into a nearby hotel, a summer-storm approached with thunder and lightning. After a quick meal I drove to Mather Point and was totally awestruck by the vastness of this magnificent place. It is true as they say, absolutely nothing can prepare you for Grand Canyon! I walked back and forth between Mather and Yavapai points, searching for a good composition. A light rain in the air blurred out some of the canyon as the storm over north rim faded away. I got a few ok shots, but the conditions were difficult. However, as sunset closed in, a crack in the skies allowed for some direct sunlight in the canyon and a rainbow appeared for a few minutes in the tail-end of the storm. My position wasn’t ideal but I kept running back and forth and photographed frantically. When I came back to the hotel I had over 100 shots, which is very much for me in a little over an hour. When I later started to process them I was somewhat disappointed as most of them were grey and dull, and they have been hidden on one of my hard-drives until now. I sat down and started to process a few of them the other day, and managed to bring forward some of the magic I felt that late june afternoon last year. The image on the top is a composite of several shots, to compensate for the difficult light-conditions and bring forwards the details in my experience.To capture the lightning I used a ND-filter to allow a thirty seconds exposure and increase the chances of getting at least one lightning. However, in this long exposure, the rainbow totally disappeared, so I had to blend 3 images together to make room for the complete experience; One for the sky with the rainbow, one for the canyon and one for the sky with the lightning.

This next image is a single exposure from a slightly different position, allowing a little more foreground. To convey the vastness of Grand Canyon, I included a few people. I don’t know if you can see them, but they are tiny, dots on the mid-portion of the nearby left hand rim. Far below, around 1000m down, you can barely spot a small section of the Colorado River in the lower right corner.

Rainbow, Mather Point.

Rainbow, Mather Point.

 

The last image was captured at Yavapai Point the next morning. I arrived there in pitch darkness an hour before sunrise. I enjoyed the solitude and silence and captured a few images of the starlit canyon. As sunrise closed in, busloads of people arrived, and in a few minutes, thousands of people roamed the brim to see the sunrise. Ten minutes later, I was all by myself again. The world is a strange place.

Sunrise at Yavapai point

 

 

Hope you like my work, feel free to send me a note, visit my online-gallery or follow me on instagram, G+, Facebook or 500px. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

Spring sunrise

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Trondheim, Norway, March 2015.

Although we have recently had a few cold days here in Norway, and even some snow last weekend, spring is definitely on its way! Sunrise is starting to be uncomfortable early, making me get up before 5am to catch the good light. This image was captured a week ago. Skies were initially totally clear, but minutes before sunrise, some clouds appeared and, in my opinion, made this image.

Tech details: Hasselblad H5D-50, HC 28mm, lee little stopper + 2 step ND grad, 5 sec exposure, f.16.

Hope you like it, have a super wednesday!

Dag Ole

Monochrome trees

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Evolution and improvement always originate in altered given conditions or challenges. As creative beings we need inspiration, but we also need to get out of our comfort-zones (cliché alarm!!) and try new things from time to time to avoid stagnation. I find great inspiration in studying other photographers and I have a fair share of people whose work I follow regularly, both on-line, in photography-competitions and on exhibitions. Many of these photographers have a style totally apart from my regular modus operandi, but I find it extremely stimulating to analyze their work, maybe just because it is so different from my regular style (A series about my favourite photographers is on its way here!)

I continuously scrutinize my own work and try to challenge myself to improve. I embark on different projects and set myself clear goals. Most often, I decide to try new things which involve a different approach to the subject matter, the photographic process and the postprocessing I have become accustomed to. This way, I force myself to see the world with new eyes. Although the results may be so-and-so, I always learn something about technical details, composition and my vision.

By the end of last year I decided to commit myself (for a period, at least) to work more with intimate landscapes, monochrome, forests and trees. This was partly due to inspiration from other photographers but mostly because I wanted to expand my vision, improve my compositional skills and learn to apply new methods in capturing and postprocessing. More about this process later, but for now I just wanted to share some of the results so far. Hope you like them. Have a splendid week!

Dag Ole

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Personal favorites of 2014. Post #4. Bavaria.

For the last of my 2014 favorites postings I have selected a few images from my autumn trip to Bavaria and the German Alps. I have shared all these images before here on my blog, so I won’t bother you with repeating the story behind them.

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Evening light, Riessersee

 

 

The trip to Germany exceeded all my expectations. I was really fortunate with the autumn colors and the weather. I hope to return to this region soon, maybe already next autumn.

Bavarian forest

Bavarian forest

 

 

This concludes my 2014 favorites postings, and it only remains to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2015! I will be back next year with more images, so stay tuned!

Dag Ole

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Enchanted forest

 

Personal favorites of 2014. Post #3. From The West.

Setting sun at Cape Royal

Setting sun at Cape Royal

 

The western parts of the USA is a landscape photographers dream. Period. From the roaring shores of Big Sur to the breathtaking views of Grand Canyon, this part of the world showcase some of the most beautiful, dramatic and picturesque locations on our planet. California, the Sierras, and Yosemite in particular, is by many considered to be the cradle of landscapephotography. Ansel Adams and other members of group f.64 brought the sheer beauty of this area to the rest of the world and in many ways sparked the environmental movements we see today.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Western USA for one month this summer on a trip that took me to iconic locations like Yosemite and the Sierras, the Pacific coastline, Death Valley, Antelope Canyon and Navajoland, Zion National Park, Joshua tree National Park and of course Grand Canyon. Although I have visited several of these locations before, this trip brought many new images and memories that will stay with me forever. And I will return. Hopefully soon.

The first of my favorites from this trip (top of page) is from the North Rim og Grand Canyon, specifically from Cape Royal. In contrast to the often crowded conditions on the south-rim, I was almost alone here this evening. I had planned this shot for a long time, and was very happy to see the skies clearing just as the sun set.

 

Magic morning, Yosemite

Magic morning, Yosemite

 

Yosemite Valley is known for its amazing beauty. And I must agree. Although I have visited before, I always lose my breath when I drive into the valley and see the 1000 meters tall cliffs with beautiful waterfalls, wonderful forests and the Merced river. This morning I was fortunate to find some morning fog around El Capitan meadow and I walked into the woods below El Capitan with an image like this in mind.

 

Setting Moon, Badwater

Setting moon, Badwater

 

The advantage of visiting Death Valley in summer is the solitude. Although never crowded, I found myself mostly in total solitude when I visited this June. The drawback is of course the temperatures, often reaching close to 50deg C. I have planned my visit to coincide with a full moon, with this particular image in mind. However, the day of the full moon, the light was flat and dull. So the day after, I repeated my 2-3 km walk out on the Badwater saltpans, and this morning the sunrise was beautiful.

 

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Light in Lower Antelope Canyon

 

The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon just outside Page, Arizona,  has reached iconic status among photographers. From being mostly unknown as late as in the 1980-ies, a photography session there now is a very crowded experience. I found lower Antelope Canyon to be most rewarding photographically, as there are far fewer people here and the rock-formations are just as stunning.

Hope you like my images, I will be back in one of the next day with one last 2014-favorites post.

 

Dag Ole

The intimate landscape

Fern and cascade. Yosemite Valley, 2014.
As a landscapephotographer, I love a grand vista as much as anyone. However, as years has gone by, I find the more intimate landscapes more and more appealing. Working for hours in a small forest or by a waterfall can yield numerous rewarding compositions. Also, the light may be more forgiving, or at least not as crucial as with a grand vista, making it possible to make nice images also on grey and dull days. This is a composition from a day like that. Yosemite valley is always wonderful, regardless of weather, but this was my best image from that day. Hope you like it too!
This is a new release in my gallery nordhaugphotography.com Prints available from today!
fernandcascade