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Monthly Archives: December 2011
Umbria was a magical land of diversity in central Italy. From mountains to valleys, castles to rolling hills – all under a mystical, swirling sky.
On an afternoon drive from Todi to Spelo we came across this storybook scene of rolling wheat fields with a villa on the horizon.
It was the perfect symbol of a remote and peaceful land framed by clouds in the Umbrian sky.
The restored Tate Barn is an iconic landmark in Midway, not far from our Park City home. It’s an often photographed landmark, but one that has eluded me through the years.
On an early fall day, after the first snow in the mountains, I had an early photo shoot at Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic cross country venue. The early light was cast beautifully on the barn with snow-covered Mt. Timpanogos in the background – an idyllic scene and a great HDR opportunity.
Fall of 2011 was simply amazing – color everywhere and extending for over six weeks. The one thing that was missing in our own Wasatch Mountains, though, were reds. So it was a quick car stopper when we ventured up the Mirror Lake Highway towards the High Uintahs and found this amazing patch of red, green and yellow.
This is a longer telephoto look at a grove of trees not far from Soapstone Basin. It was photographed with a Nikon D700 fitted with a Nikkor 70-300 lens on a Manfrotto tripod. single shot, no HDR.
Of all the many dozens of selects I chose from this past fall, this one has always stood out in my mind for the vividness and diversity of the color.
It was, literally, an Autumn Rainbow!
One of my longtime photographer friends, Rod Hanna, got me thinking about clouds several years ago in Utah’s redrock country. Nothing against a clear blue sky, but clouds make a photograph.
Sadly, puffy clouds in the morning are a rarity in the desert. So I was delighted early one morning in Moab when the sky began to fill with cumulous clouds at sunrise.
The Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park are very accessible, located right on the main drive. They are massive redrock reflectors in the morning. But on this day, they were enveloped in some of the most beautiful, puffy white clouds I had ever seen.
Knowing my interest in HDR, most think this is a multi-image photograph. It it not. It was just an amazing morning with fast, racing clouds ripping across the sky.
The photograph was made with a Nikon D300 fitted with a Nikkor 16-85 on a Manfrotto tripod.
I love barns. What photographer doesn’t? Barns are prolific in my home state of Wisconsin. So when I’m back there, I love cruising the rolling hills at sunrise searching for a great photograph.
I had spotted this particular farm several days earlier. I made several sunrise trips up there with no success. This particular morning, the shoot was going well with a magical sky and mystical light. But as I photographed the red barn, I noticed all the birds resting on a silo. I immediately changed the shot … and waited.
With camera on tripod (brand new Nikon D700 with Nikkor 70-300mm zoom), I waited. And I waited. Suddenly, the birds flew. The sun reflected off them against the darkened western sky. And the magic of the early morning light through the clouds painted a colorful picture on the silos.
It wasn’t what I came for, but it was a fantastic result and one of my favorite photographs of 2011.
One of my most enjoyable memories of 2011 were the days spent aboard the pontoon on Lake Owen with Bill and Ralph, my guides as I photographed for a pictorial book on the Northern Wisconsin Lake. This particular photograph became my favorite from the moment we turned into this bay one August morning.
Lake Owen has an amazing history, originally settled during the logging boom of the late 19th century. Top to bottom it measures nearly 12 miles with over 1,300 acres.
While I have much background in the Cable Lakes region, I had not spent much time on Lake Owen (other than living in a non-winterized cabin the winter of 1977-78). So as we cruised the bays and channels, I was in constant awe of the scenery.
We were blessed with perfect shooting conditions each day. Making images from a pontoon boat isn’t the most stable, but a tripod, calm waters and good boatsmanship from Captain Bill made it all worthwhile.
Most of the boathouses on the lake date back 50 more years. And with present regulations, you can’t build, remodel or substantively repair the existing structures. At some point in the foreseeable future, they will go away. That will be a sad day.
This particular boathouse struck me for its vivid red with green trim, reflected in the calm sunrise mornings.
The image was made with a Nikon D300 fitted with a Nikkor 70-300 zoom on a Manfrotto tripod.
This was an amazing afternoon! We were on a Sunday drive on the alpine loop between Cascade Springs and Sundance on the backside of Utah’s Wasatch Range. It was a stormy day with the skies opening and closing, back and forth.
Along the drive, we stopped at a scenic overlook with a view out to the southeast. The clouds were dancing with the mountaintops as brightly blooming wildflowers whipped in the breeze.
Despite the breeze, somehow I was able to capture the scene with a four-image HDR – requiring some special work on the wildflowers that weren’t exactly standing still. The fast-moving clouds were also a bit of an issue.
What was also impressive was the scene of the shoot. I was able to take partial shelter under the edge of the Audi hatchback, with the camera pretty much out in the elements – sheltered with a shirt to protect it ever so slightly from the driving rain.
Most notably, this photograph is my wife, Carole’s, favorite of the year. It was one of those photographs she encouraged me to make and knitted patiently in the Audi while I got soaked for 15 minutes. Her creative eye is often an inspiration and I think of her every time I view this scene.
Whew, tough picking my top 10 favorite photographs of 2011. But before I get going, I have to include a moment that was very special for me – grandaughter Naomi taking over the controls of a nuclear reactor on our Tour de Heartland trip last August.
This photograph has two special meanings for me. First, it showcases Naomi having fun, doing a little Vanna wave. This was one of those “why are we stopping here” stops. But Naomi dug right in. We were in the middle of nowhere in the Idaho desert, visiting a 60-year-old nuclear reactor. Naomi was drawn immediately to the control room and took charge, just as if she were working the panel of ERB-1 back in 1951.
The other important element of the photograph is it drew me back to my days as a young ham radio operator – Naomi’s age. The dials, switches and meters triggered nostalgia of a different electronic era.
This particular nuclear reactor is ERB-1 at the Idaho National Laboratory near Arco, Idaho. The reactor was the first atomic power generating station in the world when it was switched on back in 1951.
The smile and the dials all add up to one of my top 10 favorite photographs for 2011.