It is the day after the Summer Solstice (longest day of the year), and for us here in Oklahoma, the heat is on and the winds are gusting out of the South at 20 to 25. Summer here is one of my least favorite times of the year. Lots of blowing dust and the heat has been in the low to mid 90s since early last week, and we are expected to be in the 100s by the middle of next week. For a photographer, it is a good time to scout out locations after early morning shoots (when the winds are not howling), so I have been driving the back roads in search of something new.
Google+ has finally worked the bugs out of its newest iteration, so I have been posting almost daily some new work, and some old, in an effort to build my social media following. Thanks to all of you who have looked, commented, and +1'd. There are some really great photographers on G+ that are relatively unknown, so if you have some time check out the 'Landscape Photography Community'.
I have been asked why I do not have a Facebook page. It is nothing personal against the many followers of the site, but I find that it seems to be a 'venue' for people to post their drama, and their likes and dislikes without any real substance. I realize that this is not the case for all, but I choose not to get lost in the shuffle. G+ allows me to interact with people that I share a common interest with, even if they are not photographers. If I wish to share privately with someone, G+ allows me to do so without attracting the distracting element. I just don't believe that Facebook allows this type of interaction, and I apologize if I am alienating anyone out there on Facebook with my opinion - it is mine but welcome any comments on this, positive or not.
As most of you know who follow my posts here, I spend quite a bit of time in Red Rock Canyon and the surrounding area creating some of my work. Lately, I have been hard pressed to find anything new (familiarity breeds contempt? or something like that). It is a wondrous thing to become intimate with a landscape. However, the downside to intimacy is taking something for granted, a thing very easy to do, if one is not careful. A few weeks ago, I had reached this 'impasse', and as a result, I was seriously thinking of staying away and searching out other avenues of interest. But, I had this nagging feeling that I was just missing something essential to the place. I began reviewing some older work of the area, when I came across something I had attempted to capture on several other occasions. I decided to re-visit, and see if I could capture the essence of this spot. After several morning and evening attempts, I believe that what I show you now is close to what I had envisioned upon first coming across this place.
"The Slough II"
I am not going to say exactly where in the canyons this beaver pond is located; the less traffic in this area, the better. Getting the shot is difficult at best due to the drop-off that exists directly in the foreground of the image. What you see is roughly a 40+ degree slope to a 60 foot fall into the pond. The drop-off is straight down right where you see the wildflowers. Without being harnessed and roped up, you risk a very serious fall. I placed my tripod on this slope in order to get the composition that I felt was required. Nevertheless, I was a bit nervous each time that I checked the composition in the viewfinder to ensure that I had what I wanted. In the end, I am very satisfied that I have created the image that I have envisioned all along. However, I am acquiring some gear (and an assistant) that will allow me to get a 'scarier' perspective than what you see here. Stay tuned!
Nikon D200, Tokina AT-X 12-24/4G Pro, 20mm @ f20 @ 0.8 sec @ ISO100. The image is a composite blend of two from the same image, one layer as shot, the other masked in Photoshop to hold the details in the foreground, then combined to create what you see here.
This next capture is of a single lightning strike taken out at the Imdian Mounds a few weeks back. I could see from the radar image that the central part of the storm was going to move directly across the mounds, so I quickly loaded up and hit the road. The mounds are roughly 20 minutes from my house, so by the time I reached the location, the storm was upon me. One of only 3 strikes captured before the rain forced me to retire.
"Strike Atop Indian Mound"
Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 18-70/3.5G ED, 24mm @ f11 @ 30 sec @ ISO100. This image was processed in Lightroom 4 with the only adjustment being to the White Balance slider to make the image a bit cooler. The image was cropped from a horizontal image somewhat to eliminate some distracting elements at the edges of the frame.
I will continue to write an occasional blog post here from time to time. If you wish to keep up with recent work, I post almost daily on Google+ where you can find my latest content. Eventually, I plan to integrate the two into a seamless post that flows from one to the other thus allowing greater access to my posts.
Until next time - Thomas