Friday, February 29, 2008

Death Valley, after the storm

Death Valley, after the storm

I'm heading off for a few days to Death Valley National Park. It's my birthday and I'm taking a few days to do some shooting and maybe try to write a bit more. This shot here is one of my favourites from the first time I went to the park. I'd been shooting all week and this was the final day. We were stretched thin by lack of sleep and there had been a blowing sandstorm a few hours before. I'd hiked out with the group through the sand and got some beautiful shots of the sunrise. I was tired and finished. Walking back to the car with the instructor, Craig Tanner, we were just chatting about things, then suddenly we noticed this scene unfolding in front of us. I was tired, ready for breakfast and almost didn't bother taking a picture. The sun was up. The shadows were getting pretty harsh, it just didn't look like a good photo to me, but Craig was excited. So I took a couple of frames. For me, this was probably the biggest lesson of the trip. I still haven't quite worked out what that lesson was, though, three years later. So I'm going back for another crack at it. See what I can learn on my own this time, listening to my own thoughts. I think since then, I've come to learn what a huge part clouds play in Craig's process - so maybe that was part of his excitement. I was on my first ever landscape workshop and hadn't really taken that concept in, until I got home and looked at the images I shot this particular morning. I was also still pretty green at making black and white images - still am really. This shot took a bit of coaxing to really appear from the original. Mostly though, this shot takes me back to the conversations I had that morning and the feelings I had enjoyed surviving the blowing sand and making great pictures. Nobody else gets to feel about this shot, the way that I do and that's okay. Maybe that's the lesson - the images have to stand on their own, as they don't tell others how you felt when you took it. Unless you really manage to put your heart and soul into them.

7 comments:

doonster said...

I, too, can feel Craig's sense of excitement looking at this shot, even though I've never been to Death Valley. Get pretty excited by clouds as well when shooting wide open spaces. There is a sort of tension in the atmosphere created when breaing weather clouds appear like this.

Marti said...

Hi Gordon,

Having seen something similar in Death Valley before, I can truly understand the excitement. Great job with the shot and with the black and white conversion.

See you in Vegas tonight!!

pixpeep said...

That image most definitely stands on it's own. Nice job, especially with the b/w conversion.

mcoker said...

What an awesome shot!

Holly said...

Very dramatic shot, and get conversion to bw, which I think just increases the intensity of the image. And happy birthday too! (which day is your actual b-day? my son's is this Sunday (March 2nd), he'll be 8!)

Anonymous said...

excellent image. I would love to see a print up close. The rhythm is beautiful.

Steve b.

Paul said...

I think that this certainly stands on its own and it's up to the viewer to get their own experience. I, too, get really excited about clouds!