Monday, November 13, 2006

After the Storm, Death Valley National Park, California

This is the fifth and last image that I'm going to submit for the Texas Photographic Society Members only show. This particular image was shot right at the end of a workshop, in Death Valley National Park. I'd spent a productive morning shooting the sunrise on the dunes. We'd hiked out through a sand storm, battling the wind and stinging sand to get high into the dunes. Because of the sand and how it treats a camera, we'd left most of our gear behind, picking just one lens and a tripod. There wouldn't be any opportunity to change lenses out there, without getting sand inside the camera! The sunrise that morning was stunning - the sun would catch the blowing sand and make it glow in the most amazing way. Deep shadows and golden orange dunes combined to make an electrifying colour landscape to shoot. The illuminated sand storm was just an amazing piece of luck on top of that. Often these dunes are covered in footprints, but the blowing sand wiped the slate clean. But eventually the sun rose, the light turned flat and cyan and we started the hike back to our cars. This shot was taken just then, as we'd turned back, finished for the morning, weary and ready for breakfast. The wind had died down, everything was calm and the light was 'terrible' for colour landscape photography. But that sort of light can be ideal for black and white - with lots of contrast in texture still available Oh, those clouds! This is composed to balance the creosote bush shapes and the clouds. There's a rhythmic relationship between those elements and also the dark hills playing off the sunlit dunes, creates a lot of dynamic balance. Several people have commented that the lower cloud bank almost feels like a huge wave about to crash down on the sandy beach. It is one of my favourite images from that trip - shot right when I'd packed up and was finished. Got to keep your eyes open...