Nikon D700, Nikkor 17-35 @ 22mm, f22, 1/4sec Sunset light over Mount Washington (right) and the Three Sisters (center) from high on the southeast ridge of Three Fingered Jack. This is an older image from 2009 that I decided to process today. Often times certain images don't resonate with me until I go back and look at them with fresh eyes. I made this image on the same evening as the one I posted a few months back. It's the post that precedes this one.
Two winters ago I spent 3 nights camped out on this exposed ridge below the southeast aspect of Oregon's Three Fingered Jack last. The peaks to the south are the Three Sisters Mountains. After being hidden away in a binder for two years, I finally got around to scanning it in today. Hope you like it!
Come celebrate the wild beauty of Oregon's desert lands, October 7th, at The Art of Framing in northwest Portland. In addition to many other photographs by some very talented photographers, I'll have one 24 x 30 print of my own on display. I made the image last spring from the summit of Mickey Mountain, an isolated peak located in Oregon's remote southeast corner. I lugged my 8 x 10 view camera 2500' up to this viewpoint with the intention of photographing the Hedgehog Cactus in bloom. With the cool spring we had this year, the cactus were not quite blooming yet. What I found instead was this weathered rock formation. More info on the exhibit can be found here. Hope to see you there!
I love springtime east of the Cascades. The winter rain and snow has subsided, the days are longer; for a short period before the heat of summer arrives everything is green and bursting with life. Through the layered clay hummocks of the Painted Hills rise Chaenactis and Golden Bee-Plant; Prickly Pear and Hedgehog Cactus put on a show of sweet smelling blooms atop nearby Sutton Mountain; and the unmistakable fragrance of Sage and Juniper is simply intoxicating. The familiar cry of Coyote and the ancient stars of the Milky Way are reliable companions in the stillness of the desert night.
A collection of images from last May in the Painted Hills of Central Oregon.
I've gotten a little behind with editing some of my most recent 8 x 10 images. Here is what I have so far. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. Thanks
Spring wildflower bloom at sunrise over the Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
Gowland Lite 8 x 10 Schneider Super Symmar 150 Lee .9 Soft Grad 40 sec @ F45 Fuji Provia 100F
Last light on the Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
Gowland Lite 8 x 10 Schneider Super Symmar 150 Lee .6 Hard Grad 1.5 Sec @ F32 Fuji Provia 100F
Sunrise over the Steens, Basin and Range, Oregon, Spring 2010
I have never experienced sustained winds that packed as much force as they did on this trip. The skies turned brown with dust during the peak of the storm; dust devils danced across the playa; and the occasional squall, given away by the wall of dust hurtling towards me, rattled the sagebrush and emerging wildflowers. Camped 5 mi out on the Alvord, I was a bit surprised when the winds calmed to almost zero during the night. Taking advantage of the respite, I awoke early the next morning and made this image as first light touched the east face of the Steens.
Gowland 8 x 10 Schneider Super Symmar 150 Lee .6 Hard Grad Provia 100F 24 Sec @ F64 Tango Drumscan
East Steens, Basin and Range, Oregon, Spring 2010
Resembling a cauldron, this chunk of weathered basalt has taken on its unique layered shape as a result of the endless cycle of freezing/thawing. Photographed at sunset as the last bit of light faded from the distant Sheepshead Mountains.
A series of emails were sent back and forth between a Geologist and a friend of mine in an attempt to find out the name of this basalt feature.
It goes like this:
Strange rock? Put here by aliens or? What is this feature called? Help! -Jim
Weathering feature? Not sure it has a name. Jon may have a fancy name for it. -Terry
Tyson's Rock explained by a geologist:
Jim, It is Steens Basalt, it looks like a superimposed pahoehoe toe, the general outlines resemble thoes of pillows, but are distinguished from true pillows by their pronounced concentric structure and lesser development of glassy margins. From: Basalts-The Poldervaart Treatise on Rocks of Basaltic Composition Vol.1, pg.11 -Jon
Steens Basalt it is. I like Jim's explanation best ;) -Tyson
Gowland Lite 8 x 10 Schneider Super Symmar 150 Lee .9 Hard Grad 24 sec @ F64 Fuji Provia 100F Tango Drumscan
Sunbow, Basin and Range, Oregon, Spring 2010
This meteorological phenomenon will always be one of my favorite subjects to witness and photograph. I cannot help but think of it as a magic portal into some kind of Astral Realm. This particular sunbow was so intense and so bright that I could feel its energy radiating downward. For two nights I camped high atop a mountain peak overlooking the Alvord Desert. This peak, a lonely isolated summit in Oregon's remote SE corner became a very special place for me during the spring of 2010. Over a 4 week period I watched it transition from winter to spring and, finally, summer. I watched the cactus flowers grow; I felt the sting of snow and sleet as it drifted across big open skies; and I observed the winter snowpack slowly fade from the precipitous eastern face of Steens Mountain. This spectacle of refracted sunlight took shape one afternoon, filling the entire sky as it brightened with intensity. Before the sunbow disappeared, double rings appeared around its outer fringes. Easily the most extraordinary example of a sunbow I had ever seen, I decided to capture it on my 8 x 10 camera. I had just enough time to expose one sheet of film before it dissolved into the afternoon sky. Artistically, my intention here was to deliberately underexpose the shot which I hoped would convey my interpretation of this otherworldly natural wonder.
Gowland Lite 8 x 10 Schneider Super Symmar 150 1/60th sec @ F64 Fuji Provia 100F Tango Drumscan
Sunset over Haystack Rock, Oregon Coast, December 2009
If the conditions are just right, winter sunsets over the ocean can bring some of the best color of the year. During the record setting cold snap in December of 2009 I decided to head out to the coast to experience some of the unique conditions there. The seas were calm and the temps were well below freezing the entire time. I hiked out to the very end of Cape Kiwanda to a scenic spot where the wave sculpted sandstone drops off into the Pacific. The strong east winds the state was experiencing at the time kept the marine layer at bay while bringing in some high clouds from over the coast range. These clouds serendipitously settled right into place as the sun dropped below the horizon. This was my first attempt shooting the coast with my 8 x 10 setup.
Gowland Lite 8 x 10 Fujinon 250 2 Stop Grad 2 Sec @ F22
I finally finished the painstaking process of editing and proofing my first round of 8 x 10 images from last summer/fall. I had each transparency professionally drum scanned by West Coast Imaging down in California. I then color corrected and adjusted the density of the resulting digital files for print. I'm very happy with the first round of Chromira Supergloss proofs I had printed. While the bulk of the work has been done, some of the files still require some refinement. It's a long, drawn out process, no doubt. I'd much rather be out running through the woods....
I occasionally like to bring my camera with me on trail runs. I'll toss it in my camelbak along with an extra lens, a couple split grads, an extra lightweight layer of clothing and a headlamp and I'm on my way. This lightweight approach to landscape photography is something I've found very liberating from the large format work I'm currently pursuing. There is something special about traveling through the landscape quickly and efficiently, ready to react and capture a fleeting moment of natural light as quickly as it comes and goes. Camera or no camera, there is a heightened sense of connectedness I feel with my surroundings when I experience nature in this fashion. A basic, lightweight camera setup is of primary importance when I choose to bring my camera with me. With the exception of maybe the Leica M9 and some of the micro four-thirds cameras, professional digital slr cameras these days are so big and heavy that it's not even practical to try and go running with one of those bricks in your pack. The Nikon D40 might be a good compromise. For the ultimate in portability, I'd like to experiment with the point and shoot Canon S90. For the time being, since most of my funds are fueling my large format work (new images on the way), I'm forced to stick with my trusty Nikon FM2 film camera. While a tad heavy for running, it is reasonably compact. If I had a lighter weight camera I would likely bring it running with me 100% of the time. It would be standard running gear. Since I don't, my approach is a bit more calculated. I typically go to areas I've been to before that I think might have potential for nice light either early in the morning or late in the evening. The late Galen Rowell, a famous adventure photographer, made many of his finest images using this fast and light approach. Through the use of small and light cameras, a keen eye and a deep connection to the natural world, Galen created a groundbreaking style of photography all his own. I can honestly say his vision and philosophies helped shape who I am as a photographer today. Here is a quote of his I've always liked:
"What I mean by photographing as a participant rather than observer is that I’m not only involved directly with some of the activities that I photograph, such as mountain climbing, but even when I’m not I have the philosophy that my mind and body are part of the natural world" -Galen Rowell
Getting to the viewpoint from which I made the above picture required some pretty significant elevation gain. During a more normal non-el nino year one would have to snowshoe to this spot. With elevations around 3000' being more or less snow free late last January I was able to cruise on up there with no more than maybe 4'' of snow on top. This picture I felt best captured the view and mood from my vantage point. There wasn't much of a sunset this particular evening as clouds from an inversion layer to the east drifted in, completely obscuring the view. It was a peaceful run in the dark back down to the trailhead as croaking frogs a thousand or more feet below brought in the night.