The views go on forever!
Editing photos for creative expression, relaxation, and just plain fun is an essential part of my photography life. I don’t paint or do crafts- so I create with the camera and the computer. I respect and enjoy traditional photography, but I sometimes like to tiptoe a bit onto the photography wild side.
Yesterday I revisited some of last summer’s photos from Alaska. At the time, I was fascinated with the stark shapes of the rocks and peaks jutting out of the sea, but I was disappointed in many of the resulting shots when edited traditionally. But I had so much fun creating the “alternative landscapes” below.
Every day we were in Alaska, I would wander out onto the deck and take photos of the view.
Here is an afternoon blue hour shot:
Here is another view of the frozen landscape at the Eagle River Nature Center.
I think all my Alaska photos should be titled Brrrr– it was cold. We didn’t spend a lot of time outside, but I did accompany Justin and Caitlin- and Penny, the golden retriever, on a quick walk at the Eagle River Nature Center, at the Chugach State Park. I saw a very different scene from my visit in August!
That’s ice on the trees; the only snow was on the mountains. I think this photo was taken around three- thirty.
This is overlooking part of the town of Eagle River, outside Anchorage, Alaska, where our daughter’s family lives. In the distance you can see a bit of the Knik Arm- and an overcast sky, and in the foreground is fireweed, which was everywhere during our visit. We are returning to Alaska to spend Thanksgiving- and I’m sure it will look quite different!
The other morning I woke up early and looked out the window to see blue stripes of clouds in the pre-dawn sky. I threw on some gym pants and slippers, grabbed my camera, and headed out to the driveway to shoot some pictures before the sun came up. I ended up crossing the street to get this view of the peaks and hills in the distance. I took multiple exposures as well as intentional camera movement shots and had a great time- until I realized that the sun had come up and I was across the street in my nightclothes, with a wild bedhead- and was waving my camera around like a madwoman. This is how I am earning my reputation as the neighborhood crazy person!
Below is what looks like a multiple exposure- and I guess it is- but it was shot by moving the camera around during a long exposure (intentional camera movement).
Alaska is SO GREEN- at least in the summer. This was taken at the Eagle River Nature Center on our walk with the kids. As I look ahead to Fall, I am wondering what it looks like there now. I am imagining some golds among the greens.
Our boat trip along the Kenai fjords in Alaska was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life. Despite the rain and fog and the constant rolling motion (4 foot swells in places, they said- is that unusual? I don’t know.) and sometimes rough waters, it was amazing! We spent most of our time on deck, except for when the rain became too much, and were constantly awestruck by the dramatic coastline and the opportunities to see whales, puffins, eagles, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. And oh yes- glaciers! My photos of the scenery include mostly gray shapes with water spots- not too many keepers, considering how many I shot.
Here is one of my better land/sea-scape shots- taken while the boat was in motion and there was little rain. I wish I could say exactly where on the map this was. The mountains seemed to rise right out of the sea- with snow and glaciers and clouds to round out the scene.
The Grand Canyon
Don’t you think colour looks better than color? One of my favorite quotes is “Keep calm and fake a British accent,” so this is in that spirit (nothing to do with Brexit. . .).
The above is from last week’s trip to the Grand Canyon. The hazy sky desaturated the colors, which I brought back with Lightroom’s Dehaze brush and some other adjustments. THEN I added a very slight adjustment with Topaz Glow, which is such a cool little plug-in- it does things I don’t know how to do otherwise. Very fun! The frame is from On1 Effects.
Here’s another view of the path we took through the rookery area of Willow Lake. If you look very closely you can glimpse the Dells across the lake- way in the background.
Granite Mountain is the stark backdrop to the northwest area of Prescott and one of my favorite views. On Labor Day, my husband and I decided to take a short hike on the trail leading over to the mountain. As we walked along, we saw bikes and horses as well as hikers; it’s a popular area. After walking for a half hour (and continually stopping for me to take photos), we could see the mountain getting closer, but we were not yet near the base. It was time to turn around- we definitely plan to come back on another day.
Gates near the beginning of the trail:
After leaving the plains of Kansas, we drove to Colorado, spending the night at Limon. We decided to get up early-ish (early for us, late for landscape photographers) the next morning to drive to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs before heading to Santa Fe. We woke up to overcast skies and got to the park around 9:00 or 9:30. Garden of the Gods is a public park with paved walkways among gorgeous red rock formations. It was relatively uncrowded, probably because it appeared that it would rain at any moment. We were both eager to see the iconic view of Pike’s Peak through the red rocks, but of course, you couldn’t see the mountains because of the clouds. I love the combination of gray clouds and red rocks, but I was really hoping to see Pike’s Peak!
After walking through the park for awhile and monitoring the skies in case we had to make a dash to the car, we finally decided a drive around the park might give us a glimpse of the mountains. We drove around, but all we saw were clouds and red rocks- and more clouds. But as we got out of the car to look at the Balancing Rock, we noticed that the skies were beginning to clear a bit.
Persistence pays off!
We are home now, after a LOOOOONG drive through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico and a day off to celebrate my birthday in Santa Fe. There are a lot of photos to go through- especially from Santa Fe, where I tried to take enough photos with my Lensbaby to satisfy the photo essay requirement for the last week of the class (even though I’m not a full participant and won’t be evaluated).
So today, I again celebrate the flat horizons and vast expanses of Kansas with these minimalist shots, both taken with the Edge 80 optic.