Monday, January 31, 2005

Lupines (digitally altered) - Santa Margarita, CA © 1998

One Spring was particularly bountiful in terms of wildflower appearance on the Central Coast of California. I had been shooting quite a bit that morning, and the sun was starting to get too high for serious photography. I took what was a harshly lit photograph and played around with it on the PC, bumping up the saturation, adjusting the levels, and diffusing it a bit.

Mist over Robe Lake - Valdez, AK © 1994

Although it was Spring, Robe Lake, just outside of Valdez, was still frozen over. I was in Valdez for a business trip and, after work, went out sightseeing. The time was around 7 p.m. The mysterious mood created by the mist was enhanced later on when about a dozen bald eagles showed up in the evergreen trees on the other side and began calling out with gull-like sounds.

Flowerbox in Window - Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland © 1993

My wife and I toured Europe in 1993, visiting Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The Europeans in this part of the continent have a nice custom of placing flowerboxes in or about their windowsills. I tried to shoot those that I happened upon. This particular one intrigued me because of the simple flowerbox and the beautiful storm shutter.

Yaki Point Sunset - Grand Canyon, AZ © 1996

On a quick trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, around early October, we were treated to a spectacular sunset bathing the canyon in warm light. Turning around to look to the west I spied an equally impressive sight, capturing it with my 300mm lens.

Golden Poppy diffused - S.R. 14, CA © 1995

On the way up to Antelope Valley, off of S.R. 14 (outside of Los Angeles), there is a group of hills that are sometimes covered in wildflowers during the Spring. The predominant flower at this location is the state flower of California - the Golden Poppy. This shot employed a method I first heard of from nature photographer George Lepp. It's a double exposure, with one of the exposures being shot extremely out of focus. The result is a soft, diffused effect. This is something that can now be easily done on the PC. (digital confession: I removed an insect from the original scan)

Pismo Dunes - Pismo Beach, CA © 2004

My wife and I head up to California's Central Coast each December for an Anniversary Trip (even though our anniversary is in November). This past December we stopped at the Monarch Butterfly grove in Shell Beach, and then walked into the North Campground of Pismo State Beach. Taking a trail to the beach we came upon a small grove of Eucalyptus trees. This photo was originally shot in color and was converted to black and white via the PC (as are virtually all of my digital B&W shots). Such a method allows for precise control over various contrasts within the photo (another way of saying that it's loads of fun!).

Monument Valley Clouds - outside Monument Valley, AZ © 1998

After leaving Monument Valley proper, heading back into Arizona, I pulled over to the side of the road to capture the immense sky, with its deep blue color punctuated by the puffy white clouds. Summer in the Southwest... it's hard to go wrong photographically.

Boxing Day Sunrise - Chama, NM © 2004

Boxing Day Sunrise (detail) - Chama, NM © 2004

This past Christmas was spent in northern New Mexico, in a small town by the name of Chama. The elevation is about 7,500 feet and the weather, as you can imagine, is quite unlike southern California. The day after Christmas I awoke to see an reddish glow in the loft where my daughters were sleeping. Venturing out I saw the Eastern sky aglow with the impending sunrise. Even though I quickly grabbed my camera (Canon S410) the colors had dissipated somewhat by the time I made these shots. Yet, they remain very colorful.

Northern New Mexico Clouds - Chama, NM © 2004

We spent a few days in northern New Mexico during July, 2004. Many places in the Southwest have afternoon thunderstorms (unlike southern California) just about every day during the Summer. This particular day the thunderstorms were occurring to the north and at higher elevations.

Eucalyptus at Pismo - Pismo Beach, CA © 2004

Eucalyptus usually grow straight and tall. This one is stuck by the beach and has been shaped by the wind.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A hike in the Alps - Mt. Schreckhorn, Grindelwald, Switzerland © 1993

On a trip to Europe, in 1993, we stayed in Interlaken, Switzerland. Our first day there was rainy, with the clouds obscuring any view of the Alps. The owner of the little hotel we were staying at assured us that the next day would be cloudless. He was right. We went for a hike just outside of the town of Grindelwald. The colors are quite vivid for two reasons: 1) the film was Velvia and, 2) it really was that colorful there. (digital confession: can you see where I added a few sunflowers?)

Poppy Hillside - S.R. 14, CA © 1995

California Golden Poppies like to have an ample supply of rain at regular intervals. Too much rain too soon, or too late, does not bode well for them. This particular year the rains produced some pretty spectacular displays on the hillsides.

Reflections - Tiekel River, AK © 2004

In Valdez, Alaska, on one of many business trips in 1994, I also had the opportunity to take some side trips exploring the countryside. This was about April and was probably 45 to 60 miles outside of Valdez. I think the warm reflection of the mountains contrasts very nicely with the cold blue of the snow.

Summer in Van Horn - Van Horn, TX © 2004

West Texas in July. About 98 degrees. We pulled into Van Horn to get some gas. Since I was traveling with three females I was waiting in the car for them to finish their business. Glancing out the windshield, this image caught my eye.

Chugach Peaks - outside Valdez, AK © 1994

About 20 miles outside of Valdez, Alaska, the highway enters Thompson Pass. While the average snowfall per year in Valdez is 35 feet, it does not outdo the snowfall in the Pass. I headed up there to check it out in either April or May. Although the peaks look massive, they are only about 6,000 feet in elevation.

Alpine Glow - Chugach Mountains, AK © 1994

As the sun sets the light it casts must go through more particulants in the Earth's atmosphere. This typically reddens the light, which is why sunsets are so spectacular. Another phenomenon it causes is that of casting a reddish glow on snow covered mountains - an Alpine Glow.

Navajo Loop Hoodoos - Bryce Canyon, UT © 1994

Hiking through Navajo Loop, at Bryce Canyon in Utah, I gazed upwards to see a richly saturated view of the hoodoo rock formations and the sky. At 8,000 feet, the sky is noticeably darker and deeper in color. Can you spot other hikers on the trail?

Clouds, Santa Ynez Valley - CA © 1994

Just north of Santa Barbara, California, lies the Santa Ynez Valley. It is California ranchland that is quickly becoming wine country. When my wife and I travel in this part of California we like to take several small country roads to bypass the main highway. One Summer day, at a favorite vista point, we were taken aback at how the sky was filled with white, puffy clouds (a phenomenon uncommon in southern California). What made the sight even more brilliant was how the sky and clouds were juxtaposed against the golden brown hillsides. I pulled over, grabbed my 20mm lens, and shot away.

Double Engines for Cumbres Pass! - Chama, NM © 1998 Rusty Lopez

On a trip through the Southwest a few years ago we stopped to see the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge train leave its station in Chama, NM. Cumbres Pass, a few miles outside of town, peaks out at over 10,000 feet. To get this particular set of cars over the grade they need to employ the use of two steam engines.

Engine 487 - Chama, NM © 2004

Last Summer, while in Chama, New Mexico, we spent some time at the train station for the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge railroad. I had both my daughters with me and, once the afternoon train arrived, we all scurried about getting shots of the train.

Wetland Sunset - Morro Bay, CA © 1993

On Valentine's Day in 1993 my wife and I were on California's Central Coast (this was before we had kids). We had a great day sightseeing, hiking, and just enjoying the scenery. Near Morro Bay is a wetland estuary. Some months prior I had seen a photograph taken there at sunset that intrigued me. About an hour before sunset we hiked up a small bluff and set up our cameras. The land that the Sun is setting behind is a sandspit, and the area of water just to the left of the Sun is the ocean. You can find this image as a postcard in and about the area of Morro Bay, California. (alas, one of only two postcards I've gotten published)

Amaryllis - Yorba Linda, CA © 1995

I experimented with macro photography (using an extender) for a while. This is a closeup of an Amaryllis bloom.

Self Portrait - Mono Lake, CA © 1992

I was trying to get some images of Mono Lake that didn't look like anything else I'd seen. While I didn't get any of those, I did spy my shadow on the tufa formation, and so I decided to shoot a self-portrait.

Imago Articulus


Patterns and texture
Substance and nuance

Light and shadow, juxtaposed
Color and gray, behold the sight

Frozen in time
The Imago Articulus

- © 2005 Rusty Lopez