Last week I drove down to the Sexten Dolomites to have a look at the Drei Zinnen. I stayed up at the Drei Zinnen hut for three nights and wandered around looking for photographs that might be included in my upcoming exhibition. I took this evening panorama looking across towards the north face of the Drei Zinnen as a weather front broke up and moved away.
I´ve just returned from a few days in the Gesäuse area of the Enntal Alps in Steiermark, Austria. This was my first visit – but it most certainly will not be my last! It´s a beautiful limestone area, of jagged peaks and wonderful mountain meadows situated on the way down to Graz on the Austrian, Slovenian border.
It was a windy turbulent day when I walked up to the Old Man of Storr on Skye. The clouds came rushing in from the sea, blown along by gusting gale force winds. I took this shot down below it, I liked how imposing the whole cliff face looked from below. The place had a sort of Dolomites feel to it.
I´ve just returned from a three week trip to the UK, for two weeks of which we made a fantastic tour of the north of Scotland. The weather was amazing and the scenery was breathtaking. I took this at Neist Point on Skye where we had a wonderful night wild camping.
I´ve often walked past these ruins of the old copper mines on the Miners Track. I was usually on the way to do a climb on Y Lliwedd or in winter, one of the Trinity snow gullies on Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon. But this visit I wanted to photograph them, hopefully with some moody lighting. The weather was clearing as I got there, but at least there were still some clouds above Y Lliwedd in the background.
There´s a tremendous sense of history here. Industrial history with the copper mine, mountaineering history with Y Lliwedd. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries Y Lliwed was one of the prime crags for the still young sport of rock climbing. It´s a big crag, one where it´s easy to get off route on. There is also mythological history here too, King Arthur is rumoured to be buried in a cave somewhere on the Y Lliwedd face, ready to spring forth when the kingdom is in danger.
Returning Snow –
Snow has returned today,
I stand on the balcony
As my mind´s eye
Leaves tracks across the hill.
“The world today is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot.” Henry Beston, The Outermost House.
The other day I read a blog post by Julian Hoffman called the Bugling Sky He prefaced it with a quote from Henry Beston´s The Outermost House. I´d never heard of Beston before, or this book, so I did a bit of research. The nature writer, Henry Beston, lived for a year in a small beach house he´d had built on the sands of Cape Cod. His description of this year spent on the shores of this fragile peninsula which stands on the eastern US seaboard, exposed to the power of the North Atlantic, is one of the most lyrical and descriptive pieces of nature writing in the English language. The above quote from The Outermost House resonated with me, and although he wrote this in 1928, it´s still just as relevant for us today.
…. I´m comfortable. And in this case, my living room.
A while ago I was speaking to a photographer friend about the best times for landscape photography. This conversation was place unspecific, by that I mean not being dependent on the right time of day/year to photograph a specific place. And we both agreed that two important times were when a weather front was either coming or going. Both of these often give dramatic lighting and atmospheric conditions. This shot I took last Thursday was one of those – when the weather was changing for the better.
I´d driven down to Chiemsee, the biggest Bavarian lake, last Thursday to hopefully capture one of these “weather change” events. The drive started off with snow showers, low clouds and a cold wind. When I arrived there it was still cold, grey and windy but the weather forecast had said it would brighten later. I´d already chosen the place, Seebruck, at the North end of the lake, with a view across the water to the Bavarian Alps. The landing pier for the pleasure steamers was also to be an important feature in the shot. I set up my camera on the rather wet edge of the lake. The clouds started to clear and, because of the fresh wind, were moving quite quickly. To compensate for the brighter sky I used a Lee 0.6 ND soft grad. filter and, to soften both water and clouds, a Lee little stopper filter to increase the exposure time. The exposure was 15 seconds. I processed the RAW shot using Capture One Pro, but this time, instead of doing the black and white conversion direct in Capture One, I exported a Photoshop file and did the work using Silver Effects 2 in Photoshop.
Of course one drawback in going for these times of weather change is that you will have to put up with uncomfortable conditions at either the beginning or end of your shoot. If you´re somewhere were this may have serious consequences, in the mountains, for example, you should bear that in mind.
Sunsets don´t just have to revolve around colour – they may well have elements in the composition that look better in monochrome. I´ve converted yesterday´s post to monochrome, admittedly with a lot of tweaking, to compare the scene with and without the “clutter” of colour. Maybe it´s just my love of black and white, but I prefer this one. Comments welcome – what do you prefer, or are both crap?!