WHISPERS IN THE FOG

August 20th, 2016
Giant sequoia and fir tree in the fog, Sequoia National Park, California, 1993

 Giant sequoia and fir tree in the fog, Sequoia National Park, California, 1993

WHISPERS IN THE FOG

© 1999 William Neill

Here is an essay I wrote in 1999. Enjoy!

Simplicity. Subtly. These are words I value highly in my landscape photography. I love making quiet and simple images. I strive to distill those aspects of nature that whisper, that entice the viewer to delve deeper— into the image and, most importantly, into nature.

A common tendency for landscape photographers is to include too much information. Too many mountains or trees. Too much foreground or sky. It is a natural and enthusiastic response to a great location or scene. Let’s describe it all! After all, it is the entire 360-degree experience of sound and smell that makes us raise up our camera. It is difficult to tell the whole story in one frame so what happens, most often, is that the resulting image is merely a description. Including too much has the effect of diluting the composition. Had the photographer paused to consider how to create a composition that encapsulates the experience, the viewer will have a better chance to sense the place through the photographer’s eyes. To distill is the key idea here; to isolate and concentrate the key elements of the photographer’s interaction with the scene. Through this process of focusing compositionally, the selective process gives one a better opportunity to discover a new viewpoint.

A few years ago (1993), I traveled to Sequoia National Park on an assignment for Sunset Magazine. My job was to photograph the Sequoia groves in the park, and especially the less-protected groves south of the park. As I drove into the first grove on my assignment list, a thick fog enveloped the sequoia forest. These conditions were not exactly the ideal conditions for the work at hand. Yet I was entranced. Perhaps I could make an image that would evoke the Sequoia’s timeless and epic qualities in a new way. And happily, the magazine sent me right when the dogwood were in bloom.

I spent the next few hours wondering amongst the dogwood and Giant Sequoia as the fog sifted through the woods. Slowly and subtly, the fog thickened and lightened on a soft breeze. I listened to a tape of Japanese flute music while I photographed, intensifying the wondrous experience.

What the fog provided me was a forest simplified. The combination of soft light, and the reduction of depth and detail provided by the fog allowed me to distill the key elements around me. I photographed dogwood branches, with their blossoms seemingly suspended in air and floating in the fog. With my wide angle lens captured two lone sequoias soaring up into the fog, an image that was later used in a Nike ad! I photographed a dogwood tree growing in front of a sequoia. I made vertical and horizontal images in panoramic format. The creative juices were flowing, and I worked the scene until no more ideas would come.

In the photograph shown here, “Giant sequoia and fir tree in the fog, Sequoia National Park, California 1993,” I chose a normal focal length 150mm lens for the 4×5. I composed the image so that the tree filled more than half the frame. The small fir tree contrasts dramatically with the massive sequoia. Only a small part of the huge tree is included in the photograph yet its presence is felt. The forest floor was cluttered with fallen branches, so I raised the front standard of my view camera to eliminate the distraction. This movement also served to keep the lines of the trees parallel. By not settling for the obvious approach—describing the whole tree—I discovered a fresh viewpoint, one that leaves the viewer to imagine the rest of the picture outside my frame.

The fog was gone the next day; the sun came out so was able to make the type of images needed for the assignment. Not surprisingly, the magazine did not use any of my photographs made in the fog, but many of them have been subsequently published and exhibited in galleries. It was a successful trip on all quarters, especially for me artistically!

My mantra, once again, is Simplicity and Subtly.

______________________
For on-line portfolios and more, please see William Neill’s web page at www.WilliamNeill.com

New eBook! Antarctic Dreams

September 24th, 2015

 

I am happy to announce the publication of my new ebook, Antarctic Dreams, in digital form. I traveled to Antarctica in January 2014, and it is rewarding to have finally produced a portfolio of my favorite images. The book was designed in Adobe Lightroom, with file sizes that have been optimized to preserve the high resolution images files. The quality of the images really comes to life on screen. I know that this isn’t the same tactile experience of holding a book in hand, but it’s hard to dismiss the vivid quality one can enjoy on screen.

Antarctic Dreams – Digital Edition is delivered as two PDF files. One PDF contains single pages for viewing on an iPad, tablet, or other digital device and so is optimized for viewing the individual images, as well as for reading text. The second PDF shows the two-page spreads, allowing you to enjoy the book as it was originally designed.

I hope you enjoy my new book, which features 79 photographs and essays about my amazing photographic journey.  Please share this with your friends and fellow photographers!

 

 

Price: $15.00!    Click Here To View Sample Pages and Purchase

 

Antarctic Dreams: September 19 – November 15, 2015 at the Weston Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

August 31st, 2015

antarcticaWILLIAM NEILL: Antarctic Dreams

September 19 – November 15, 2015

Opening Reception on Saturday, September 19th from 4:00 – 6:00pm

at the Weston Gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

 

 

 

I am pleased to announce that an exhibit of my photographs, entitled Antarctic Dreams, will be shown at the prestigious Weston Gallery in Carmel, California. The show begins on September 19 and will run through November 15. I will be attending the opening reception on the 19th from 4:00PM to 6:00PM. If you are in the area, I hope you will come see my prints and say hello!

In January of 2014, I traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula with a photographic workshop tour as an instructor. I have collected my favorite images for the exhibit and spent the last several weeks making the fine art prints. This will be the first time I’ve shown this body of work and I am excited in sharing them. Through these images, I hope to inspire others to learn more about the conservation issues in Antarctica regarding the impact of climate change.

Weston Gallery, 6th Avenue & Dolores, Carmel, CA 93921

The Weston Gallery Website

Antarctic Dreams Portfolio

 

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014 January 30, 2014 05:58:54

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
January 30, 2014 05:58:54

Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, 2014

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II and 1.4x III

It was a cold dawn when we jumped into our Zodiac boats to explore this magic place where icebergs from near and far float into a shallow dead-end bay. More steadily through the bay, I had to watch carefully and fire quickly when these icebergs separated beautifully, and then the composition was gone. The next two hours here made me constantly catch my breath with wonder. It was so amazing, we returned for more icebergs and seals for another two hours in epic sunset light.

Photographs by William Neill, slideshow by PhotoShelter

March 17th, 2015

I have been preparing for a new advertising campaign targeted at art consultants, galleries, and collectors. In order to increase the impact of my William Neill Photography web site’s home page, I went to my PhotoShelter account and created the slideshow below.  Many new images are shown, as well as some of my classic nature photographs.

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Enjoy, and please share with friends and add your comments below. Do you have a slideshow you’d like to share? Add your links below!

See any photographs that you would like to see on your wall at home or office?

William Neill’s photographs may be viewed at these
fine art galleries:

The Ansel Adams Gallery
Yosemite National Park
On The Village Mall
Yosemite, California 95389
800-568-7398
E-mail: evan@anseladams.com

Susan Spiritus Gallery
3929 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
949-474-4321
E-mail: susan@susanspiritusgallery.com

Mountain Light Gallery
106 S. Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514
760-873-7700
E-mail: gallery@mountainlight.com

The Weston Gallery
6th Avenue & Lincoln
P.O. Box 655
Carmel, CA 93921
831-624-4453
E-mail: info@westongallery.com

The Focus Gallery
15 Depot Court
Cohasset, MA 02025
781-383-0663
E-mail: vallinophoto@comcast.net

 

My Favorite Photographs from 2014

January 3rd, 2015

Happy New Year!  I finally put together my favorite photographs from 2014.  It is always helpful to take the occasional assessment of our own creative progress. You might be interested in reading an essay I wrote on the subject five years ago in my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer on this subject.  Since I started teaching private workshop sessions in Yosemite, I’ve been visiting Yosemite Valley much more often so you will see a batch of new Yosemite images taken this past year.

If you have been following my work this past year, you know that my big trip of the year was to Antarctica last January. Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer magazine On Landscape column, and recent Antarctic Dreams portfolio in OP and see below!

I have numbered each image, which will make it easier for you to let me know which ones are your favorites.  It will be fun and helpful for me to have your feedback.  I will value a list of favs, or general thoughts on what work you respond to the most.  After I assess your feedback, I will then make a final edit of 10-15 that are my top selects of the year.  My criteria for that final selection will be based on which images I feel best represent my personal vision and style rather than the most popular ones.  If you have your own post of top images for 2014, please add your link in your comments below.

I look forward to your comments and favorites for my 2014 portfolio.  Enjoy and please share with your friends!

I wish you a year full of the gifts of nature, peace and love,  Bill

PS  The photographs  below are in chronological order.

Yosemite Private Workshops

 

wpid4923-Clouds-and-Shadows-Bransfield-Strait-Antarctica-2014__Copyright-©-2014-William-Neill.jpg
1.  Clouds and Shadows, Bransfield Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/8000 second at f/9.5, ISO 800

 

 


2.  Morning light, Gerlache Strait, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/1000 second at f/11, ISO 1600

 

 


3.  Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/350 second at f/16, ISO 1000

 

 


4.  Ancient crystal Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/16, ISO 1600

 

 


5.  Blue Icebergs, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/750 second at f/22, ISO 1600

 

 


6.  Two Humpback Whales and Iceberg, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/11, ISO 800

 

 


7.  Iceberg Caves, Cierva Cove, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/4000 second at f/11, ISO 800

 


8.  Chinstrap Penguin, Hydrurga Rocks, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/180 second at f/19, ISO 800

 

 


9.  Iceberg formations, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula 2014 January 30, 2014 05:54:08
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/350 second at f/8, ISO 400

 

 


10.  Iceberg Towers at Dawn, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
January 30, 2014 05:58:54
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/4000 second at f/2.8, ISO 400

 

 


11.  Iceberg Arch, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1/500 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


12.  Sculpted Iceberg Wall, Pléneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/2000 second at f/13, ISO 400

 

 


13.  Crabeater seal resting on an iceberg, Pléneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/350 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


14.  Sunset, Pleneau Bay, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014 January 30, 2014 22:04:34
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/1500 second at f/6.7, ISO 800

 

 


15.  Glaciers, Scontorp Cove in Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsia, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/19, ISO 800

 

 


16.  Mountains and Glaciers at Scontorp Cove, Paradise Bay, Antarctic Peninsia, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x III,
1/1500 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

 


17.  Gentoo Penguin and two chicks, Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/1000 second at f/9.5, ISO 400

 

 


18.  Gentoo Penguin colony, Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM,
1/250 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


19.  Chinstrap Penguins, Baily Head on Deception Island, Antarctica 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2x III,
1/350 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

 


20.  Seastacks at Sunset, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park. Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
3 second at f/22, ISO 100

 

 


21.  Ferns, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
15 second at f/19, ISO 100

 

 


22.  Avalanche Lily, Olympic National Park, Washington 2014
iPhone 5, iPhone 5 back camera 4.12mm f/2.4,
1/200 second at f/2.4, ISO 50

 

 


23.  Lavendar Fields, Sequim, Washington 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1/90 second at f/16, ISO 400

 

 


24.  Aspen Forest Impressions , June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM,
1 second at f/19, ISO 100

 

 


25.  Backlit Aspen, June Lake Loop, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 640

 

 


26.  Autumn Reflections, Lundy Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


27.  Last Light, Conway Summit, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/15 second at f/19, ISO 200

 

 


28.  Aspen Forest Impressions , Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/9.5, ISO 100

 

 


29.  Aspen Leaves, Lee Vining Canyon, Inyo National Forest, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
3 second at f/32, ISO 200

 

 


30.  Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/180 second at f/22, ISO 200

 

 


31.  Yellow Maples, Cedar and Pine, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1.50 second at f/16, ISO 640

 

 


32.  Cottonwoods reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/22, ISO 100

 

 


33.  Maples Leaves and Merced River Reflections, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM +2x,
1/1 second at f/45, ISO 400

 

 


34.  Grasses and El Capitan reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/6 second at f/32, ISO 200

 

 


35.  Autumn Leaves and Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8,
1/250 second at f/2.8, ISO 800

 

 


36.  Grasses reflected, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/1000 second at f/2.8, ISO 800

 

 


37.  Grasses and reflections in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/350 second at f/2.8, ISO 200

 

 


38.  Maple leaf and autumn reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/60 second at f/4.5, ISO 320

 

 


39.  Thimbleberry Leaves, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
2 second at f/32, ISO 400

 

 


40.  River otters, American River, Sacramento, California 2014
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM,
1/350 second at f/5.6, ISO 1250