Archive for the ‘Nature’s Design’ Category

A Dance On The Beach

Sunday, July 28th, 2019

Protecting Place

Sunday, July 14th, 2019


Eroded Navajo sandstone slot canyon, Antelope Canyon Tribal Park, Arizona 2002
Wista 4×5 Metal Field Camera

NOTE: The original version of this essay was written and published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine in 2002 after a recent visit.

I first visited Antelope Canyon in 1982, when only a very few photographers had discovered the remarkably-carved sandstone slot canyon. I happened to have seen some of the first published photos of slot canyons ever published, which intrigued me greatly. Some years later, and without planning to seek them out, I saw photographs in a nearby visitor center, I asked for directions and was drawn a simple map. I parked my car along the highway as directed. No signs or markers were to be found. Hoping that I was heading in the right direction, I shouldered my heavy pack and hiked up the wash. I had no clear idea of how far the slot was or how I would get into it when I got there. After a few miles, I could see the sides narrow down to a sandstone cliff with a slot in it. I entered this unknown space with a sense of mystery and discovery.

I spent hours within the sculpted walls, completely in awe, and completely alone. Well, except for a raven cawing eerily from somewhere above my head. The few images I had previously seen did not prepare me for what I saw and felt. Here was the Sistine Chapel of natural sculpture. The profound art of Creation.

At the end of that extraordinary day in Antelope, I heard a truck driving up the sandy wash. I was a bit worried. I didn’t know if I belonged there. The people from the truck seemed surprised to see me, with my 4×5 camera, recording the slot canyon. Worried and protective, they asked me what I planned to do with my images. I told them I would label my photographs vaguely if they were published, in hopes of protecting the canyon from becoming well known. In a fine bit of irony, these were the folks who had led me to the site with their published photographs!
NOTE: A new book “Searching for Tao Canyon” chronicles their explorations starting in the early 1970s.
Searching for Tao Canyon By: Pat MorrowJeremy SchmidtArt Twomey

I returned home with a few decent images, two of which are included here. Some were published, some I printed for display in galleries or were shown to workshop students, but I never labeled the location specifically, only “Slot Canyon, Arizona” or something. I was often pressed for more specific directions, and I gave as few hints as possible. I was torn between the desire to share such a treasure, and the same territorial feelings felt by those early photographic explorers of Antelope. At the same time, other photographers were discovering, and publishing images of the slot canyons. The secret was getting out.

We must all think carefully about the impact of our images.  Does publishing our work outweigh the possible impact the exposure might bring?  Can we depend on resource managers to protect delicate or overused landscapes?  Is nurturing the love of nature’s treasures through our photographs more critical, and worth the risk? These are important questions, for which I have no definitive answers.

Just the other day, I received my copy of a travel magazine that reaches several million readers.  On the cover was a beautiful image of a very sensitive area, which had already been a subject of vandalism, with its location clearly defined.  I cringed and could only pray more damage would not result from the added attention.  In spite of this quandary, I am hopeful that when images are published of delicate places, others that follow will tread lightly and become involved in its protection.

NOTE: Here are two nature photography organizations involved in protecting nature and encouraging safe and ethical standards for nature photographers.
Nature First https://www.naturefirstphotography.org/
North American Nature Photography Association http://www.nanpa.org/

 


Side Canyon, Arizona 1982
Wista 4×5 Metal Field Camera


Slot Canyon, Arizona 1982
Wista 4×5 Metal Field Camera

Winter Etchings

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

Greetings from Ahwahnee. Over last weekend, we had a massive storm hit Yosemite and the central Sierra Nevada. I hear eight feet of snow fell at Tioga Pass, and ten feet at Mammoth Mountain. That was over 4-5 days. At my location of 2000 ft, we had 3-4 inches. On Tuesday, I walked around my neighborhood, looking for SnowZen images. The first two images are from that day. I’ve also included an essay I wrote for Outdoor Photographer magazine a couple of years ago called Winter Etchings that seems fitting for the season.

Enjoy, and feel free to add comments or links to your own Winter Etchings!

PS Today, I finally figured out a way to have WordPress allow for each photograph to enlarge for a better view when you click on it… check it out.

 

Winter Oaks, Ahwahnee, California 2019

 

Grasses and snow, Ahwahnee, California 2019

 

Grasses, Boulder Creek, Boulder, Colorado 1976

___________________________________

Winter Etchings

Tune into the graphic, elegant starkness of the season

 

I love photographing in winter. When trees are bare, their graceful forms are starkly revealed. The tones of beige and gray or black and white, form a subtle palette in the landscape. The lines of grass and shrub, ice and fallen leaves display themselves in simple, elegant design like a drawing or etching.

Winter photography offers us options at all scales. While winter scenes are less colorful than other seasons, I am drawn to their monochromatic qualities. Winter weather can often provide more interesting and dramatic skies with ominous clouds or clearing storms which work especially well with broad scenics.

Many of my favorite winter images are vignettes of the landscape such as my image of snow-covered branches. By zooming into a section of these oaks for my composition, the wonderful texture of the snow comes alive, and their lines form a dynamic graphic design that fills the frame. This image was made with my 4×5 camera and a Nikkor 360mm lens.

 

Black oak branches in winter, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 1994

Among my favorite winter subjects are ice details. The endless patterns and textures fascinate me. When I first picked up a camera in college, I explored Boulder Creek in Colorado on cold winter mornings before heading to class, making close-up images of the crystalline forms. The Merced River in Yosemite is now my “go to” location for ice imagery. I often find back eddies where ice forms around grasses at the water’s edge. These areas receive very little sun during the winter due to the high granite cliffs that form the valley’s southern rim.  

I seek out compositions, like my Oak Leaf and Ice Crystals photograph, where brightly lit cliffs reflect in the ice to heighten their patterns. Currently, my favorite camera/lens combo is the Sony A7R2, Metabones adapter with my Canon 90mm Tilt-Shift lens. In order to pick up the cliff reflections, I often need to use a low camera position. The lens’s tilt function helps me maintain sharpness throughout the depth of the subject area as I used the same tilt function with my view camera. Although the ice is the main subject, I used the oak leaf as a small focal point of interest and context within an otherwise abstract pattern of ice.

Crystal Ice and oak leaf, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2015

 

When you are creating your own winter compositions, tune into the graphic designs to be found in the landscape. Study the winter photographs by the great masters of landscape photography such as these classic photographs: “Chicago, Trees in Snow, 1950” by Harry Callahan; “Redding, Connecticut, 1968” by Paul Caponigro; “Pine Forest in Snow, Yosemite National Park, 1932” by Ansel Adams; or “Stark Tree, 1956” by Wynn Bullock.

If you have a case of cabin fever this winter, give yourself the assignment of producing a winter portfolio of new images. Get out to your favorite local woods, lake or stream where you can return often in various weather and light. Working locally will give you many more opportunities to be out there after a fresh snowfall, or after a hard freeze when ice is everywhere. After all, it is only through practice that you will ready to make your next great photograph. Enjoy the season!

 

______________________________________

For information about William Neill’s books, posters and workshops, visit WilliamNeill.com and sign up for his newsletter updates. You can find his ebooks in his online store.

William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective

Introductory Essays by Art Wolfe and John Weller
Size: 295mm x 295mm (11.6×11.6 inches)
Pages: 224
Photographic Illustrations: 151

 

My Favorite Photographs of 2018

Monday, December 31st, 2018

NOTE: Five new images have been added at the bottom of this post after the initial upload. The Impressions of Light images were taken during the last light of 2018.

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada. It is that time of year again when we all look back at the events of last year and look forward to the year ahead. Many photographers have developed the good habit of editing a collection of their favorite images for the year. The process of self-assessment is a vital part of artistic growth. In the day-to-day rush of life, we don’t often stop to see trends in our own image-making. By turning back the clock, we can see if we’re stuck in a rut or are hopefully making great progress.

I have included capture details and presented the images in chronological order. I hope you will visit my blog and add your comments or favorites at the bottom of the page.

May 2019 brings you joy, peace, and exciting photographic opportunities.

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!   Bill

Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Best of 2016

Best of 2017

 


Stones, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/3 second at f/13, ISO 80

 


Mule’s Ears Leaves, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/2 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Ice Patterns, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/6 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


Oak Branches, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 16-35mm F2.8 G SSM II,
1/4 second at f/16, ISO 400

 


Pine Branches, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1.60 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Pine Branches and Cones, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1.60 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Pear tree in bloom, Fresno, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 16-35mm F2.8 G SSM II,
1/100 second at f/13, ISO 640

 


Purple Plum Blossoms #2, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1/1 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Oaks and Fog, Ahwahnee, California
SonyILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Pine and Sunbeams, Ahwahnee, Calfornia 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/1600 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Plum Blossoms #5
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM,
1/40 second at f/20, ISO 400

 


Orchid
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1.60 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Day Lily
Sony ILCE-7RM2, 90mm F2.8,
1.30 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Spring Oak, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/200 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF70-200/2.8L USM,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Ponderosa Pine and Incense Cedar trees, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF70-200/2.8L USM,
1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM,
1/160 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Cascade Falls, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8 second at f/40, ISO 100

 


Salsify, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/750 second at f/2.4, ISO 1000

 


Peacock Feather, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/29, ISO 100

 


Mushrooms, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Mushroom, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Stone, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/8 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Ammonite Fossil, 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/5 second at f/22, ISO 100

 


Salt Crystals 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/3 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Succulent, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
13 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Merced River Reflections, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
3.20 second at f/29, ISO 100

 


Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/80 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Backlit Elm Branches, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, EF24-105/4L IS USM,
1/10 second at f/22, ISO 400

 


Blackberry Leaves, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


Grasses and Ice, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Dogwood and Forest, autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
SonyILCE-7RM2, EF24-105/4L IS USM,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 400

 


California Quail feathers, Ahwahnee, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Bougainvillea petals, La Quinta, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 800

 

Thank you for viewing my photographs. I hope you will leave your comments below.

Happy New Year!

 

Here are a few images I’d like to add to the list. The first BW was simply missed during the upload. The impressionistic images were taken after I uploaded, taken during the last light of 2018!


Cathedral Spire and Mists, Yosemite National Park, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6000 second at f/5.6, ISO 500

 


Grasslands at sunset, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Grasslands and sunset, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
3.20 second at f/5.6, ISO 100


Grasslands at twilight, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2.50 second at f/16, ISO 100


Grasslands and hills at twilight, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/5.6, ISO 100

Open Studio Tour coming soon! Sierra Art Trails – October 5, 6 and 7!

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

The photo above shows what my living room looks like during Sierra Art Trails.

We are very pleased to announce that we will be open again for Sierra Art Trails 2018, which is celebrating 16 years of supporting the Arts in the Yosemite Foothills! Mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 5th, 6th and 7th from 10 AM to 6PM. My home studio will be full of my fine art prints, books, and posters. Come visit me, and you can also visit Yosemite while in the area!

NEW BOOK

Featured this year will be my new retrospective William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective. The first printing is now in limited supply so consider coming to my studio for your own signed copy. To learn more about the book, to read what “others are saying” see here:

 

Book Reviews
TERRA GALLERIA BOOK REVIEW
ON LANDSCAPE BOOK REVIEW
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE BOOK REVIEW
THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER

Book Essays
THE LUMINOUS LANDSCAPE
OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER


INVENTORY SALE!

Once each year, I offer discounts on a large number of prints in inventory.  The good news is that I have so many photographs, but not enough space in my office, so CLEARANCE is the key word!

I hope to see many old friends and meet new ones too!  Let me know if you think you can make it, and ask any questions if you have them. Also, please share this with friends who you think might be interested. Thanks!

See the official website for more details.
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html

Cheers,  Bill

The cost of admission is $20.00 for all participating venues and includes the Sierra Art Trails Catalog, your “ticket for two” for the event. The catalog includes a list of participating artists, examples of their work, and maps to the locations of artists’ studios, galleries, and other viewing locations.  Artists are scattered throughout our mountain communities. Your catalog and map will guide you to each artist’s venue.

See the official website for more details.
http://www.sierraarttrails.org/index.html