Posts Tagged ‘large format photography’

My First Essay for Outdoor Photographer in 1997

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

 

Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada 1995

 

NOTE: This article is reposted from the original essay in 2012…

Today, I had a request from my long-time friend and master photographer Michael Frye to post the essay in which I tell the story of making my favorite image, Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada 1995. Here it is as sent to Outdoor Photographer for first my On Landscape column in 1997.  For more of my essays, see the OP site here.  Michael is mentioning this story is his upcoming blog post:   In the Moment: A Landscape Photography Blog

 

Landscapes for my Spirit
© 1997 William Neill

 

Welcome to Outdoor Photographer’s new column on landscape photography!  I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on all aspects of the landscape genre.  I have been an avid reader of OP since its beginning and I hope that I can contribute to all the exciting ideas and images that are regularly offered here.

The best way that I can think of to launch this column is to put forth the underlying motivation and inspiration for my photography. Any future discussions on light, or composition, or equipment, or technique will be based on this foundation.  I am not one for learning an approach to creating images unless that route allows for a direct connection with the subject and helps me to communicate my own response to it.  In other words, I keep my approach very simple and pragmatic.  We, photographers as a group, tend to let the technique of photography get in the way.  Ansel Adams often complained of the overabundance of sharp photos with fuzzy concepts!

The beauty of nature is the foundation of which I speak; it motivates and inspires my photography.  When I stand before landscapes of silent rock, reflecting water, and parting cloud, I feel most connected to myself and to life itself.  Seeing and feeling this beauty is more vital to me than any resulting imagery.  Still, I am compelled to try to put on film some visual representation of the sense of wonder I feel, and I suspect that you know that feeling!

In my new book, Landscapes of the Spirit, I describe my evolution as a photographer, especially emphasizing my belief in the great value and need for the wildness and beauty of nature.  This belief emerged from personal experience— a death in my family when I was eighteen.  That summer I happened to be working in Glacier National Park.  My immersion in that landscape during a time of great personal distress opened my eyes to the restorative powers of nature, and led me to a life in photography.  At some deep level, the beauty of my surroundings seeped into my subconscious—the lush colors of a meadow dense with wildflowers, the energy of a lightning storm, the clarity of a mountain lake, the splendid perspective from the edge of a desert canyon.  In an effort to capture and convey these life-affirming discoveries, I began to photograph as I backpacked throughout Glacier.  Within a few years, all I wanted to do was make photographs!

Ansel Adams, in paraphrasing his mentor Alfred Stieglitz, used to remind his students that a great photograph was the emotional equivalent of the photographer’s response to his subject.  Such a lofty goal is rarely achieved.  We are all lucky if but two or three or four times a year we make an image where technique and emotion converge to create a transcendent photograph.  I don’t mean simply a technically excellent and beautiful image.  I mean a photograph that rises above your best and reveals a deeply personal and creative perspective.  In this regard, I am not so sure that pros can claim to have a better “batting average” than the amateur given their relatively different expectations of their work.  In any case, it is good to have reasonable expectations for your own progress.

Over the years, I have continued to search for imagery that, in the words of the great black and white photographer Paul Caponigro, can”… make visible the overtones of that dimension [of Nature] I sought. Dreamlike, these isolated images maintain a landscape of their own, produced through the agency of a place apart from myself. Mysteriously, and most often when I was not conscious of control, that magical and subtle force crept somehow into the image, offering back what I had sensed as well as what I saw.” I think that the photograph here, Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada, 1995, is one of those photographs Caponigro describes.  Rising very early on a summer morning, I hoped for a dramatic and brilliant sunrise on Lake Louise and the glaciers above.  Perhaps it was the two weeks of photographing in rainy conditions that biased my hopes!  I waited patiently for sunrise, but my preconceived vision failed to appear as persistent clouds shrouded the mountains. It was a silent and mysterious dawn.  I simply sat and soaked in the scene.  Finally, I made two exposures, but expected little. I completely forgot about this session during the rest of my trip.  When I saw the film after returning, I was amazed.  I had to think hard about when and where I had made this photograph.  Unconsciously, but facilitated by my experience and instinct, the power and magic of that landscape, at that moment, had come through on film.

The Lake Louise photograph was made with my 4×5 view camera and a 150mm lens.  Due to the use of slow film, small aperture and low light, the exposure was about two minutes long.  Of the two exposures I made, one was horizontal, the other vertical.  The horizontal image looks much like the vertical, minus the rocks in the foreground.  I often like to remove clues and context that show depth or scale in my images, and the horizontal exposure fit my standard approach.  However, the vertical image has a stronger feeling of depth and somehow this subtle sense of scale adds an essential dimension to the composition.  Since the foreground rocks are underwater, and the long exposure also blurred their appearance, they add a little balance and mystery.

 

I had an idea of what I wanted to photograph at Lake Louise that morning, but when it did not materialize, I didn’t feel as if I had to make an image.  The landscape itself presented another idea.  When a concept for an image is forced onto film, creativity can be lost.  By not needing to make an image, I found one.  This lesson is encapsulated by my favorite quote from photographer Minor White,

Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.

So wait, watch and relax!    It is these magical convergences of light and land and camera that keep us coming back again and again!

Retrospective book now available to pre-order!

Friday, March 10th, 2017
This is the cover for the standard version, 20% during pre-order, available in the Fall.Standard Release Cover, available Fall 2017, pre-0rder 20% off now for only £40 (~$49US)

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada,

I am happy to share with you the pre-order information about my upcoming book. The collection will feature images, many never published before, from my very early years with a camera in the 1970s through four decades including very recent work created in the past year. Photographs included are: from my Antarctica series; an in-depth look at my “landscapes of the spirit” work; a Black and White portfolio; a series of patterns in nature imagery; a portfolio of my impressionistic, camera motion work; and last but not least, an extensive collection of Yosemite photographs.

The book’s release is scheduled for the Fall of 2017. Triplekite, the publisher, is now offering excellent upgrades to the standard hardcover version that are only available through them and only until publication in the fall. Don’t miss out on these very special and limited offers!

William Neill’s much-anticipated retrospective book is now available to pre-order. All books ordered before the general release in the Autumn will come with a limited edition cloth cover with foil embossing – this version of the book will only be available as a pre-order and will not be available once the book is on general release. We are also offering a limited edition slipcase version, plus special edition with one or two signed A3 (12×16 inches) prints. 
All slipcased, limited and special edition books will only be available as pre-orders.

For more information and to purchase, visit Triplekite’s website.

special edition william neill-retrospectivePre-Release edition: Cover: cloth cover, foil blocked, set-in image:
approx 300 Plates: TBC Size: 280mm x 280mm (11×11 inches)
Pre-order book with slipcase £57.50 ($70.00 USD)

 

William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective

£49.50£195.00 £40.00£195.00

Released: Autumn 2017

ISBN: 978-0-957 6345-8-9

Release edition: Cover: Hardback cover printed directly with no dust jacket, matt laminated Pages:  TBC Plates: TBC Size: 280mm x 280mm

Pre-Release edition: Cover: cloth cover, foil blocked, set-in image:  approx 300 Plates: TBC Size: 280mm x 280mm (11×11 inches)

 

Reasons to pre-order:

Name printed in the book

Collectors edition cover

Slipcases and special editions only available until pre order closure

20% Reduced pricing

Pre-order book only  £40 ($49.00 USD)
Retail Price when available in bookstores or online  £49.50 ($60.00 USD)

Pre-order book with slipcase £57.50 ($70.00 USD)

 

Special Edition with one print £160 ($195.00 USD)

In limited edition slipcase with signed A3 print (12×16 inches) by William Neill

Special Edition A – with ‘Rock, Tree and Waterfall’, Yosemite National Park, California

Special A Rock,-Tree-and-Waterfall,-Yosemite-National-Park,-California

Special Edition B – with ‘Morning Mist Rising’, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Special B-Morning-Mist-Rising,-Yosemite-Valley,-Yosemite-National-Park,-California

Special Edition with both prints £195 (~$230.00 USD)

Special Edition C – with both  ’Rock, Tree and Waterfall’, Yosemite National Park, California  &  ’Morning Mist Rising’, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

To make your purchase, you will see the drop down menu where you can select the options as shown below.

Photographs by William Neill, slideshow by PhotoShelter

Tuesday, 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

 

Celebrating 30 Years – 1995

Monday, September 15th, 2014

My “Celebrating 30 Years” project moves on to the year 1995.  A few days after Labor Day in 1984, I quit my job as Photographer at The Ansel Adams Gallery, making the leap of faith to start my own business William Neill Photography.  In the process of posting a few images from each year, I am gaining a tremendous perspective on my efforts and successes as my work evolved.  The excitement has built up each time I have searched my massive Lightroom catalog for the next year’s selection.  Below, I have posted eleven images from 1995, and as I do so, I wonder if I will ever have such a spectacular year again!  I was 41, happily married, had been published in four books featuring my work and traveling often to teach workshops.  I was also working on a second book for the Exploratorium Museum and Chronicle Books called The Color of Nature.  My wife and I took to extended camping trips to the deserts of Utah, and to the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park as you can see in the images below.  We also traveled to the east coast, shown by two photographs below taken in Maine.

My favorite photograph, and happily my best-selling fine print is the first image shown below:  Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada 1995.  Only 15 prints remain in the Limited Edition of 150.

Enjoy, and please add your comments below.  All photographs created with a Wista 4×5 field camera, and 4×5 inch transparency film.

Thanks,  Bill

William Neill Books
http://www.williamneill.com/store/books/index.html

 

 


Dawn, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada 1995

 


Sunrise storm clouds, St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana 1995

 


Rock formations and surf at twilight, Big Sur, California 1995

 


Trees growing on moss-covered boulders, Baxter State Park, Maine 1995

 


Autumn Forest, Baxter State Park, Maine

 


Striated wall of an ice cave, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada 1995

 


Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

 


Pine tree and sandstone cliff, Zion National Park, Utah 1995

 


Eroded sandstone, Capitol Gorge, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

 


Buttes and storm clouds over the Green River, Canyonlands National Park, Utah 1995

 


Cliffs at Convict Lake, winter, Inyo National Forest, California 1995

 

 

Celebrating 30 Years of William Neill Photography

Monday, September 8th, 2014

For those of you who don’t follow my Facebook page, last week I stared a series of posts called  Celebrating 30 Years of William Neill Photography.  The idea was to post one image from each of those 30 years of photographs.  I pride myself in being a tough editor of my own work, so that only my strongest work is “released” into the world.  When seeing several equally favorite photographs in one year, I’ve opened up my editing to share a few more images from each year.

The series here were all made with my Wista 4×5 metal field camera, with 4×5 inch color transparency film in 1991.  I have never organized my large format work by year before, and I must say it has been very rewarding to see as a reward for three decades of dedication, hard work and the joy of reconnecting to my visual discoveries!

Enjoy and please share with your friends.

Stay tuned for more, and please feel free to add comments below.

Kind regards,  Bill


Redbud and dogwood, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 1991
Copyright © 2009 William Neill

 


Redbud in fog, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina 1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill

 


Forest leafing out in early spring, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 1991
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

 


Agave parryi, Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California 1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill

 


Twilight surf, Big Sur Coast, California 1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill

 


Mammoth Peak and Kuna Crest from Tioga Tarns, Yosemite National Park, California 1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill

 


Spruce forest in fog, Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont  1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill

 


King’s Pond with morning mist, Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont 1991
Copyright © 2014 William Neill