Posts Tagged ‘williamneill.com’

My Favorite Photographs of 2019

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

Greetings from the Sierra Nevada,

Happy New Year! I hope your year ahead is happy, healthy, and artistically productive!

I’ve always thought that tight editing was a prime skill for any photographer and that I was good at it. Well, this year, I’m proving that incorrect. I decided that since over the past year, I’ve made such a diverse range of imagery, I would show that range. My 2019 collection includes 60 photographs listed in chronological order. I am hoping that while seeing a fuller view of my visual explorations that somewhere while scrolling through my images you find an inspirational direction for your own art.

The primary motivation for me to photograph is to experience beauty, which is everywhere if we look for it. For example, the first image here was taken with my iPhone in Costco. Much of what I find is local, around my home like ice formed in a bucket on my patio, snow on the pines in my neighbor, trees in bloom in Fresno, and of course a few from Yosemite.

Many years ago, when I was involved with Ansel Adam’s workshops, I was fortunate to hear lectures by many master photographers.  One of them was Jerry Uelsmann (http://www.uelsmann.com/), who became a friend and mentor.  During his lectures, he would show his work from the past year.  Since his work involves compositing many images together, these images including variations he had tried, often with the same objects in different locations or scenes.  This overview revealed the progression of Jerry’s creative process during the year.  I always felt inspired when seeing many of his slide shows.  I often thought I should do this myself each year, in order to assess my year’s efforts, but never got around to it. So now I’ve been doing the annual review annually!

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 image-making.  By turning back the clock, we can see if we are stuck in a rut or made great progress.

I hope you will add your comments or favorites at the bottom of the page. You can add a link to your collection if you wish.

Kind regards, Bill

PS Click here to read my Outdoor Photographer essay on this subject written in 2010 entitled Best of the Year.

Best of 2014
Best of 2015

Best of 2016
Best of 2017
Best of 2018

 


Flowers, Fresno, California 2019
PureShot for iOS, iPhone XS Max back camera 4.25mm f/1.8,
1/60 second at f/1.8, ISO 50

 


Sierra Foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Bracken Fern, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/4 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Winter Oaks, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/200 second at f/14, ISO 800

 


Pines in snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ice, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
3.20 second at f/32, ISO 100

 


Gnarled Oak, snowstorm, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/90 second at f/13, ISO 800

 


Vernal Pool, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/10 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Spring foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Moonrise and oak woodlands, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Creosote patterns, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/15 second at f/6.3, ISO 100

 


Ice and stones, Ahwanhee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1.50 second at f/19, ISO 100

 


Pear blossoms, Fresno, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/640 second at f/11, ISO 1600

 


Spring Blossoms, 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/250 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Dawn Surf, Point Pinos, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
30 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Cypress trees in fog, Pacific Grove, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Pfeiffer Arch, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
8 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1000 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Moon over Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/25 second at f/5.6, ISO 400

 


Dogwood, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Dogwood Blossoms, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Dogwood along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Spring sunrise over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/40 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Upper Yosemite Fall, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 200

 


Waterfall and Mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1600 second at f/7.1, ISO 200

 


Lupine, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Farewell to Spring Blossoms, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/8 second at f/13, ISO 100

 


California Poppies, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/9, ISO 100

 


Hydrangea, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
4 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Ridges, Mt Tamalpais State Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/125 second at f/16, ISO 200

 


Sequoias, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/14, ISO 100

 


Sequoia trees, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/10, ISO 100

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #10 50/2.4,
1/400 second at f/2.5, ISO 100

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Abalone Shell and Bubbles #2, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/2000 second at f/5.6, ISO 800

 


Ripples, Ahwahnee, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/3200 second at f/5, ISO 1600

 


Patterns #1, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/640 second at f/8, ISO 200

 


Patterns #4, Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/320 second at f/11, ISO 200

 


Ripples, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/800 second at f/9, ISO 1250


Cottonwoods and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM,
1/25 second at f/18, ISO 400

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Clearing Storm, Santa Rosa Wilderness, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/400 second at f/8, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods and mist, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8 second at f/11, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods impressions, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/25, ISO 100

 


Cottonwoods, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/1 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Pine Forest, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
4 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Steaming Mist and Pine, Yosemite National Park, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/80 second at f/18, ISO 100

 


Cattails, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/5000 second at f/5.6, ISO 6400

 


Grasses reflected, San Juaquin Valley, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/4000 second at f/6.3, ISO 6400

 

SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/8000 second at f/7.1, ISO 6400

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
2 second at f/16, ISO 100

 


Sword Ferns, Sehome Hill, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, #127 90/2.8,
1/13 second at f/16, ISO 800

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Alder Forest, Arroyo Canyon, Bellingham, Washington 2019
SonyILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1.60 second at f/20, ISO 100

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/6 second at f/13, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Falls, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/20, ISO 200

 


Whatcom Creek, Bellingham, Washington 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/3 second at f/18, ISO 100

 

LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Spring storm, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California 1986

I am happy to announce my next book!

LIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE: Photographs and Lessons from a Life in Photography.

To be published by Rocky Nook in the spring of 2020. A collection of photographs and essays based on my On Landscape column for Outdoor Photographer Magazine.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

“For more than two decades, William Neill has been offering his thoughts and insights about photography and the beauty of nature in essays that cover the techniques, business, and spirit of his photographic life. Curated and collected here for the first time, these essays are both pragmatic and profound, offering readers an intimate look behind the scenes at Neill’s creative process behind individual photographs as well as a discussion of the larger and more foundational topics that are key to his philosophy and approach to work.

Drawing from the tradition of behind-the-scenes books like Ansel Adams’ Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs and Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape, Light on the Landscape covers in detail the core photographic fundamentals such as light, composition, camera angle, and exposure choices, but it also deftly considers those subjects that are less frequently examined: portfolio development, marketing, printmaking, nature stewardship, inspiration, preparation, self-improvement, and more. The result is a profound and wide-ranging exploration of that magical convergence of light, land, and camera.

Filled with beautiful and inspiring photographs, Light on the Landscape is also full of the kind of wisdom that only comes from a deeply thoughtful photographer who has spent a lifetime communicating with a camera. Incorporating the lessons within the book, you too can learn to achieve not only technically excellent and beautiful images, but photographs that truly rise above your best and reveal your deeply personal and creative perspective—your vision, your voice.”

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

Last Light – Revisit the key themes in your photography to add depth and quality to your portfolio

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

I was driving home at sunset a few months ago, as the last light of 2018 faded into darkness. I had recently posted my favorite images of 2018. I stopped to photograph at an open area of grassland where I could see the bands of sunset color. Using the magic of ICM (intentional camera motion), I moved my camera back and forth horizontally, blending the land and sky into a painterly abstraction of the scene before me. I relish the uncertainty of this process, where no results look the same and are hard to predict. In near darkness, I made 73 images in 6 minutes, experimenting with various shutter speeds and speed of my camera motion. The exposure times ranged from 0.5 to 2.5 seconds.

The creative life of an artist has its cycles like the seasons, its ebbs and flows in the river of experience and ideas. I’ve learned to embrace this lifelong process, riding high when new images come readily and being patient when my vision seems stale and repetitive. If inspiration isn’t appearing, I won’t force the issue. My goal is to see the beauty around me as a daily practice, and if I stay connected to that purpose, I know the images will come sooner than later.

While developing my recent retrospective book, I naturally got thinking about the major themes in my photography. The most significant departure in my landscape photography is my “Impressions of Light” series. I had spent 20 years creating images with, and building a career using, a 4×5 view camera with the goal to represent the magic of nature with exceptional sharpness and exquisite detail.

Then about a decade ago, I began to see students of mine experimenting with intentional camera motion using a single exposure and slow shutter speed with great results. Soon I became fully immersed in the technique myself, experimenting with, and developing a portfolio of, impressionistic photographs.

As a teenager, my mother worked as a docent at the National Gallery of Art when we lived near Washington, D.C., so I often had the chance to visit the exhibits. I was captivated by the “en plein air” approach of Monet and by the pointillism of Van Gogh I viewed there. Art soon became my favorite class during my high school years. My intrigue with the Impressionist movement led to my experiments with blurred images many years later.

The motion studies seen in my “Impressions of Light” work are an extension of my core goal of depicting the beauty I discover in nature. The ICM technique removes literalness and context, and distills the essence of a subject or scene in a fresh way, much as snow or fog simplifies the landscape. This less-literal approach has great potential to convey the spirit of a place powerfully.

To evolve creatively as an artist, I have found it necessary to push myself in new directions. Success toward this goal cannot be achieved passively, but it must be sought out and consciously pursued. I have tried to adhere to the concept that, as an artist, one should always question one’s own preconceived notions.

As 2018 ended and I reviewed my photographs from the past year, I noticed that I had not made any new “Impressions” photographs. So, on that last day of the year, it seemed the right time to push myself to add new work to my portfolio. Well, those results got me revved up for another session in the same area a few days later. This time I worked on a day with ominous clouds and beams of light striking the foothill grasslands.

Progress happens one step at a time; one idea leads to another, and down the road we travel. The pathway toward elevating one’s photography is to continually add depth to those primary themes that inspire us. Creative tangents are critical to that growth but sometimes can be too random. Most of us can benefit from a more focused approach. My recent images shown here will add valuable breadth to my Impressions series. For your own creative resolutions, target your key themes to build their depth and quality level, plan shooting sessions with those targets in mind, and I’ll bet you see exciting improvements in your photography. Enjoy the ride!

Feel free to leave your comments below.

Cheers,  Bill

PS  My Impressions of Light ebook is available at my ebook store HERE.


Grasslands at sunset, Madera County, California 2018, Madera County, California 2018
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
1/2 second at f/11, 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 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

 


Sierra Foothills, Madera County, California 2019
Sony ILCE-7RM2, FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS,
2 second at f/32, ISO 100

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

Focus Your Fall Portfolio

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
Working with a theme can help you create a unique collection of images

 

 

Autumn Elm and Sunbeams, Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California, 2014.

With autumn photography season here, I want to share some ideas that may help you develop an excellent portfolio for this fall season. I have found it useful, for myself and for teaching my students, to think about creating a story line, or clear thematic focus, for your work. Consider what specific locations or aspects of autumn inspire you the most. The location could be your backyard, a nearby park or reserve, or a travel location where you can spend at least a few days to explore the area fully. A favorite aspect might include colorful reflections, or the patterns of fallen leaves, or a series focused on branch-filled tapestries of color. This approach of specialization will help distinguish your autumn images from other photographers’ work.

Two key elements needed for your selection of an autumn theme are passion for the subject and easy access during the season. Passion is a must-have ingredient for creative, insightful imagery. Repeated access to your location will build your knowledge of the light, weather and seasonal changes, helping you find the best conditions for making great photographs. One idea would be to photograph the transition of autumn in your area, from the first hints of color in green trees to the last clinging leaves. This transition offers us great opportunities to communicate that visceral sense that we all feel of time moving forward.With autumn photography approaching soon, I want to share some ideas that may help you develop an excellent portfolio for this fall season. I have found it useful, for myself and for teaching my students, to think about creating a story line, or clear thematic focus, for your work. Consider what specific locations or aspects of autumn inspire you the most. The location could be your backyard, a nearby park or reserve, or a travel location where you can spend at least a few days to explore the area fully. A favorite aspect might include colorful reflections, or the patterns of fallen leaves, or a series focused on branch-filled tapestries of color. This approach of specialization will help distinguish your autumn images from other photographers’ work.

Instead of trophy hunting for singular, spectacular scenic images, I like to explore around for quiet images, ones that don’t shout too loud. In Yosemite, for example, I often find exciting details on the forest floor, in river reflections or cliff details. I have included some examples here from last fall in Yosemite Valley. Over a two-week period in late October and early November, I worked with private students in Yosemite Valley. I enjoy the one-to-one process of helping photographers find their own vision, and share mine with them. Even though I usually focus on intimate details, that doesn’t mean I will avoid those epic, rare events where weather and/or light explode with drama and energy.

On one such dramatic morning, an amazing confluence of peak autumn color and morning mist, rising off a frosted meadow, unfolded before me and my student. We started out photographing from one excellent vantage point, then raced to where the sun was directly behind this extraordinary tree where we witnessed sunbeams bursting through the graceful branches. Knowing that the mist would burn off soon, we worked rapidly to find the best camera position for him to block the rising sun with the tree’s limbs. Even though the lens was shaded from direct sun, the high contrast and rapidly changing situation called for bracketing exposures to ensure a full range of data was captured. The end result, for both of us, were top portfolio “keepers!” The images portray the symbolism of “a new day” and “light shining through the darkness.”

Just as exciting to me were several quiet Yosemite images I photographed last fall. Quiet intensity in an image can endure and engage the viewer for longer in my opinion. With subtle imagery comes a depth that can be enjoyed more over time.


Yellow Maples, Cedar and Pine, Yosemite Valley.

When I pull together a group of photographs such as from last autumn, I edit by looking for the highest and most consistent quality, as well as looking for a balance of scale, light, weather and subject matter. I might use a wide-angle view or two to set the context of the portfolio in Yosemite Valley. However, my intimate landscapes would be my main focus, such as the river and trees reflections, or leaves floating through autumn-colored river reflections. When you see the selected images as a group such as in an exhibit or online gallery, they should create a visual story, a personal exploration, a creative viewpoint.

This fall, think about what thematic project you could develop. Selecting a title, even if you change it later, can give you additional focus for both your shooting sessions and editing. Think about what you want to say with your images. Your unique viewpoint will be better revealed, and the concept behind the photographs will heighten the portfolio’s impact.

Best wishes for great light, wondrous color and creative autumn photographs!

Autumn Portfolio

 

 

Autumn Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California 2015

 

 

 

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

Special Print Offer from The Ansel Adams Gallery

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

It is my pleasure to announce that The Ansel Adams Gallery is once again sponsoring a special print sale of two of my photographs, offering a 25% discount off the normal price.

Visit The Ansel Adams Gallery for more info or to purchase a print.

Clearing Storm at Dawn, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

Although I generally prefer creating intimate landscape images, when presented with the classic grandeur of this scene with such epic weather and light, I naturally couldn’t resist trying to capture it. Starting before dawn, I photographed two hours of spectacular lighting and swirling clouds and felt blessed to have witnessed it!


Dogwood Blossoms and Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2013

I have been photographing the dogwood of Yosemite Valley for 40 years. My favorite locations are along the Merced River where their branches hang gracefully over the rushing water. I love how these branches form a tapestry effect above the river’s rushing spring runoff.

 

From The Ansel Adams Gallery:
“From time to time on our website, we are thrilled to offer collectors, friends and fellow art lovers, a chance to purchase two never-before-printed images by one of our distinguished Gallery artists at a discounted price, prior to its availability within the general market place.

This month, in celebration of spring in Yosemite, we are offering two complementary images from William Neill: “Dogwood Tapestry, ” and “Clearing Spring Storm.”  While Bill’s original prints normally sell in these sizes up to $450, you can now add one to your private collection for 25% off the initial retail price.  Each photograph is made by Mr. Neill in his studio, printed to current archival standards, signed, as well as mounted, matted and ready for framing.  The time to purchase will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, May 14th and will expire upon the close of business, Sunday, May 20th at 6:00 PM. Once the offer has expired, we anticipate an order fulfillment time of approximately four to six weeks to ensure the quality of each individual order.  This inaugural printing offer is available for a very limited time, after which, the print will return to full price.  

Email our curator, Evan Russel, at evan@anseladams.com if you have any additional questions about the prints or shipping.”

Featured Portfolio and Interview in LensWork

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

William Neill presents photographs that go far beyond mere “pretty pictures.” His work reminds us of our deep connection with the planet, inspires us to seek the beauty of nature for ourselves, and encourages us to see with greater intimacy the beauty that surrounds us wherever nature flourishes.    -Brooks Jensen, Lenswork Magazine

I am honored to be featured in LensWork’s November/December issue. The portfolio, entitled Sanctuary in Stone-Yosemite Winter, contains twenty photographs ranging from 4×5 exposures made in the early 1980s or digital captures made this year.

There are three versions of LensWork are available for purchase -the printed version, the tablet version and the computer version: http://shop.lenswork.com/LensWork-133-Tablet-Edition-33-mb_…

If you are not familiar with Brooks Jensen’s podcast, I highly recommend it: http://apple.co/2zz6i3V

BOOK UPDATE: For those of you that purchased my retrospective book, you may be wondering where it is! Well, the latest news is that, due to an unforeseen issue, the book should be shipping to you in early December. Thanks so much for your purchase, and for your patience. I am certain that the long wait will be worth it.

In parting, I’d like to share with you an endorsement for my book by my friend Dewitt Jones. I am honored and humbled by his kind words:

William Neill is one of the great landscape photographers of the last hundred years. His images – stunning, haunting, breathtaking, poetic – speak for themselves. There are no words necessary, just admiration. Through, in his own words, “observation and immersion” he has seen and recorded the beauty of the planet. But, more than that, he had captured its spirit. Again and again he shows us “the thread which holds all things together”. This book is an instant classic; truly one for the ages.   – Dewitt Jones

Below are a few sample photographs in the portfolio.  Enjoy!

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!