Friday, January 2, 2015

Top Landscapes of 2014

Herd Before the Storm

I consider myself primarily a landscape photographer. And I live in an area with fantastic natural beauty. So out of the 365 days of posts a large percentage were landscapes. Those which made up one of the 365 for 2014 were culled from an even larger amount photographs taken. The six photographs included in this blog I consider special for one reason or other. The first photograph could be just another picture of clouds. And I have so many pictures of clouds. The combination of clouds with the herd and the light created a great photograph. Even the slant of the land and the bit of snow fence added to an otherwise ordinary picture.

If you live in the Enchanted Circle of northern New Mexico you are definitely familiar with Old Mike's and Wheeler Peak, the two highest points in the state. Needless to say these two peaks are photographed a lot. Old Mike's in the predominate mountain in this photograph and the all white tiny point to its left is actually the taller Wheeler Peak. The aspects of this photograph, which to me, make it special among the dozens I took in 2014 are the early fall snow, the patch of golden aspens on the foot hills, the clouds, and the play of light and shadows.

But especially important was the point of view. This photo was taken on a walk up the hill from my house. It is not just the mountain but the grass meadow, the near by forest, the distant hills, and the mountain all of which adds to the feeling of distance and size. And to me the mountain itself has great mass when not entirely covered in snow. The early fall snow left the rock structures of the Sangre's not only visible but defined. And, the morning light on the pines helps too.

The Top of the Sangre de Cristos

Ansel Adams said a great photograph was about being in the right place. I would add, at the right time. On a drive back from Albuquerque a friend and I stopped at the top of the Horseshoe turn at the Taos Volcanic Plateau overlook because of smoke rising from a prescribed burn on the distant Apache Reservation to the west. The smoke had drifted into the plateau and filled up the Rio Grande Gorge which splits the plateau.

Here again an often photographed subject by tourists, professional photographers and myself. I have always been rather disappointed at the results. I figured with the smoke this was not destined to be satisfying but, heck, it is digital and I do not have to pay for film or developing so I snapped a few of the smoky gorge. The resultant images were colorless enough that I wondered what they would look like in black and white. And got this great image. The smoke defined the gorge rim and added to the perceived depth of the canyon. BTW it is about 400 to 600 feet deep at this point along its course. It also increased the reality of distance often flattened by full sun.

The Crack

The photograph below was taken in the neighborhood. It is a road I often take. And too often stop to photograph. But an 18 inch snow storm transformed this road through the woods. And the long winter shadows of the morning added to the depth. Never neglect the familiar.

The Road Often Taken

I loved these rocks on a sandstone bluff near Aztec, New Mexico. There they were with no other rocks around. The sandstone underneath them had been worn away by wind and rain to leave these former cap stones stranded. But all the photos seemed ordinary until I tried one on the slant. It is one of my favorite landscapes of the year but obviously impressed nobody else.


While the photograph below turned out to get more likes than any other posted from that same trip. It was for me a "throw away." One of those photos you take just to prove you were there. Or in the old film days to take the one more photo on the roll so you can reload the camera in case a herd of elk come over the hill.


In fact, I did not originally even post it as one of the 365 photos for 2014, but to my Back Country Page on Facebook.  When it proved so popular I had to take a second look at this abandoned homestead outside Pagosa Springs. All I remembered were the weeds (thistle) and prairie dog holes. And that I did not want to walk through either to get a better angle or close up on the buildings. But time and distance from the subject revealed the composition and clouds and shadows and light which made it a good photograph.

Tip: Don't consider only your opinion.

All these photographs are for sale. Many are featured on Fine Art American site.

1 comment:

I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.