Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 6, 2009

Windows on our past

Filed under: composition, favorite places, Film, light, Non Birds, style — richditch @ 7:50 pm
Green's Peak, White Mountains, AZ

Green's Peak, White Mountains, AZ

Few things have the power to rival photos in taking  us back to a time and place in our past. Most photos taken by proud parents are really taken to preserve moments of their children’s lives, places they’ve been, and things they’ve done. The meaning and power of such images probably explains why few of these photos are ever judged on technical quality – that turns out to be of vary minor  importance to most people in the overall evaluation.

I’ve never been one to take family snapshots like this, but I find that the images I do take for other reasons at the time can still draw me back t a time and place.

I don’t do a lot of landscape or scenic photos, probably because I don’t have the patience to wait for the light to be as close to perfection as landscape photographers desire. My style of shooting is more random, depending on chance encounters with birds and other fauna, or “found” objects.

We were on a mission to add Blue Grouse to our Arizona bird list, so we’d spent a couple days in the White Mountains of eastern AZ where a few of these large birds live. It was August, 1997, and we were enjoying the lower temperatures of AZ’s high country. We made out way to Green’s Peak, the most reliable place to see these birds at the time. Although I was anxious to get to the 10,133 foot top I had to stop as soon as this scene came into view.

It felt like we could almost touch the clouds here as they billowed just above the meadow at the base of the Peak. This was an obvious time to use a wide angle, and I grabbed my old 20mm and mounted it on my Nikon N90S loaded with Fujichrome. The very wide lens, combined with the elevation, is a good way to make the sky very dark at the top – there was no need to add a polarizer here.

An image of the sky seems to work best with some anchor, as long as the anchor doesn’t overpower everything in the sky. It seemed logical to use the lower shoulder of Green’s Peak as my base, with the mass of green earth somewhat balancing the massive cloud on the left of the frame.

Every ti me I look at this photo I’m transported back to that point in time, and I’m glad I stopped to get this shot before driving up to the top to look for the grouse (now called Dusky Grouse, by the way).

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