Monthly Archives: June 2011

Landscape Without the Land

Evening Cloud Reflections Panorama - Lake Tahoe

Late in the Fall (2010) Lake Tahoe was graced with a lot of stormy weather and dramatic skies. I happen to be a fan of softer, more pastel colored skies, as opposed to the over the top neon colors that have huge “wow-factor” (but I find hard to live with). This particular evening I visited the shore of Lake Tahoe to observe the sunset. While I enjoyed the softness of the sky, I wasn’t drawn to any particular foreground / background combination. I was, however, drawn to the reflection of the sky. The water turned my pastel “painting” into a water color. A bit of detail below the water adds a hint of perspective. This is the type of tranquility nature brings to me, and I hope to share with you. Enjoy!
(this image now available to collectors)

Photo Tip:
Remember, rules are a good starting point for composing images (they became rules for a reason), but the most important aspect of landscape photography as art is, paying attention to how the image makes you feel. The image above has no real foreground or background. I did, however, pay attention to the colors, tones and shapes in the image to make sure it had a natural flow and conveyed what I was feeling. I believe this image works because, it makes me feel the way I felt when I experienced this beautiful evening in person. Remember, it is easy to get caught up in technical minutia in this age of digital art. Try to put the technical aspects aside (or relax after you have mastered the basics) and focus on that feeling that gets you out the door to begin with!

Canham 5×7 Metal Field Camera with 6×17 cm panoramic back, 210mm lens, Fuji Provia RDPIII transparency film, Singh Ray LB Warming Polarizer, Gitzo 1325 carbon tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head, Hasselblad/Imacon 646 virtual drum scanner.

Posted in California, impressionist, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Landscape, large format, light painting, Mountains, Nevada, Panorama, photo techniques, Sunset Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My Photography and What I Share in My Seminars

In an age where high volume and over the top/oh my gosh imagery is what many people expect, my personal taste and style continue to be based in the subtleties of landscape photography. I have a passion for fine details, either on their own, or as an important part of a more grand landscape. My work is about the joy and escape I experience while out in the field. When immersed in a beautiful natural setting experiencing the (apparent) simplicity of nature, I just feel right, happy. While I revel in the grandeur of some of these locations, that initial excitement is often the trigger that moves my thoughts away from daily business, obligations and stress. Once “free”, I find that I am open to all the little details that are the building blocks of the grand (and obvious) surroundings. As an end result, I use my personal style of photography to translate what I feel and experience, along with what I see, to the people that view and collect my work.

I still shoot large format film for several reasons, which all relate to the above statements. First, I am a gallery photographer. My primary end product is a fine art print, most often in very large sizes. I love the look of a big print made from big film! Second, I like the ability to use camera movements to critically focus my images for greater (natural) sharpness. Third, this equipment slows me down and helps me focus on one composition. I can’t rush around creating many mages, each with only a bit of meaning to me. I want to compose that one image that requires all of my attention, enabling me to create the art I am passionate about, not just a bunch of pictures (Thus, my catch fraze, “Bringing the fine art of nature home”). Fourth, I enjoy the craft of using a big bellows camera with all of the manual adjustments. It gives me a nostalgic feeling and a sense of pride in making a daily effort to continually master the most basic, and most important aspects of landscape photography. Finally, all of these factors come together when I experience the reactions of people visiting my gallery. I realize the impact my work has on peoples lives when they are moved by my images. A large part of this impact is a product of the artistic process I have chosen to bring my vision to fruition. I am often told that my work goes well beyond the technical “work” of photography, and shares the emotion and passion I have for my subject.

Even with my choice of equipment, almost all of my seminar participants shoot digital. People do not join me in the field to learn HDR or how to work their particular digital camera. I take people out to great locations where we look through the lens together and work on solidifying the basics of image creation while capturing beautiful images. I passionately answer all of their questions, share important aspects of good technique, and focus on learning while doing. I have been amazed by how many people share with me that their photography has come to a standstill since they got their great new digital SLR. Most have become so bogged down by “all of the functions they need to learn”, that they simpy forget about composing an image, properly exposing the image, and using good technique for sharp image capture. I enjoy helping people get a jump start with the basic (and most important) foundations of seeing and creating the images that move them . I love photographing the natural world, and am very excited to share what I have learned with people who sincerely want to learn.

Please visit my web site,  , to view examples of my work. Also feel free to contact me directly to purchase my work or to arrange a field seminar privately or for a small group. When in South Lake Tahoe, visit the Jon Paul Gallery in person. I appreciate input and the opportunity to share my passion with you.

Posted in 4x5 film, 8x10 film, digital photography, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Landscape, large format, Panorama, photo techniques, photoshop, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Celebrating Spring in the Mountains with My 8×10 View Camera!

Dwarf Lupine and Pine Forest

This image is my first release shot with my 8×10 field camera. I had discovered this location while on a mountain bike ride. I kept  pedaling, but  took note of the location and decided to return the next evening. As I set up my 8×10 field camera, I decided to keep the camera just below eye level, giving the feeling that you can walk right into the picture. I also wanted to show the expansive degree to which the Lupine had blanketed the forest floor. I was also taken by the vibrant light green of the new needles on the young pines, especially the way they stood out against the dark bark of the larger trees. I waited until the moment the sun sank behind the mountains to the left of the frame to expose the film. This gave a nice even and rich light to the scene without the harsh contrast of direct light in the forest. As with most of my large format work, after standing back and feeling “invited” into the composition, the fine detail brings an intimate mood to the scene. Welcome to my home in the forest!

Photo Tip: As I mentioned above, I consciously chose the camera height for this photo. Many people I teach overlook the importance of camera height as a part of composing an image. Most people either set the tripod (if using one as you should) at eye level for the sake of comfort and ease, or get down extremely low with a wide angle lens for a dramatic view. Each image requires specific consideration relative to camera height. Choose your camera height carefully when composing and you will create unique images with the strongest angle and composition possible.

Details: Canham 8×10 Metal Field Camera, Rodenstock 240mm APO Sironar-S lens, Fuji Provia 100 8×10 Transparency Film, Gitzo 1325 carbon Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head.

This image is now available for purchase through the Jon Paul Gallery in several limited edition sizes.

Schedule a private field seminar and join me in the field!

Posted in 8x10 film, California, forest, jon paul gallery, Lake Tahoe, Landscape, large format, Mountains, photo techniques, Pine Forest, spring, Twilight, Uncategorized, wildflowers Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |