Monthly Archives: November 2014
Summer in the Broughtons is really an oxymoron of sorts. Is there a summer in the Broughtons?? It is a cold, wet, foggy place that more often than not is shrouded in some form of water. It is a place that is still protected by Vancouver Island from the ocean, but gets the ocean winds and currents nonetheless.
It is a beautiful archipelago of islands and inlets. Not many people cruise the are because of it’s distance so far north, and because of it’s incessant fog. But the fog makes it mystical and beautiful. It can take your breath away.
Sailing with my husband on board our friend Margaret and Bob’s J-40 Tula, we enjoyed many a magical anchorage, generally alone except for the harbor seals and resident eagles. And bears if we were anchored in an mainland inlet. We call them BOBs….bears on the beach.
This last spring a friend of mine and I went on a road trip on the hundreds of miles of rural roads through the Palouse area of Eastern Washington. I had followed for weeks the agricultural reports put out by the State and the weather reports put out by NOAA; the timing had to be just right. Too soon, and the winter wheat isn’t up and green enough….too late and the wheat is too tall and loses it’s spring green color. Not enough rain, and everything is on hold. And of course I was looking for the spring rain clouds which reminds me so much of the rain squalls on the ocean.
The Palouse is so familiar to me, it reminds me so much of being at sea, the long rolling seas and the clouds skirting by in such a hurry.
The wonderful thing about the Palouse is that all the roads are in great shape so that the wheat farmers can get their huge machines to the fields. And there is nobody on them until harvest time. I can meander without worrying about always keeping my eye on the road ahead.
The day shooting begins at dawn, meaning dawn on site. I always want the light just as it comes over the yard arm….giving new warmth to the cold wheat. That magical edge of the day light makes for an active hour of shooting, looking for clouds to put with the land. It can be a very intense search.
This particular photo shoot gave also gave me mid-day drama with the spring rains. I could tell from a long way off when a cloud was getting ready to empty it’s heavy water from my years of seeing the very same thing on the ocean. The cloud has to achieve a certain darkness before it opens up and lets it all out. With this anticipation I was able to find a suitable spot for my tripod just as the heavens would open up.
Here are some black and whites of that shoot, some places I’ve been to before….but the landscape is different with each planting.
In January 2014 a group of friends gathered in the Yellowstone River Valley at Bar B Ranch for a week of winter fun. I have always wanted to head to Montana in the winter to photograph the snow landscapes, so different from the spring and summer scenes that I have photographed for most of my life. I wasn’t disappointed. Although the real snow hadn’t arrived and the temperatures were on the mild side, the land still had the magical glow of winter. And of course there are the Big Sky Moments, where you can see the weather approaching from what seems to be 50 miles away.
One memorable drive was through the Lamar Valley on the northern boundary of Yellowstone, known for it’s wolf populations. Although we never saw any wolf packs, we saw their tracks in the snow.
One day while snowshoeing I was bedazzled by the patterns of shadows in the snowbanks. A simple thing, yet very powerful. Studies in black and white given as a gift to a photographer.
I would love to plan another extended stay in this area for another photographic excursion. You have to be prepared for weather and wind, but the drama that can develop are worth the layers of clothes one must wear.
This trip was lucky in that there was enough land definition in the hillsides to provide some graphic relief from the normal all white landscape. One hint to winter photographers, bring weights for your tripods to steady them in the wind.
Here are a few shots, there are more in the Gallery section….