A short study of Keem Bay from Achill Island. County Mayo, Ireland
If I lived here, I’d visit often to work this view in all weather, but alas, on a trip like this I had just this one opportunity.
If my job as a photographer is to report not just what it looks like, but what it feels like, then let me start at the beginning. Spring, Western Ireland, County Mayo, the sheep had given birth just a short time before we arrived and the weather was predictably chilly, damp, and variable. It might be bright blue skies at 7am only to turn to heavy clouds and rain an hour later.
On our first day we traveled from Ennis, a small town just north of the Shannon Airport, to our home-away-from-home in County Mayo, just outside of Westport. I was traveling with three other photographers from southern California and our guide the venerable Cormak (Connie, or just Conn) Cullen. Connie would tell us, in his lilting Irish brogue, to just ask to stop if we saw a scene we wanted to stop and photograph. It was all new to us. It was all green to us.
On the side of the road we saw our first, of many, ruin sites. An abandoned stone house, now used as open grazing land for the sheep and cattle. This is the beginning of how Western Ireland felt.
I was up in Whidbey Island for one brief evening, settling in and warming up for a 5 day master class with Sam Abell. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I was called home early the next morning to attend to a family medical emergency (all are well, albeit with a new pacemaker).
While I was there, I did this short study of views of Penn Cove taken from a walking path parallel to Front Street. The rain had stopped, but the clouds were still heavy. The gray clouds and wild roses set the tone. Working to bring together my ideas for simple landscapes, story telling, and true representations. As I think more and more about working with film (these were not, unfortunately, also captured on film), I think about telling it more like I see it and less like I can process it. It puts an added constraint to find the situation that will shine without dramatic processing. These are processed sparsely and exposed in low key to match the moody sky
Taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 at 25mm (50mm EFL).
Ripples in the Dunes by I Nancy, on Flickr
I’m beginning to learn the value of time and distance when it comes to evaluating images. This images was shot on my Utah trip taken in late September. The trip was a whirl-wind tour through areas surrounding Page Arizona, Bryce and Zion National Parks. Upon returning, the emotions of the trip were so in grained that it was very difficult to separate them from the value of each image. The day we visited the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, not far from Zion National Park, we had already missed the best morning sun and the temperatures were quickly rising into the 90s. In addition, photographing these dunes meant more slogging through sand, something which we had already had enough of. “Oh goody, more sand!” became our favorite expression.
This image lay victim to my reluctance to revisit these emotions and edit this mid-morning shoot. The sand here is fairly fine and a reddish, orangeish, pinkish color. The sky a deep blue. The clouds were coming in and soon the weather would cool down some and bring a great display of clouds, rain, and hail for our ride home a few days later. It was difficult to bring out the texture of the ripples and still maintain a good handle on the color. Ultimately the B&W allowed me to concentrate on shapes and the bands of textures. I did all my processing with Lightroom and Photoshop layers (levels and contrast), but I’m guessing that this would have been a good candidate for Nik Silver Efex Pro.
Here is a nearby scene in color. I capitalized on the orange and blue to enter this image into the Thousand Oaks Photo Group December Digital Composition Challenge on Complementary Colors. Ultimately I think that the B&W with its diagonals is a more dynamic image. We will see what the judge has to say on Monday night.
Dunes and Sky by I Nancy, on Flickr
It looks like a pleasant day at the Pink Coral Sand Dunes, but it was in the upper 90s and provided us with an opportunity to walk in more sand. The blue and orange/red of the sand did make a fine composition showing off natural complementary colors.