Assignment 3: Mountains

Campus | Water | Vineyards (well, OK, mountains) | Urban

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Just to make sure the concept is clear: These are my vacation pictures from Kings Canyon National Park (near Fresno, Calif.), which I turned in as a substitute assignment due to being on vacation for the vineyard assignment.

(Another non-graphical-browser surprise treat) f/5.6; 1/125 sec

(I really suggest you download this picture; the thumbnail doesn't do it justice.)

Roaring River Falls (between Cedar Grove and Road's End). A very inspiring location. Wouldn't want to swim, though -- between the current and the temperature, that water's best left untouched.

How'd you enjoy your vacation? Everything went right. The weather was cool during the day and warm at night, the sky was cloudless, the company was cheerful, the food was great, and our group even saw a bear (doing its own little bear things off in the woods). It was an inspiring week. I hope the pictures reflect that.

(Photography haiku!) f/16; 1/125 sec. Taken on 100-speed film.

The view to the west of Kings Canyon, as the river continues its inevitable descent toward the Central Valley and, ultimately, the Pacific Ocean. The day was lost in haze and the hills aspired to do likewise. Glorious.

What's the secret to good landscape photography? Create a feeling of depth. A standard way to do this is to include objects in the foreground of the picture so that your audience can process the landscape in relation to an object of known size. Another technique, which I happily discovered here, is to use atmospheric effects to your advantage: the hills gradually fade as they recede into the distance, creating a sense of infinity.

(Sweet Nature's beauty) f/16; 1/125 sec. Taken on 100-speed film.

While I did my last day of solo hiking, up on the ridgeline north of the canyon, the rangers started a controlled burn down in the valley. The late afternoon breeze dispersed the smoke eastward; it snuck away as clouds drifted by in pursuit.

What is meant by "framing" a picture? Well, that can mean the piece of wood or plastic that's put around the matted print, but in this sense framing refers to what is on the edges of the scene to "confine" the picture's contents. The dead tree on the left keeps the viewer's eye from following the smoke off the edge of the photograph, but it also serves another purpose: notice the contrast between the colors of the trees on the left and the right. This draws the smoke into the foreground by giving it the illusion of interactivity with the framing objects.

(A camera sees it all) f/16; 1/125 sec; wide-angle (28mm) lens; polarizing filter

One shot of Roaring River Falls turned out not to be enough. I went down closer to the water's edge for this one -- and lo, the shot burst into a full spectrum of colors. The falls don't look quite like that in real life, but hey, I'm not complaining.

How did you get the water colored that way? The shot gently sweeps through the entire rainbow -- from the deep purples of the upper left corner through the blue at the edges of the waterfall to the green of the lake and yellow of the rocks slipping into the oranges and reds at the lower right. And I'll be damned if I can explain it.

(Thank god I brought it!) f/11; 1/500 sec. Taken on 100-speed film.

As I was hiking up the Lewis Creek trail (which reminds me, I need to go bax there someday so I can visit Dragon Lake), I walked through a thin shadow. I glanced back and -- voila.

Geez! How'd you get that solar halo so big? Actually, that's an artifact of the digital processing I did when I scanned the photo in. The scanner automatically darkened the image a little, and when I lightened it to compensate, the flare around the sun became a white circle. It was a little closer to the image to the right on the negative. (How it looked originally)

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Last updated Oct 7, 1998. Design (c) 1998 Tad "Baxil" Ramspott.