It’s funny how the creative mind works. How can two photographers be in the same beautiful location and see the same elements but have two different visions on the final image. I’m fascinated by that process. It may be as simple as something we saw that triggered the process or maybe something deeper. Perhaps unexplainable or just plain innate. Either way here is our thoughts on shooting in the Catskills around Peekamoose Mountain last weekend.
Larry- What struck me about this spot were the long flowing lines and the x shape that formed between them. I tend to look for graphic shapes in my compositions. This was a natural. The x and lines are very strong compositional elements. They define the foreground and help draw your eye back to the cascades. The larger decision for me was how much of the background to show. I knew the cascading water was very important and the key to finishing the composition. The cascades provide the connection of the water from the foreground to the background. However, I wanted the main focus to be on the x and flowing water so cropping out the trees and the rest of the environment behind the cascades became necessary. Once that decision was made I positioned my camera with an 11-22mm lens low to accentuate that dynamic relationship, switched the camera to live mode and fine tuned the final capture.
©Larry Zink Cannon 7d, 11-22mm lens 13sec @ f/13
Dean- Since I have been to this locations many times before I had pre-visualized a completely different shot however since this time I would be able to shoot from standing in the water, which normally due to conditions I have not been able to do this new composition entered my mind. From the new angle I saw the potential for beautifully defined flow lines which would be created with a long exposure, couple that with the perfect flow volume for the pour-offs which I also knew from experience would stay completely defined and clear the combination of the two generally makes for a nice image. The scene had great tonality and I was able to completely see this in Black and White in my mind’s eye. I like the way the image turned out probably one of the best of the day, hey every once in awhile you get lucky and it actually all works according to your plan for those who are interested this was a 30 sec. exposure the light was relatively low so it was easily achieved by stopping down to f22 I was using a polarizer to control the glare.
©Dean Cobin Canon 5DMark2, 17-40mm, 30sec @ F/22
Sycamore and Thunderstorm was made at Four Mile Point off of Route 385 just south of the village of Coxsackie, New York. It was October 2010 and the last of the fall foliage had nearly disappeared leaving the landscape in its pre-winter austerity.
This is my favorite time of year to photograph because the bare trees reveal their skeletal structures and the true beauty of their forms. It was late morning, windy and warm with a hint of rain. I sensed that the conditions might be right to photograph this subject so I packed and drove to Four Mile Point as the calm weather began to intensify into something more powerful. I had attempted to photograph this magnificent river-sculpted sycamore several years before and failed totally. Always in the back of my mind as a great subject, this tree and I were eager for another try. I arrived with my 8×10 inch camera and went to work. The wind began to blow steadily and seemed to be following the tidal movement of the river. Generally, with large format photography, exposures are long and strong winds can cause havoc with foliage and anything that moves. Under most circumstances this would be undesirable, but wind is a natural element and can be used to creative advantage. As I composed this image, dark clouds began to form before me and I heard the rumble of nearby thunder. Thinking that this was a little odd late in October, I decided to wait and watch. Moments passed and the thunder and dark clouds increased. I was now confronted with a powerful, dramatic and very unexpected scene. I adjusted the exposure to last for four seconds. Long enough to allow the movement of wind and river to define themselves but short enough to keep the camera steady in a heavy wind. I made three exposures. Lightning flashed around me and drops began to fall. The sky opened suddenly and without warning the full force of the storm was upon me. Because of the size and amount of equipment needed for this type of photographic work, I could not stow it away from the storm, so I had to stand fast and wait it out. I covered the camera with a large plastic bag, closed my backpack, pulled up my coat hood and braced myself. What followed was an amazing and somewhat unnerving experience. Being so close to the water in this type of storm, I imagined being electrocuted or at least knocked down. As I held onto the tripod-mounted camera to keep it upright, I watched the rain and wind roar violently around me. The ancient sycamore swayed as it probably had a thousand times before. Then, as suddenly as it began, the storm ended. I removed my hood and listened as the fast moving freight-train storm roared on to its northeastern destination. I packed and started out, hopeful that this would be a meaningful image. Today, I print this negative as a very large silver gelatin photograph. The large size helps translate the immense power of river and weather and the calm, steady countenance of this beautiful tree-creature which has experienced more of the raw power of nature than any human being could ever imagine.