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BROKEN STUMP, ZION NP 2013

This was one of those days when we just couldn’t find anything that really moved us to get out a camera.  Another day in Zion National Park and we had just finished an unsuccessful hunt for something of interest. We had a secluded canyon selected for the day, but it just didn’t do much for either of us. Never give up though, there are those times you find things when you really do not expect to see much of anything of interest.

We decided to head to the lodge for a break and to regroup. Just before the lodge entrance there is a large pullout and we decided to look around. I walked about 500 yards to the trail that winds along the river and suddenly I found this very large cottonwood tree that was dead and fallen. The broken stump was beyond beautiful. This is one of these things that is just not suitable for words. . . but there it was right in front of me. All I had to do was make the photograph.

The temperature in the park had been running from the low 30’s in the morning to the lower 40’s in the afternoon, and I was geared up to work in the shaded valley where we were exploring earlier. I was not really prepared for working in full sun. The tree was a pretty good hike but it was on level ground, so I rushed back to the van to get my camera, not thinking about the layers of clothes I was wearing. I have to admit that I was quickly becoming overheated, but I knew I had to get this one on a sheet of 8×10 film. This was a really quickly seen subject of interest, grab the photograph, then move on type of image.

I knew I had something if I had not made a mistake in my heated (literally Heated) stupor to expose the negative. When I saw the proof some four months later there was no doubt and it was quickly immortalized on a sheet of vintage #2 Kodak Azo.  This is the extremely abstract type of photograph that I am always drawn into.  You don’t know exactly what you are looking at. . . what the size relation is. . . nor even if you are on Earth.  Those are the things I look for in what I would call an ‘extreme’ abstraction.  I love this stuff and thrive on it.

Susan did not find anything that interested her so she shot this video of me and the stump. . . enjoy!

JB

 

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  _108-13 N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/27/2013
TIME:  12:59pm
FILM:  Ilford HP5+
FILM SIZE:  8×10
CAMERA:  Canham 8×10
LENS:  6 1/2″ WA Dagor
f STOP:  45 1/2
SHUTTER:  1/2
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  PyroCat HD 1:1:200
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  8×10
PRINT TYPE:  Contact
PAPER:  Kodak Azo #2

FALLEN LEAF

FALLEN LEAF

Generally, this is the time of the year when I start hearing the question. . . “Where are you and JB headed this year?” I’ll answer Southern Utah and maybe an extra stop along the way. Their response typically is “Weren’t you there last year?” Yes, but there is something about returning to an area that is familiar. It doesn’t have to mean that you’ll return with the same photographs that you shot the previous year. No moment in time can be re-created; no matter how hard you try. As we drive through an area, inevitably there will be, “That’s why I made that image” or “Do you remember the photograph with the tree?” 

As you mature, both as a photographer and a person, you look at things differently. The way you framed a shot may be entirely different now than it was before. I’ve photographed this same tree multiple trips but no two images have looked the same.

Typically one thinks of large vistas when they see a large camera but intimate details are also a great subject to photograph. This past year, I made an effort to focus in on various details. It could be a pattern found on a tree, a rock or water flowing over rocks. 

We’ve photographed a lot in this area of Zion. It is one of the more popular spots to hike. Each year there are more fallen trees and branches. These trees are left where they fall to return to the soil. I had been looking around for close detail shots when I noticed a curled leaf at the base of this fallen tree. It was 11:56 am and the light was fairly harsh.

I was photographing with my 4×10 and knew that depth of field would be an issue with this photograph. To frame the image the way I wanted it to appear on my ground glass, I would need a fairly wide lens and the bellows racked out. The lens that I chose was my Schneider 210 Apo Symmar. By the time I got the image in focus, the bellows was extended 18 ½ inches. Since the 210mm was an 8 ¼ inch lens, this meant that I would be calculating bellows extension into my shot. The next issue was the harsh light and axis lighting. The sun was casting a shadow on part of the area that I wanted to photograph. 

I carry a 22” reflector in my backpack for situations just like this. By using the black side of the reflector, I was able to shade the entire subject area that I was photographing. This smoothed out the lighting. The meter read 15 seconds but after I factored in the bellows extension, the exposure was adjusted to f64 @ 17 seconds.

By isolating this small area, unwanted distractions are removed from the final image. I prefer to utilize every inch of the ground glass area and that is where I crop my image. I haven’t photographed a lot of close-up details before this trip but made an effort to look for opportunities just like this.

Susan

 

LOCATION: Zion National Park
NEGATIVE: 410-080-13 N+1 1/2
DATE: 12/25/2013
TIME: 11:56 am
FILM: Ilford HP5+
FILM SIZE: 4×10
CAMERA: K.B. Canham
LENS: 210 Apo Symmar
f STOP: 64
SHUTTER: 17s
FILTER: N/A
DEVELOPER: PYROCAT HD
DEVELOPED: N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE: 8×20
PRINT TYPE: Enlargement
PAPER: Ilford Warmtone MG FB

SUSAN AND HER VERTICAL 4X10, ZION NP, DECEMBER 20, 2012

In this short video you will see Susan with her 4×10 vertical camera making the photograph “WATERFALLS, ZION” December 20, 2012.

JB

ICE & LEAVES

Ice and Leaves

There’s something magical about that moment in time. . . just before sunset.   Whether you’re sitting on a beach watching the sun disappear below the horizon or deep in a canyon with the last glimmer of light reflecting off of the rock walls.  The last light of the day just makes everything glow.

ICE & LEAVES 1This was our last day of photographing in Zion. We planned to take it easy today.  We were both tired from working long days.  We had started early in the morning. Our first stop was the Narrows parking lot to see how many people were around.  More people were here than when we first arrived.  The cabins looked like they were close to capacity along with Zion Lodge.  The hotels in town are pretty full too. We headed back to the Great White Throne pullout. We hadn’t stopped there during this whole trip.  The light was hitting the trees kind of neat so we decided to pullout the 8×20 vertical.  I made some photographs with the vertical 8×20.  It was time for a light lunch and then our final stop for today.

ICE & LEAVES 2

One of the pullouts along the road to the tunnel had a trail that ran along side a creek.  On occasion, if the conditions were right, there would be icicles hanging from the sides of the canyon walls like organ pipes.  Just the day before there weren’t any icicles.  Today there were lots.  I decided to walk the trail to check it out.  Along the way, I found this little weed.  It was about ¾-1 mile back to the icicles.  By the time I got back to where the icicles were it was about 3:00 pm.  I hurried back to the van, grabbed my 4×10 backpack and headed back for the icicles.  It was 3:30 pm and sunset would be in about 2 ½ hours.  This was such a neat place.

ICE & LEAVES 3I made several photographs that afternoon.  Trees, rocks, icicles. . . all of my favorite subjects.  My last photograph would be a close-up of the ice with the water flowing beneath it.  It was getting close to 6:00 pm and the light was beginning to reflect in the ice.  For this photograph I would use my 305 G Claron.  I decided on an N+1 ½ development to add more to the tonal range.  The exposure would be f 45 ½ at one minute.  The light was changing so I added a more time to the meter reading to allow for this.  By now it was getting dark and the temperature was 32 degrees.  I loaded up my backup and grabbed my tripod and headed back for the van. Tomorrow we were on the road to our next adventure.

Susan

ICE & LEAVES 4

 

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  410-163-11 N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/27/2011
TIME:  6:05 pm
FILM:  Ilford HP5+
FILM SIZE:  4×10
CAMERA:  K.B. Canham
LENS:  305 G Claron
f STOP:  45 1/2
SHUTTER:  1 min
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  PYROCAT HD
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  8×20
PRINT TYPE:  Enlargement
PAPER:  Ilford Warmtone MG FB

 

 

 

 

VIRGIN RIVER RAPIDS, 2010

VIRGIN RIVER RAPIDS, 2010

Running water is one of those things I am attracted to like a magnet.  I have hundreds of negatives of running water.  Some time ago I realized that flowing water was all I was doing.  So, I intentionally weaned myself from my total addiction to water.  That didn’t mean I quit photographing running water. . . I just limited it to those things that I felt were extremely important.  Rather than just obsessing and concentrating on every little cascade I could find, I took a step back and tried even harder to find something unique with respect to the subject.

There are those times you look, then you look again.  We have been in the area of the Riverside Walk Rapids several times before.  I have numerous negatives of this area.  You are in a deep canyon surrounded by walls near 1,200 feet high.  Sunlight only comes in here when the sun lines up with the canyon mouth at its southern end.  This occurs for about half an hour somewhere around noon.  The rest of the day the light is quiet and subdued.  It was an overcast day which added to the smooth even light.  There was no wind and it may have warmed to 40 degrees F by mid afternoon.  Perfect weather to be there with a big camera.

This photograph is another case of near abstraction, yet it is a somewhat true depiction of reality.  You know where you are and objects are familiar, so abstraction may not exactly fit well in the description.   What I find, what I feel, and what I see, are not always what is actually in front of my camera.  Art is about showing others what you see. . . your vision, plus your feeling at the time.

Click on thumbnails above to see full-size image.

I have included several snapshots of where I was working.  This will show what it truly looked like at the time we were there.  I am sure it is no exaggeration that there is little resemblance between reality and my interpretation.  But this is how I saw the cascading water that day.  If I were to go back today, I might come back with an entirely different look and feel.  But this is how I saw it this day.

Enjoy!

JB

 

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  M029-N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/17/2010
TIME:  11:16am
FILM:  HP5+
FILM SIZE:  11×14
CAMERA:  11×14 JBH UltraLight
LENS:  355mm G-Claron
f STOP:  90 1/2
SHUTTER:  2s
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  PyroCat HD 2:2:100
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  11×14
PRINT TYPE:  Contact
PAPER:  #2 Azo

HIDEAWAY

HIDEAWAY

Sometimes you just have to go that “extra mile” for that photograph you want.  JB and I have made numerous trips to Zion National Park over the years.  Each time we’ve found a new spot to explore.  Even the usual “haunts” can be different depending upon what has happened since the last time we were there. This part of Utah can have flash floods during the summer and fall and the landscape can change.  Trees can wash away and even big boulders can move with the force of rushing water.  We had found this particular area on the last day of our visit the previous year and made a mental note. . . we need to come back to this spot.

I can’t stress enough the importance of having the right equipment for what you want to do.  There is no substitute for a good pair of hiking boots.  You never know what you’re going to find when you start out.  This particular trail had lots of climbing and big rocks to climb over and around.  My fully loaded 4×10 Canham backpack is around 40 pounds and I use my Ries J-100-2 tripod a lot to steady myself when I’m climbing. If I don’t have far to walk, I’ll use the 8×20 horizontal camera.  I can set-up the 8×20 on my A-100 Ries tripod and carry two film holders in my case but this hike was more suitable for the 4×10 horizontal in a backpack.

The last few years, I’ve been photographing more trees.  There are so many different types and depending upon the climate, they can become twisted and mis-shapen.  This particular day, we got an early start.  Winter was beginning to settle into the park.  The sun was out with only a few high clouds and 28 degrees. Perfect weather for photographing with only one exception. . . the wind.  The wind was blowing close to 20 mph so we would be limited as to where we could photograph.  We decided this would be a perfect day to go hike our trail.  This time of year the park can still have a lot of tourists so we like to find those non-traditional, “set your tripod here. . . click,” secluded spots.  We followed our trail along the winding stream.  At the end of the trail, the quiet stream flowed gently beside the rocks and trees.  This is what I wanted to photograph with my horizontal camera.

One of the advantages of photographing in the winter is the low sun angle and if you find the right spot, you can shoot even during midday.  This photograph was made in December 2011 at 12:14 pm on Ilford HP5+ film and developed in Pyrocat HD.

JB and I returned to Zion in December 2012.  Once again, we hiked our trail.  This time access was cut-off about halfway down the trail.  Our trail was now blocked by big boulders and fallen trees as a result of the heavy rain and flash floods during the preceding summer.  Maybe on our next trip, we’ll be able to hike our trail once more and see what Mother Nature has left for us to capture.

Susan Harlin

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  410-101-11 N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/15/2011
TIME:  12:14 pm
FILM:  Ilford HP5+
FILM SIZE:  4×10
CAMERA:  K.B. Canham
LENS:  6 1/2″ WA Dagor
f STOP:  64
SHUTTER:  2 secs
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  Pyrocat HD
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  8×20
PRINT TYPE:  Enlargement
PAPER:  Ilford Warmtone MG FB

BEARDED LOG, ZION 2011

BEARDED LOG, ZION 2011

I really like abstract images taken directly from nature as found.  As I have said before,  you just cannot explain art.  When you get even deeper into abstract art, the explanation is impossible.  All I can do is tell the story of how I got there.  There isn’t much more I can add.

We had been in Zion National Park for near a week and I had walked passed this fallen, rotting, cottonwood tree numerous times.  It was right next to the parking lot and was in no way difficult to find.  I had made a photograph of this fallen tree the year before in a much wider view of the valley.  I had seen the fuzzy bark at the base but chose to ignore it at the time.  This year the fuzz, deteriorating bark, was even more fuzzy and struck me as looking like a beard.  It was a sunny day that started off at about 20 degrees and warmed to maybe the low 40’s.   Perfect to be out with a large camera.

We had returned to the end of the valley road to what is known as the Temple of Sinawava.  This is a deep canyon and the entrance to the narrows trail. There are times during the day when you have sun, but only about noon.  The rest of the day you are in shade and the light is soft and beautiful.  The high canyon walls reflect light into the valley and is continually changing.

I kept ignoring the bearded log, but something kept calling me back.  I knew I had to do something, so out came the 11×14 camera.  I can’t tell much more of the story since the framing, camera position, and perspective was something that had to be adjusted till it looked right on the ground glass.  When it looks right. . . it is right!

There is little else I can add.  Listed below are the particulars of this photograph. .  . the easy part for sure.  The facts and figures are purely right brain.  The look, feel, and atmosphere of the interpretation can only be experienced by looking at the finished print.

JB

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  M045-11 N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/16/2011
TIME:  11:49am
FILM:  HP5+
FILM SIZE:  11×14
CAMERA:  11×14 JBH Custom
LENS:  355mm G-Claron
f STOP:  45 1/2
SHUTTER:  1s
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  PyroCat HD
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  11×14
PRINT TYPE:  Contact
PAPER:  #2 Azo

GRANDDAD’S BARN

GRANDDAD’S BARN

Large format cameras and Texas don’t compliment each other.  There are only a few months during the year when one can really pull the camera out of the backpack and get under the dark cloth and enjoy being out photographing.  When the calendar says fall and everyone else is enjoying the beautiful fall foliage, Texas has not left summer behind.  It was the end of October last year that JB and I, along with several of our photography friends, decided to venture to a local state park.  We could tell when we got up that morning that it was going to be a warm day. . . but we hadn’t counted on the wind and humidity to go along with it.  GRANDDAD’S BARN 2We were going to meet around 8:00 in the morning so there was only time for a quick breakfast, load the gear into the van and off we went.  We were all eager to make some photographs.GRANDDAD’S BARN 1  It had been a while since we had the cameras out.  When we arrived at the park, we grabbed our viewing filters and walked all around the park looking for that spot where we wanted to plant our tripod. . . the location of our next anticipated image.  A butterfly landed on my glove and stayed there while I was walking around.  I managed to make some shots but it wasn’t long before the light started to get harsh.  I wanted even lighting with subtle shadows and dappled light would not work.  Photographing details will work during the flat light of midday but the time was not right for what I wanted to photograph.  I had found an old split rail fence that lead up a path to this neat barn.  It was surrounded by lots of trees.  There were two trees in particular that had grown together into a tight embrace, not wanting to let the other go. . . as if supporting the other as it grew toward the sky.  Because of the direction that the barn was facing I could tell that this would be a late afternoon, almost early evening shot to get the light that I wanted.  The decision was made to return later that day.

Because of the hike to get to the barn I decided to use my Canham 4×10. GRANDDAD’S BARN 3 I made sure there was plenty of fresh film in the holders before putting on my backpack and grabbing my tripod.  Off I went. . . headed for the old barn.  The light was just starting to get nice but the temperature was still pretty warm. . . 88 degrees.  Because I needed maximum depth of field, I decided to use the 6 ½” WA Dagor.  After metering the scene, I knew that the tonal range would work for a normal development.  I stopped the lens down to f45 and exposed the film for 8 seconds.  The film I used for this exposure was Bergger BPF 200, which has a long tonal range.  The shot was made at 6:09 pm when the sun was at a low angle and provided soft shadows from right to left glancing on the ground below. The finished print is an 8×20 enlargement on Ilford Warm tone paper selenium toned.  My waiting had paid off.

Susan Harlin

 

LOCATION: Cedar Hill State Park, TX
NEGATIVE:  410-036-12 N
DATE:  10/20/2012
TIME:  6:09 pm
FILM:  Bergger BPF 200
FILM SIZE:  4×10
CAMERA:  K.B. Canham
LENS:  6 1/2″ WA Dagor
f STOP:  45
SHUTTER:  8 secs
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  Pyrocat HD
DEVELOPED:  N
PRINT SIZE:  8×20
PRINT TYPE:  Enlargement
PAPER:  Ilford Warmtone MG FB

BED FRAME, BODIE

 BED FRAME, BODIE


BED FRAME, BODIE 1We made our first trip to the ghost town of Bodie, California in 1998.  During the following years we have returned numerous times to photograph in this icon of the gold rush.  I have well over 100 negatives from this place, some early 4×5 and later 8×10.   My catalog database shows I have printed 56 photographs of Bodie.  There is something about being there that just can’t be explained.  Our first few trips I shot only 4×5 film, but soon I was able to pack an 8×10 and this opened up a whole new world of expression for me.BED FRAME, BODIE 2

With an 8×10 camera I was able to capture what I felt was some of my best images of Bodie, though I have several enlarged photos from 4×5 film that I like also.   As 8×10 became my every day format, I began to experiment with pyro staining film developers.  Some of my first serious field test with pyro developers were done in Bodie.  Susan and I worked out a method enabling us to shoot through windows.  We learned to expose film inside buildings under difficult and extreme lighting conditions.  Bodie yielded a wealth of images and refined shooting techniques for both of us.

Bodie is just like any other place we have worked.  It requires you go back over and over.   Things you see one trip may only register subconsciously at the time.  It may take numerous trips, and attempts, to materialize into something that satisfies the artistic vision.

BED FRAME, BODIE 3I had looked at the bed frame in the window of the Kirkwood House numerous times, but mostly from the east facing window, which is opposite the window I eventually photographed which faces west.  The west window sits in a deep ‘U’ formed by the way the house is constructed.   The west facing window, in the ‘U’ of the house, always posed a problem with the angle and lighting.  This day the sun was reflecting between the two walls in the ‘U’ which made the rusty metal glow.  This side of the house faces north and the light is always very quiet and subdued.  I knew I had to attempt making this image no matter how difficult it may be.

This was a frustrating and difficult image to frame, even with a view camera.   I had to get the camera up high enough to look in the window and frame the bed post just below the center of the window pane.  The camera was so high that I could barely see the top of the ground glass, but I finally wrestled everything into place.  Seems like it took forever to get the framing just as I wanted it.  Luckily the light was steady and unchanging while I worked.

I carefully metered, then immortalized my view on an 8×10 sheet of Tri-X film with a one second exposure.  The film was developed in PyroCat HD, some of my early experiments with pyro, which yielded a negative that was stunning to look upon.  Well worth the effort and numerous trips to Bodie.

JB

LOCATION: Bodie, CA
NEGATIVE:  _050-06 N+1 1/2
DATE:  09/27/2006
TIME:  12:00pm
FILM:  Tri-X
FILM SIZE:  8×10
CAMERA:  8×10 Modified Wisner
LENS:  6 1/2″ WA Dagor
f STOP:  45 1/2
SHUTTER:  1s
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  PyroCat HD
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  8×10
PRINT TYPE:  Contact
PAPER:  #2 Azo

ROCK DETAIL, ZION 2009

ROCK DETAIL, ZION 2009


I love ROCK DETAIL, ZION 2009 Aabstract images of things that may or may not make any sense in the finished photograph.  In an abstract photograph you either get it, like it, connect to it, or you don’t care for it.  All of  the above are valid and none are incorrect.  There are things that are 100% visual.  They cannot be analyzed and categorized with words.  They are a mystery, and remain a visual only statement.  Trying to explain any artistic statement is futile, since the feeling is lost in the translation.  It is like having to explain a joke.  I love making abstract images.  I make quite a number of them, yet show very few.  It is something that the viewer either gets or they don’t.

ROCK DETAIL, ZION 2009 BSince there is no way to explain an abstract, other than the When, Where & How, here is what I can say.    This was from a trip to Zion National Park in 2009.  The image was made along the lower portion of Clear Creek.  It was a sunny day, 28 degrees F. . . perfect working conditions.  I know I had seen this formation before, probably from being in that same area the previous year.  There are things that tend to only register in the subconscious.  I find that it may take several trips to an area to fully explore its potential.  That is why we keep going back over and over.  There is little else I can explain other than the pertinent data below.   Enjoy!

JB

ROCK DETAIL, ZION 2009 C

 

 

LOCATION:  Zion National Park
NEGATIVE:  _038-09 N+1 1/2
DATE:  12/20/2009
TIME:  11:16am
FILM:  HP5+
FILM SIZE:  8×10
CAMERA:  8×10 Modified Wisner
LENS:  6 1/2″ WA Dagor
f STOP:  45 1/2
SHUTTER:  1/2s
FILTER:  N/A
DEVELOPER:  WD2H+
DEVELOPED:  N+1 1/2
PRINT SIZE:  8×10
PRINT TYPE:  Contact
PAPER:  #3 Azo