June 26, 2012

Location: Humboldt Redwoods

We got off Highway 101 and followed the signs for Avenue of the Giants. The small winding road led us through towering redwoods I had only dreamt about, until now. It’s incredible to see something so large and living in person. No picture can substitute the feeling. So, what is a photographer to do when you know any photo you take will only be trivial in comparison to the feeling of actually being there? I’m not sure I have the answer. I couldn’t plan to capture the enormity of the giants; I merely wanted to capture the aura. To say the Redwoods are grand and peaceful is an understatement. One step into the forest of giants and it’s like you’ve stepped into another world. I wanted to capture the scale of the place. I wanted to capture the journey it takes to get to such a peaceful place. So, I went in with a warming polarizer and a tripod and set out in search of shots that would satisfy my intent. 

I found most of my success included some kind of human element, whether it was a car driving through the walls of giants, or tourists trying to make a human chain around the widest tree. Without the human element in my photography, it seemed the trees lost their splendor. It’s funny, in such a place that could mask the human presence only a few yards away, the best way to capture it was to include that presence. I think it has to do with including a familiar object with an unfamiliar landscape. We need that familiarity to wrap our brains around such a magical place, and keep from being fooled by it.

The Avenue of the Giants actually goes through Humboldt Redwood State Park, home of some of the most brilliant redwoods in the state. We checked-in at the main campground and decided on the environmental camp (Hamilton Barn) a few miles from the center. We ended up avoiding the crowds at the main campsite and had the entire site to ourselves. The next morning we woke to a light drizzle of rain, just enough to saturate the colors of the forest. I didn't want to leave, but the next adventure was calling: Yosemite National Park.

June 15, 2012

Location: Goblin Valley

Layers of rock in Goblin Valley

Here are some pics from my latest trip to Goblin Valley State Park. The afternoon started out windy, and when I say windy, I mean *blow-your-tent-from-it's-stakes-so-you-never-see-it-again windy, so I was a little skeptical about actually getting out to shoot sunset. As my friends and I hunkered down in the back of a shell covered truck to wait out the wind, the light started to change. The wind died and the menacing clouds broke enough to create some dramatic light in the valley. There were 360° views of magical light. 

The weather never ceases to surprise me. I have learned this time and time again, especially living in a place like Utah. There is a saying in Utah, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." This is a valuable truth to learn as a photographer; light can change instantly and if you're not ready for it, you'll miss it. 

The three sisters in Goblin Valley

Photographer takes in the views in Goblin Valley

The Three Sisters in Goblin Valley

*Actual experience. I set up my tent with it staked to the ground in relatively calm weather, go off and play among the goblins in windy-as-hell weather, and come back to three stakes in the ground holding nothing but the air around them. The $25 tent that had been my shelter for so many weekend adventures was gone. 

June 07, 2012

New Website!

The new website, lindsaydanielsphotography.com, is officially up and running! I hope to be fine tuning, as well as updating with new material, often. So, take a look, tell me what you think, and tell your friends!

Suggestions are welcome!

June 06, 2012

The Importance of Composition

Greg Laswell at the State Room singing "Landline" unplugged. 

There are several factors that go into producing great imagery, but some of the most elementary photo lessons, such as the "Rule of Thirds" or leading lines, remain invaluable. One question I ask myself before I even click the shutter is, "How am I leading the reader's eye to the subject?" Most often it will be because of the composition or how the light falls on a scene. In the photo above, Greg is obviously the main subject. He's the front man, on stage, with a guitar in his hands. What makes this photo engaging is the composition. Technically, this photo is subpar. It's noisy (high ISO), a bit fuzzy, and not in the best light. But what it lacks technically, it makes up for in composition and emotion. It captures a moment: the audience listening intently, trying to catch a photo of the man on stage, and Greg, humbly playing his acoustic guitar, unplugged. You can't always get the perfect light, or the perfect moment. If you go into a situation trying to capture something that just isn't there, use other tools in your bag. Reach for the fundamentals. Putting all your eggs in one basket is constraining. Have a back up plan. Adapt to your surroundings and you'll come home with winning imagery.

Using the "Rule of Thirds" and leading lines.

I'd love to hear your feedback. Do you think this image works? Does the composition or moment make up for the lack of technical details? 

June 03, 2012

Website Preview

I just want to share a preview of the imagery that will be showcased on the new website. The photo on the left is on Antelope Island looking back across the Great Salt Lake, and the right photo is of my best friend, fellow adventurer and photographer, Becky, in Goblin Valley. Now, get out and have an adventure!