Read what's been happening on Salvatore's Horizon

Read what's been happening on Salvatore's Horizon
Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine Workshops

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yellowstone: the introspective landscape- Part VIII

Park Photography: a new approach-

excerpts from my new photographic book-

Chapter 4- continued...

Great photography is rare! Sure there are a lot of great photographers that do great work, but what percentage of their work is actually great? Even the best have far fewer great images then good ones. They also have waste paper baskets full of ones that you will never see. So to find a new angle or a truly unique composition is many times rarer. One such feature is Old Faithful Geyser. You might say that it’s a Meat-And-Potatoes shot for a Yellowstone photographer. It is the image in most demand that editors will use to depict Yellowstone. Artists go nuts trying to capture a new look. I’ve gone crazy in the process- you just don’t notice it! You say that you have photographed Yellowstone, but if you don’t have a good shot of Old Faithful you have not really haven’t shot Yellowstone. For me, and I have good images of Old Faithful, but I never felt that I had the “Iconic” Old Faithful shot. Ansel Adams has two great images of Old Faithful partly because of dark room magic, partly because he was so prolifically published and quite frankly, they are of Old Faithful’s two best angles. One is between the visitor center and the geyser. The other is from the east between Old Faithful Lodge and the geyser. It’s has the only tree in a composition that works. The tree is still there as Ansel photographed it and it doesn’t look at it has grown much. To me, its Mr. Adams tree, but not his geyser. If you take your photo from any other point on the boardwalk the encompasses it, you are either too far away or too low of an angle. Luckily, he only photographed them in Black and White. I did take on image from across the Firehole River on Geyser Hill that work well enough to become a two-page spread in a book. It worked out because I used 200mm lens and conveniently a group of photographers stop right in between the geyser and me. Otherwise is would have been just another nice photo of Old Faithful- Humans are Homocentric. Unless there was dramatic light, cloud or rainbow, Old Faithful was becoming the feature I would walk right by. Then finally one day, the composition I had always imagined began to coalesce was I compelled to set up the 4x5” large format camera. It then became a race with the clock as these elements moved into place while Old Faithful eminent eruption loomed ever closer. It was almost too close! By the time I had set up the camera on the tripod, focused it, loaded the film holder into the back of the camera as the bison moved into position- a position I could not have place any better then if I had placed them there myself- cocked the shutter and Old Faithful exploded into the sky. It happened so quick only one image out of four nailed Old Faithful at its peak- if you don’t have Old Faithful at its peak then you don’t have Old Faithful- and remarkably, the Bison had not moved! That image, “Ol’ Faithful Bison”, became the most iconic image of Yellowstone Park since Ansel Adams “Old Faithful” some 60 plus years ago! It has been the cover of several books and calendars on the park as well as the cover image on this book. It is also my most successful selling Yellowstone image ever. I will never take a better shot of Old Faithful. I know that. I also know no one else will ever take one so dramatic as well. I have shot Yellowstone’s essence! Now to get the same image with a double rainbow and lightning with wolfs sitting opposite the bison! It’s OK to dream.

to be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Sal - as usual an awesome photograph. You have such patience and persistence! Yellowstone at it's very best..essence, indeed. More!, more!

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