Sunday Night Links 12-5-10

I spend a good amount of time perusing landscape photography blogs, and an oddity I have noticed is that photobloggers very seldom link to each other’s work. Photographers tend to be rightly respectful of copyright, so we don’t generally borrow someone else’s image for display on our own blogs, even with attribution. And a post full of links looks pretty dull in a blog full of striking images. Nevertheless, it seems like we’re doing ourselves a bit of a disservice by not spreading the word when we come across a photo we love. So I’ve decided to keep a running list of images I find especially outstanding, and post them every so often, perhaps along with a few other links.

My picks this week lean strongly towards intimates and abstracts. First up, is Pele’s Brain, a remarkable view of recently-cooled lava by Justin Resnick. The interplay of blue and gold light over the almost fractal intricacies of folded stone transform what some might consider an ugly subject into a stunning landscape in miniature.

Next is Fall Tapestry by Dan Baumbach. Baumbach is a master of understated compositions, and of finding strangely compelling comps amidst chaos. His photos rarely make me exclaim “Wow,” but they frequently have me clicking the back button for a second, longer look. Check out his website, but only if you’re relaxed and willing to take some time. Fall Tapestry is a scene I would definitely walk right past: a stand of leafless weeds with a smattering of color beneath. I would never see a photo here. But it has a remarkable beauty, impressionistic, quite sensuous when you look at it a while, in a way a field of twigs and weeds would never bring to mind.

Third: Plant Oils on Water, by Floris van Breugel. An all-natural scene, just what the title says it is (read the blog post), but seriously psychedelic. Thankfully, the leaf prevents the image from remaining pure hallucination, giving an anchor in a more natural sort of beauty. I love this image because it belies the notion that psychedelia opens cracks in the mundane world to reveal deeper reality. Instead, the fractures in the oil sheen here seem to be openings out of the disconnected fantasy, revealing underneath the beauty of an everyday object. This is the best kind of nature photography, when a discerning eye, excellent composition and perfect technique combine to create an image with symbolic resonance in addition to graphic beauty.

After all these abstracts, how about a grand landscape? The Night Sky and Toroweap, by fellow New Mexican Adam Schallau, certainly fits the bill. Keep in mind that long exposures pick up light that would not be perceived by your eye. Reflected glow on the canyon, the reddening clouds, plus the lingering stars: you would not perceive the scene this way if you stood there in person. This is not Photoshop fakery, but rather an artistic vision realized through the idiosyncrasies of the camera sensor. The long exposure compresses time into a portrait of night fleeing the rising dawn. (It brings to my mind the not-quite-apt lines from Millay describing an offended moon: “…Her scattered looks that trouble all the sky,/Her rapid footsteps running down the West…”)

Want some cheaper thrills? How about a frighteningly massive storm cell over Glasgow, Montana?

Winter’s coming on, and winter landscape photography brings unique problems. The best advice I’ve scene in this regard is 8 Winter Photography Tips from Ron Niebrugge; as a working pro in Alaska, he ought to know. His suggestion to keep your car cold is excellent advice that I haven’t seen elsewhere. And take serious note of “Keep your tripod legs together in snow.” I killed my first tripod that way, though it was a cheapo, and I got this shot of snowy dawn in the Pecos Wilderness out of it.

Finally, DO NOT MISS OUT on Unknown Patagonia, a free 98-page e-book (yes, free! yes, 98 pages!) beautifully documenting the wilderness of southern Chile. These aren’t the same iconic shots you’ve already seen of Torres del Paine, but a deep look at the regions mountains, rivers, fauna, wildflowers and fall colors. I promise you’ve never seen anything quite like the marble caverns of Lago Carrera! Linde Waidhofer is offering this up to promote awareness of the area, and since she could easily and justifiably be charging for work of this quality, she’s putting her money where her mouth is. Take advantage!

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