On The Palette’s Edge
My good friend Rodney Lough Jr, wilderness large format landscape photographer, and I were running a photography workshop in Grand Teton National Park in June of 2018. On one of the clear sunny days without much photographic potential in the Tetons, we decided to take our group to Yellowstone National Park to spend the day teaching some theory and focusing on more intimate close-up photography.
We arrived at the famous Grand Prismatic geyser past noon and instead of taking the more touristic observation trail around the geyser, we decided to hike up the hill so that we could see it from above. We stopped at one of the observation points on the way and spent some time talking about color theory, black and white photography, light, tones, and other important topics.
Despite all the important theory that we usually cover at our workshops, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over the years of doing professional photography is to always be ready to work with the conditions that are currently present in front of you and never discount any light as “bad light“. Most photographers typically avoid the harsh mid-day light and instead shoot only at sunrise/sunset times when the light is warm and soft. In reality, any light can be great if applied to the right subject and the right form. For example, mid-day is perfect for black and white photography due to its high contrast qualities.
While we were having this conversation with the group, I noticed that the clear sky slowly changed to partly cloudy sky, which softened the light and created interesting reflections on the geyser’s surface. The two dark trunks of dead trees added an interesting element to the composition. The surface kept changing colors from dark blue in the shadows to the bright orange in highlights. The entire scene reminded me of the artist’s palette as if someone was playfully mixing colors and tones to create their etude.
My theory proved itself this time, as many times before. I did my best to position my camera high above the trees that were slightly obstructing the view at the bottom and made a few exposures before the clouds were completely gone.
Camera: Arca Swiss RL3d Large Format
Lens: Rodenstock 180mm
Exposure: 1/125 Second
Digital: Phase One IQ180 (ISO35)
Limited Edition Prints
Hand signed and printed on Fuji Flex (museum archival paper)
Edition of 15
Photograph is shipped rolled. The print includes additional white borders to help with framing. This allows you to have it framed to your liking at your local frame shop.