Thirteen Photographs Of Mostly Walls


The titles of the photographs can be accessed by holding your cursor over the images. Clicking on a thumbnail will produce an enlargement.

The locations:

  • 1   Green Door (Oatman, AZ)
  • 2   Ventana (Santa Fe, NM)
  • 3   Angelita (Oatman, AZ)
  • 4   Yucca (Presidio County, TX)
  • 5   Chilis (Oatman, AZ)
  • 6   Canyon Road (Santa Fe, NM)
  • 7   Cabana (Southampton, NY)
  • 8   Death (Death Valley Junction, CA)
  • 9   Kitchen Wall (Capitol Reef National Park, UT)
  • 10 Shuttered Forge (Batsto, NJ)
  • 11 White Wall (Western MD)
  • 12 Window Hens (Southern VT)
  • 13  Berkshire Barn (Western MA)

Reading Summer Streams

During the last four summers we vacationed in southern Utah, a place  more famous for massive canyon walls than trickling desert streams. But the two sometimes combine to make a hike in arid country far more refreshing than you might expect.

In Capitol Reef National Park we’ve followed stream beds for an entire day. In nearby Escalante,  Pine Creek is another place to do this. The creeks in canyon country are generally shallow and often flow across naked rock for miles. In some spots they pass through slickrock gorges that are so narrow that the trail essentially becomes the stream. Before venturing into any of these places, one needs to check the weather because sudden downpours can produce flash floods.

Surprisingly, even in mid summer the water in the streams is frigid. We’ve taken hikes in August where you’re either wet and shivering or baking in temperatures that approach 100 degrees. It all depends on whether or not you’re in the water. Get yourself wet and your teeth chatter. Hike back into the sun and you open the oven door.

Hiking Sulphur Creek in Capitol Reef involves so many stream crossings that you can’t keep track of them. After a half a mile or so, any hope of dry boots is squashed. The easiest thing to do is simply get in the stream and stay there. There are sandals designed for this.  There are also a number of waterfalls passing over rock chutes that require careful navigation. Because the canyon walls rise hundreds of feet in these places, you either find a way to climb through the pour-offs or turn around and go back. You have two choices for many of these hikes – either get wet or completely soaked.

Aside from enjoying the water, I always get out the camera. The images I’m looking for are in the cloistered places where the creek plunges into the shade of canyon walls. It’s here that I’ve found the most compelling reflections. When studying the way the water looks from a variety of angles, you sometimes find pockets of irresistible color. In the shade, reflections of rocks, leaves and sky become deeply saturated.

It’s been in these sequestered locations where I’ve found many of my favorite pictures.  It’s no coincidence that they’re also some of my favorite places.

       

Napeague Harbor Sequence – Petite Landscapes

This is is a sequence of four images from various points around the perimeter of Napeague Harbor.  There’s a number of ways to group these, but in this instance I’ve arranged them vertically to convey something of what you might find at your feet during a walk on the beach.  I like to think of these images as petite landscapes – photographs close to the observer, with most of the elements of the larger picture. Clicking on them will produce an enlargement.

For other sequences from Amagansett and elsewhere go to this link:

Hasselblad 903 SWC – Dune Photographs

This quartet of seemingly related pictures was actually culled from four separate trips to dune fields of the western United States. The images were shot with 120 negatives (or transparencies) and the camera used in each instance was the Hasselblad 903 SWC (Superwide) with its fixed 38mm Biogon Zeiss lens.

From top to bottom:

Antiphony (Little Sahara Recreation Area, Utah)
Counterpoint (Death Valley National Park, California)
Capriccio (Death Valley National Park, California)
Roundelay (Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon)

For a commentary about whether to use the ground glass back or the detachable viewfinder, go to this link:

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/hasselblad-903swc-rambling-thoughts/

Another commentary about the 903 can be found here:

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/bandon-or-hasselblad-903-swc/

To see more of my photographs taken with the Hasselblad 903 SWC click on these links:

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/winter-beaches-square-format-images/

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/category/viewpoints/square-format-hasselblad/

Keep in mind that colors and contrast of the images displayed at this website will be most accurate when viewed on a calibrated MAC monitor. This is most relevant to images with a full range of contrast such as the ones above.

East Hampton Photographs-Northwest Woods/Pond Variations

 




I’ve been photographing ponds and wetlands both here and in Massachusetts recently – new work with a common thread.  In a few days I’ll be posting images from a trip up to the Quabbin woods (in central MA) – along with new pieces from the Long Pond Greenbelt in Sag Harbor. The three images above are from home in East Hampton, specifically from the part of town known as Northwest – an area with a number of wetlands and kettle holes accessible by foot. In this group I kept the placement of the horizon the same for each image. This pond, on an overcast day in the Fall can take on the look of a tapestry – stitched, as it were, with Pitch Pine, Water Lily, Blueberry and Red Maple.

Sandstone Studies, Capitol Reef National Park

Six photographs taken while on a hike to Spring Canyon on August 30, 2010. The pieces were recorded consecutively – between 3:27 pm and 4:19 pm and were the only photographs I took during that 45 minutes.  Spring Canyon is a precipitous 30-mile long gorge north of the Fremont River accessible only by foot.

The images can be viewed in a carousel by clicking on one. You can also pull up any picture in the carousel by clicking on permalink.

Sequence Photographs Vol 2 – San Rafael Swell, Utah

Northeast of Capitol Reef National Park in southern Utah is a vast wild area– a complex of eroded sandstone landscapes known as the San Rafael Swell. For those impressed with numbers, the area occupied by the San Rafael (pronounced Rah-FELL) is approximately one million acres. By way of analogy, it’s about the same size as Long Island where I live– but unlike our Island, the Swell is not home to several million people. There are generally more canyons here than conversations, and you will sometimes encounter more rattlesnakes than visitors. Its seemingly endless array of stony washes, hoodoos, slickrock and isolated pools can be difficult to describe and sometimes hard to photograph with any justice. We’ve hiked and camped the Swell so often, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been there.

Anywhere else in the country the San Rafael would’ve been declared a National Park or Monument years ago. But in Utah (a state not lacking anything spectacular) the affairs of the Swell have fallen largely into the hands of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. There are several wilderness study areas under consideration, but the BLM (in case you haven’t heard) has had the occasional affair with mining, off-road vehicle interests and gas exploration. Currently, the Swell exists with both ongoing threats and a growing push to create a National Monument. For those motivated toward preservation, The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is the principle group trying to save the place. http://www.suwa.org/site/PageServer

This past summer, we made several day trips in from Hanksville or Green River. In the silence and heat that can transform a summer’s stroll on slickrock into something that’s really gotten your attention, the camera can be a playful device to bring to that awareness.

On these hikes it was random passing stuff that stopped me. The look of a rock or a stick — the  tread across sandstone. Textures and color — hidden corners of big places — the small things in a huge landscape.

In the canyons I collect details like I used to collect postage stamps when I was a kid. Back home I sort through the photographs and see how they look in groups. Once in awhile when sequencing pictures like this something comes together. I settle on an arrangement of three:

A Cottonwood leaf… polka dots raindrops on a rock… a dry image of lichens.

Sequence Photographs – Seaweed and Sand, Amagansett

I’ve been working on a project which involves grouping compatible images into sequences.  This began a few years ago with a series I called “Dune Studies” –seen here:

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/amagansetteast-hampton-dune-image-sequence/

Last summer while on vacation in Utah, the idea gained momentum.  We were taking hikes each day, often following streams in canyons. On these walks, I was photographing water reflections, rocks and lichens- all subjects that were easily found a few feet away.

At home, I began sorting through these pictures along with others shot on local beaches during similar walks. I found that if you assemble a group of three or four images in a vertical line, the results can suggest the movement of both time and space experienced during a walk.

Over the last few months I’ve put together 8 sequences of either three or four pictures each. I made two groups from last summer’s Utah trip- one of lichens and another of creeks. All the rest of the photographs were taken on beaches in East Hampton and Amagansett. In addition to those, I created a series of photographs made on various segments of the Paumanok Path (a 125 mile trail that winds across eastern Long Island). Two of my beach sequences (including the one on this page) are from Napeague Harbor at low tide. This harbor, especially in the vicinity of the Walking Dunes, has striking color and texture:

All of these sequences share characteristics—For one thing, they’re made up of individual photographs of what one might expect to encounter when hiking in a quiet place.  But with these pictures I don’t want to convey the larger landscape. This isn’t about distant horizons or dramatic skies. What matters here are the textures and colors of “local” things – subjects found while walking, often no more than ten feet away.

That’s the stepping-off point. Sequencing begins another process.

To do this, it seems to help if you view your project much as a painter might. You dab, so to speak, and you try things out. You play with line and texture. You move things around until it all starts to work.

If you pay attention to your groups you soon have something new. You’ve created a sequence of photographs that is asking to be viewed as a single unit. Its lines, colors, textures are now an integrated whole.

At times, the impressions generated from these sequences can be both refreshing and complex.

More sequences from the beach (and elsewhere) can be seen by clicking here:

https://johntodaro.wordpress.com/category/viewpoints/sequences-and-grouped-images/

In A Mist

The triptych of images below explores three variations on scenes shot in fog, falling snow or low contrast. In each instance, I’ve used short focal length telephoto lenses. This combination of lens and light can result, at times, in a beguiling compression of space.

Much like Beiderbecke’s piano mist, if you’ve succeeded at this, you’ve arrived at something that’s both simple and lyrical.

In the first piece, the lens of choice has been the very petite 90mm f2.8 Sonnar, a Zeiss optic which was made for the Contax G2 rangefinder. Much like it’s sister Leica, the G2 had superb balance and unsurpassed resolution. This 90mm lens is my favorite telephoto, and when it’s installed on its camera with its metal lens hood, it’s easy to imagine you’re handling a well-constructed musical instrument.

The second and third pieces were recorded with a Canon G10- a much-discussed digital camera that comes with its own virtues. Resembling a tiny Leica, the G10 allows you to capture, review and edit images with ease. Unexpectedly, I’ve found that it’s empowered me to move from one thought to another much in the same fashion as an improvising jazz musician.

Pears In Bloom
Grace Estate
             Stony Hill

Pears In Bloom, Grace Estate and Stony Hill are available as limited edition signed prints. The first print in the edition for Grace Estate is available for sale. The first prints for Pears in Bloom and Stony Hill are no longer available.

If you are interested in ordering or would like to set up an appointment to visit my studio in East Hampton, New York, email me at:

johntodaro1@verizon.net

To visit my website, go to:

http://johntodaro.com/

In a Mist may be heard here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_3m4bbsLdc