My Twist On Icons

In short, today’s post is a brief interpretation of icons. Our brief road-trip to Wyoming and Montana collided with the peak travel season. There’s no irony here, I’m a teacher and most of my adventures overlap with this peak. I’m off, my students are off, the weather is moderate and we all want to get away at the same time. So, as I’ve shared previously, we hitched the pop-up (mobile photo-lab) to the Jeep and raced west for 1500 miles. Our campsite bisected the road between the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, and we were prepped for some amazing photographic opportunities. 
I made my list of must see icons and pursued these with predefined goals. I’ve written about this trap in the past (check here & here), and have become better at shaking off the disappointment and moving on. We saw the icons, but light wasn’t right, there were too many people, or we were at the right place at the wrong time. 
So what!... rather than sulking about these lost opportunities, I embraced the unexpected and dreamed up new ways of capturing tired and over-photographed subjects.

Image #1 (top): Barn on Mormon Row. Made famous by Ansel Adams, this may be on of the most photographed barns on the planet. Because there were no clouds to produce dramatic light, I chose a fisheye lens to create the drama. Using a 15mm fisheye on my Canon 5D mkII, I stabilized the gear at ground level with a tripod. I then used a remote trigger to fire a flash to the left of the camera. The flash added a bit of light to tired old wood that make the walls of the barn.
Image #2: Bubbling Pools. Both Tamy and I were intrigued by the unique geology that defines Yellowstone National Park. We both agreed that we could spend at least three days hiking throughout the geyser basin. The geothermal activity creates a moody atmosphere that is ideal for landscape photography. In the second image of this post I decided to isolate a single geothermal pool. It was nearly 4:00 pm, and the light was very contrasty. My goal was to shoot a long exposure in order to smooth the droplets of water that boiled up to the surface. To do this, I place a variable neutral density filter on my 50mm lens, and put the camera on a tripod. I used a cable release to make a ten-second exposure that produced the etherial image pictured above.
Image #3: What the Grass Sees. How many more incredible images of male elk with a giant rack do we all need to see? Like the deer in Minnesota, Elk are everywhere throughout Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Rather than shooting this icon in the same way, I got low... I got close... I saw something different. Canon 7D + 300 f2.8IS L

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