Thanks for taking the time to review my blog over the past several years. I found sharing my images, and receiving your generous comments, to be as rewarding as capturing the photos. I have a new website which includes all of the content from this original blog. Please take the time to explore my new website chucklockettphotography.com and subscribe to the associated blog. I will no longer provide updates to the original blog.
Thanks again and happy shooting, Chuck
I passed this lane in northern Hillsborough County, Florida on numerous occasions without a second glance. Recently something caught my photographic eye. My first stop occurred in late morning on a clear day – the light contrast providing limited photographic options. I envisioned and waited for a foggy morning with side lighting for a more dramatic effect. I love the warmth of tree trunks caused by the rising sun juxtaposed to the coolness of the dissipating fog.
This image is not quite what I imagined, but the first of what will be multiple attempts. Sometimes the journey is as important as the destination.
Redington Shores is on one of the Florida’s Gulf Coast barrier islands that run from Clearwater Beach to St Pete Beach. The prominent feature is the Long Pier, a privately owned fishing pier that juts 1200 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. This part of Florida is known for incredible sunsets, however, clear or overcast skies at the end of the day prevented anything of photographic interest on this trip. Instead, the sunrises were unusually good for this west-facing beach.
As access to the pier was limited until well after sunrise, I focused on photographing the pier from beach level and from under the pier itself.
At one point, as beach fisherman arrived to net bait fish, severe competition arose between several species of shore birds for the scraps. In one case, I’m convinced the Great Blue Heron was as much interested in posing for a photo as in obtaining breakfast.
Several days provided great sunrise color. These images were all about timing of cloud color and shape, beach reflections, and incoming and receding wave shapes.
As mentioned in my 7/30/2015 post, my passion for photographing our national parks grew from Acadia National Park in Maine – a location that has regularly drawn me back since the early 1980s. During part of my most recent visit, I participated in a Green Mountain Photographic Workshop conducted by Kurt Budliger and Joe Rossbach. For the remainder, my wife and I explored Acadia on our own. Acadia provides so much varied beauty – on each visit, I always find something new to accompany the familiar. My most recent trip proved to be no exception.
I had not photographed the Duck Brook area in the past, but photographed on three days of this trip – twice on my own and once with the workshop. Each occasion provided very different and challenging weather conditions, from rain/mist to overcast to clear and sunny. The area is a microcosm of much of Acadia – with a beautiful stream running under a classic stone bridge, beaver ponds and marshes, open granite punctuated by lichens and blueberry bushes, and great fall color.
I photographed from the west side of Beech Mountain on my previous trip, but the conditions were too clear and didn’t provide for the image I imagined. After spending a week photographing at Acadia, the best sunset conditions came on our last evening and proved to be very different from my previous visit. After a quick 20-minute hike, my wife and I set up on one of the granite outcrops above the trail. The wind was blowing, the temperature was cold, and the photographic conditions were incredible. The brisk wind blew heavy broken clouds from north to south as the sun set behind Mansell Mountain to the west. To the north, the clouds reflected the setting sun over Long Pond with a beam occasionally spotlighting the trees in fall color below.
To the south, a granite outcropping with evergreen trees and blueberry bushes provided foreground against the shadowed Mansell Mountain the west with rose tinted clouds pushing rapidly toward Blue Hill Bay in the distance. I shot until the light faded – some to the north, some to the south – basically shifting my view as the clouds changed shape and the color shifted.
All I can say is nature provided so much more than imagined!
“The essential quality of a photograph is the emotional impact that it carries, which is a measure of the author’s success in translating into photographic terms his own emotional response to the subject.” Eliot Porter
“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” Ansel Adams
“I’d rather be lucky than good.” Lefty Gomez
In early May 2015, I spent several days photographing at Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California. Although the area received a fraction of the typical snowfall this year, my visit was a bit too early. Many of lakes and ponds were still frozen, the terrain had an unsightly patchy mix of open ground and dirty late spring snow, and the clouds never really cleared over the mountains. I don’t believe I saw the top of Mt Lassen at any point during the visit. What this means – a challenging opportunity to push the limits of photographic creativity – a challenging opportunity to view the landscape differently. As a landscape photographer, you adapt to the conditions nature provides. These conditions forced me to think small, isolating parts of the landscape instead of focusing on the grand scale, and using cloudy conditions to my advantage.
The first image captured sunset clouds blowing over Brokeoff Mountain – the second highest peak in Lassen and the remains of Mt Tehama, an 11,000’ volcano that dominated the landscape 300,000 years ago. My initial focus was on Mt Lassen, but cloud cover and weak light shifted my interest to Brokeoff Mountain. I can’t guess the speed, but the winds were obviously blowing hard over the top of the mountain. With the sunset color and the location, you can almost imagine a volcanic eruption.
The second image was captured late morning in the Butte Lake area at the northeast side of the park – taken from west of the Cinder Cone. This is the best view I had of Mt Lassen – made more interesting by the stormy day and view from the Painted Dunes.
Neither Manzanita nor Reflection Lakes had ice, so I hoped for a decent sunrise on the last morning of my visit. The sunrise light was weak and from a poor angle for a good reflection of Mt Lassen in one of the lakes. I found, instead, the final image from Manzanita Lake. The water was calm enough for a good reflection of the puffy clouds. The log anchors the foreground and provides a leading line to the mid-ground mists and flock of ducks. Not exactly the Mt Lassen reflection I envisioned, but one I’m happy with nonetheless.
I’m currently planning for a photography trip to Acadia National Park – a location I seem to visit about every five years. Part of my photo trip planning consists of reviewing photographs from previous visits, and in the case of Acadia, results in some reflection and introspection. My passion for photographing our national parks came from Acadia. I worked for the national park service as a Youth Conservation Corps crew leader during the summer of 1980. Over several months, I hiked, biked, and photographed what seemed like every nook and cranny of this beautiful park.
Each time I visit, I’m reminded of the specialness of this park to me. Some of this specialness comes from a sense – although I’ll never acknowledge – of lost youth. I spent an incredible summer in Acadia working with a great group of park staff and high school students. We worked, we learned, and mostly we appreciated being outdoors in this incredible location. Some of the specialness comes from my early photography. I still remember the feeling of opening the yellow Kodak slide box and finding an image I thought was pretty good. Some of my earliest “decent” photographs, using a Canon FTb, mostly a 50mm lens, and lots of Kodachrome 25 and 64, came from these wanderings through Acadia. Finally, the specialness comes from the park itself. There is so much varied beauty – packed into a relatively small and accessible space – that I always find something new to accompany the familiar.
The images in this post are from the summer of 1980.
During a recent visit to photograph redwoods in northern California, I hoped for the right light conditions to photograph sunsets along the coast. Unfortunately, the marine layer with heavy cloud cover dominated the weather and none of the great west coast sunsets developed. On this particular afternoon, I drove to the Pebble Beach area, just north of Crescent City, hoping for the light and color to provide a decent image of the sea stacks and small islands just offshore. The setting sun instead provided a subtle cast to the eastern sky and receding waves on the beach. To me, the foreground water channels are the key element, providing the leading lines that draw the viewer into the image.
In Tampa’s spring, during late March into early April, I photograph irises for my wife. I’ve found several locations with consistent blooms where I return each year. Typically, as the light becomes mixed later in the morning, I’ll shift to a macro lens in search of the insects, amphibians, and reptiles found in the marshy areas where the irises tend to thrive. My surprise this particular morning at Hillsborough River State Park was this small Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) hanging from an iris stalk – perhaps for no other reason than enjoyment of the experience.
The importance of visualization in photography cannot be overstated, nor should it be overthought. The idea of imagining (or visualizing) an image before triggering the shutter seems to be an essential – and intuitive – element of a photographer’s creative process. The more difficult challenge is finding the situation that brings the necessary elements together (subject, location, conditions – light, season, weather), allowing the vision to be realized.
I had this image in mind for several days and several hundred miles before I was able to execute. During a recent trip to photograph redwoods in northern California, I started noticing poppies along the road somewhere south of Trinidad, initially in small groups well off the coast. I imagined a thick patch of the flowers on the edge of a bluff that provided an unobstructed view from flower to coast. I spent the next several days searching for the right situation – flowers in the right location, mid-morning or mid-afternoon light, and clear conditions devoid of coastal fog and haze. Just north of Elk, a section of road runs above a steep drop to the Pacific – and there was the patch of poppies I imagined. The only element missing from my vision was blue sky…maybe the next time!