Creative Roots

This new year is marked with an attempt to return to my creative roots. Last year there were many events and signs urging me to review the direction of my photography. I began to realize that over the years I gradually lost touch with my creative side. I was making better images as time went on, but I wasn’t growing creatively. Without actually realizing it, I was following a safe mainstream path and not pushing myself.

Over the past year I began to go through my files looking for images which could be used to illustrate an idea I was forming.  The images appearing in this post represent the beginning of  a project called Poles of Light. In this project I am trying to create images which reflects a character of light present in subject. Since I don’t express myself very well verbally, it’s difficult for me to describe in words exactly what I’m trying to convey. Hopefully I will be able to elaborate on this theme as the project matures. However, for now I will let the images do the talking for me.

White Sands National Monument New Mexico, creative rootsPicnic Shelters, White Sands New Mexico #57053r

Borrego Badlands from Font's Point, Creative RootsBorrego Badlands California  #56776r

Corona Arch, Creative RootsCorona Arch, Utah #40907r

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, creative rootsBisti Badlands, New Mexico #57344r

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Photo Highlights 2016

Photo Highlights 2016

Another year come and gone already, it seems like just yesterday I was writing about the 2015 Photo Highlights. For me, like many others, 2016 had some great highlights that were overshadowed by sadness and uncertainty. So many creative and influential people had passed this year, famous public figures I admired and close family members. It often made me pause and wonder.

On the creative side, 2016 was a year that saw me finally visit and photograph several locations that have been on my list for many years. New Mexico and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to name a few. Perhaps even more important were a number of events and realizations that had me look back into the roots of my art and photography, resulting in a growing awareness of the direction my photography should take. Several of the images shown below represent the beginnings of this effort.

So without further ado let’s look at some of the Photo Highlights of 2016, and please feel free to vote or comment on your favorites!

Borrego Badlands, California, Photo Highlights 2016Borrego Badlands Cloud  #56801r

My first major trip of the year was a return to the Desert Southwest. Beginning in Anza Borrego Desert State Park of California I met up with my good friend Cyril Albrecht, visiting from Belgium. Although we both had different itineraries we were able to photograph together in a couple of locations, Fonts Point overlooking the Borrego Badlands was one of them. During one evening while waiting for the light I noticed this wonderful cloud formation developing in the opposite direction. I loved the abstract graphic qualities and how the round softness of the cloud contrasted with the harsh desert environment below.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico Photo Highlights 2016White Sands National Monument #57148

White Sands National Monument in New Mexico was one of the new locations I visited this year. Sand dunes are always fun to photograph, and the white gypsum dunes in the monument added an extra level excitement to my visit. The area is wide open for roaming and exploration. Due to the amount of tracks in the sand created by visitors, it was necessary to hike further out for pristine conditions. Although the area is fairly small it is extremely easy to become disoriented and lose the path back to the trailhead. This image is definitely one of my favorites that I brought back. The cool tones, layers, angles, and ripples in the sand created a pleasing composition.

Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, Photo Highlights 2016Bisti Badlands New Mexico  #57428r

Another new location was the fabled Bisit/De-Na-Zen Wilderness, or simple Bisti Badlands, of northern New Mexico. Badlands and hoodoos are among my favorite subjects to photograph, and Bisti contains some of the best examples of these whimsical eroded rocks. I stayed there for three days and managed to just scratch the surface of creative possibilities. On the second evening I was treated to some of the most dramatic light I’ve seen in years. On that evening, after finishing photographing my prime subjects I hurriedly scrambled around to locate more compositions. This nearby hoodoo exemplified the oddities of Bisti, and post-processing the image to reflect the harsh alien-like environment added to this feeling.

Marching Men Arches National Park, Photo Highlights 2016Arches National Park  #57869

This image from Arches National Park was made in the Klondike Bluffs area. Although I’ve been to Arches several times before, this remote section of the park was new to me. Klondike Bluffs offers several dramatic arches and lots of red rock pinnacles, in addition to lots of solitude. While the main park attractions were swarming with visitors I enjoyed sharing this beautiful area with just a handful of people. Once again, some wonderful clouds glowing in evening light added to the drama, here balancing the composition with red sandstone pinnacles.

North Gardner Mountain, North Cascades, Photo Highlights 2016North Gardner Mountain, North Cascades Washington  #58051

Back home in the North Cascades, my first backpacking trip of the year yielded this image of an approaching storm over Gardner Mountain. A grueling hike, post-holing through snow and downed trees, led to the summit of Driveway Butte. Although my camp near the top had wonderful vistas, it didn’t really offer the compositions I had hoped for. However, as day broke my fortunes changed as the leading edge of  the storm glowed with light and mirrored the angles of the mountain ridges. I made several photos of this event before sitting down to enjoy the show.

Watkins Glen New York, Photo Highlights 2016Watkins Glen State Park New York  #58452

September marked the beginning of a long anticipated trip with my wife Coleen to New England and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The first new location on this trip was a brief stop at Watkins Glen State Park in New York. Situated in the Finger Lakes region, the main attraction in Watkins Glen is a beautifully sculpted narrow gorge. Only about a mile long with moderate elevation gain, the trail passes numerous pools, waterfalls, and hanging gardens. One of the highlights is this view framed by a stone bridge. Unfortunately, I only had a short morning to explore the photographic possibilities of this gem. Oh well, there is always next time.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia, Photo Highlights 2016Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia  #58903

Nova Scotia was one of the highlights of the trip for me. For many years I’ve wanted to visit and photograph the Atlantic Provinces. The colorful fishing villages and seascapes have a powerful attraction for me. One location was high on my must see list. Peggy’s Cove, is arguably one of the most photographed and visited spots in all of Canada. After spending several days in remote and quiet Cape Bretton Highlands National Park, we were unsettled to be confronted by endless tour busses and crowds of people swarming everywhere! While waiting for evening light and the crowds to thin, we spent a relaxing day picnicking and exploring the nearby granite shoreline.

Photographing sunset at the lighthouse was a bit disappointing due to the lack of clouds. The local weather forecast had predicted rain the next morning adding to our frustration. With a chance the storm may arrive after sunrise we spent an uncomfortable night truck-camping in the parking lot near the lighthouse. The next morning clouds began to move in just at sunrise. Perfect conditions for those extremely rare light shows that starts great and continues to improve over time. I ended up making many images before the clouds finally blocked the sun and everything went grey and rainy.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Photo Highlights 2016Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Maine  #59018

Next on our trip was Acadia National Park. The park, situated on Mount Desert Island, is said to be the most visited national Park east of the Mississippi. We had several instances of good light here, one of these being at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. Photographers can’t visit this park without making a photo of this iconic lighthouse. On this evening I was among a sea of tripods. Everyone crowded into a very small space on the edge of the rocks. One photographer told me that it was a low turnout, the previous evening had twice as many photographers!

Cobblestone beach Acadia National Park, Photo Highlights 2016Cobblestone Beach Acadia National Park  #59047

The next morning I planned to make some long exposures at a popular cobblestone beach in the park. Arriving before sunrise, there were several other photographers from the previous evening setup well above the waterline. I, however, wanted to get down to the water’s edge to create a smoky effect of water among the rocks. The wet bowling ball sized boulders were treacherous. Smooth and extremely slippery, I had to carefully plan every step, the effort was worth it though.

Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen, Photo Highlights 2016Onondaga Falls, Ricketts Glen, Pennsylvania  #59553

The last new location we photographed in 2016 was Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania. This park was only a little out of our way as we travelled back home, but it was worth the detour. I’ve seen many wonderful images come from this park, and like Watkins Glen it really needs time for exploring all the hidden gems in all seasons. The northeastern states were experiencing a drought, so the water flow through the glen was low during my visit. I didn’t mind since there still was an abundance of subject matter to work with. In the image above I utilized a long exposure to create a swirling pattern by the motions of the leaves.

With so many new images and locations added to our files in 2016 selecting the top ten was a very difficult task. There were many images from the SW and New England that I very much wanted to add. To see more from this past year please take a few minutes to check out the New Images Galleries. You can also search images by location or keyword.

Thank you so much for visiting this post, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite image and feedback!

Photo Highlights 2016

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Fine Art Prints Galleries

Fine Art Prints Galleries

Aspen grove in autumn Kananaskis Country Alberta Canada  #4874  Fine Art Prints Galleries

If you haven’t checked out our main website for a while now is the time. I’ve been working hard on making a few changes to improve the look, speed and ease of navigation. One of the first pages to be updated is Fine Art Prints. I’ve broken it down into a gallery of categories with each category opening into a slide show featuring large display images. As with most images on my site you can then click your desired photo to purchase.

Another feature I’ve added is a Fine Art Prints Information page where you can view information on how to purchase Fine Art Prints. Here you can also see the various print types, surfaces, prices, and detail on how to go about ordering. Many people feel it is difficult to visualize how prints will look displayed in a home setting, so as an aide I lead off the page with an image displayed in a typical room setting.

Finally, all the photos in the Fine Art prints galleries have been specially selected from among thousands of images in my library. These are some of my best selling images that are well suited for home office or hospitality decor.

Click Here to view all the images

Fine Art Prints Galleries

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New BW Photography Badlands North Dakota

New BW Photography Badlands North Dakota

Badlands North Dakota 52455bw New BW Photography Badlands North DakotaBadlands North Dakota #52455bw

For the past several days I’ve been working on some new bw photography images to add to my portfolio. In an attempt to push myself creatively I looked back over photos created last year and tried to select those that when converted to duotone would display an atmosphere of drama and mystery. This one from the North Dakota Badlands is one of the first and so far comes closest to the look and feel I’m trying to achieve. I’d appreciate it if you can send some feedback positive or negative, did I go too far or do I need to keep pushing further?

This image is available for purchasing as a fine art print and also for commercial licensing, just click here or on the image and then click Add to Cart to select your option.

Thanks, and please share if you like it!

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Rainy Season Creativity

Late fall and early winter here in the Pacific Northwest is a guaranteed gloom-fest. November is the rainiest month of the year and with the shortened daylight hours it’s a great time to begin rainy season creativity by reviewing the years work and selecting images that can be taken beyond standard processing. This morning I was surfing through some of my favorite creative photographers websites and the bug began to take hold.

The above image was made last August in Yellowstone National Park. I like the color version of this and several others made at the same time. However it’s one of those images that I keep coming back to with the feeling there may be more there that I can work with. Consider this black and white version a quick sketch, I may build on it and fill in the missing spaces or maybe just tweak it a bit. At any rate I’m looking forward to getting the creative juices flowing!

Great Fountain Geyser, Yellowstone National Park #49559bw Rainy Season Creativity

Great Fountain Geyser Yellowstone  49559bw

 

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Epson’s Exhibition Fiber Paper

Little Grand Canyon, San Rafael Swell, Utah

Today I finally had the opportunity to test out Epson’s Exhibition Fiber Paper on my 7890 printer. Since in the past I’ve mainly printed on premium luster surfaces I was excited to give this one a try. If you are familiar with black and white fiber based papers from the long lost era of darkroom printing you’ll notice a great similarity in the Epson paper. Exhibition Fiber has a very heavy paper stock and a soft lustrous surface reminiscent of the old silver gelatin papers.

On first look of a side by side comparison with a premium luster paper I noticed the Exhibition Fiber print really pops, with nice bright whites and deep rich blacks. I’m overall very impressed and this paper it will be my choice for most if not all my fine art prints sold to clients. I’m not a very technical person so to read a review by an expert check this post on Luminous Landscape by Mark Dubovoy.


The image posted here is the one I picked to test the paper, it’s muted tones crisp details and deep blacks seemed like it would bring out the best Exhibition Fiber has to offer, click here to go to the website page if you’d like to purchase a print and see for yourself the quality of this paper.


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End of Year Print Sale

We’ve just launched our Annual End of Year Fine Art Print Sale. From now until January 10, 2012 you can save 30% off any size signed print from any of our thousands of images in our archives! Browse through our galleries select the images you like then add them to the cart and at checkout enter the coupon code: colter06. Your final total will reflect the discount.


Prints are signed on the image and do not include matting or framing. This offer is valid until January 10, 2012 and is good only for retail fine art prints, the discount does not apply to commercial licensing personal use downloads or posters.


Don’t forget the Coupon Code: colter06

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Samish Bay Washington

Clayton Beach
The weather up here in the PNW has been unusually cold and wet for this time of year, so I had to postpone my Oregon coast trip until La Nina took a break. The other day however offered an hour or two of broken clouds in the morning so I took the opportunity to head down to one of my favorite coves on Samish Bay. In Larrabee State Park the Chuckanut Mountains come right down to the water and being composed of sandstone the rock is eroded into some fantastic shapes. Since the light wasn’t exactly spectacular it seemed like a good idea to have some fun and process the images in a less traditional manner.
Clayton Beach
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Bandon Beach Oregon

Bandon Beach Oregon

This morning I just finished captioning applying keywords and cataloging all the new images from the Canadian Rockies photo tour. So before I begin the next lengthy task of post-processing them all it seemed like a good opportunity to take a short break and work on something different.
The above image of the sea stacks at Bandon Beach Oregon is the latest in an effort to look back into my catalog and select images that can be reworked with more of a fine art look. This is an ongoing project and ultimately I’d like to have a large second catalog of images representing an alternative approach to my photography. I would love to hear your feedback so as to help develop this new style. So please feel free to comment or click the Like button below.
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