Little did I know that this spectacular and calm sunset would usher in one of the wildest nights I’ve ever experienced. The reason why I now car camp with a Mountaineering tent is this: The day had been windy not uncommon in Canyon Country, first clue….I came back from an afternoon hike to find my test acting like a kite. It had blown away and somebody had hunted it down and roped it to the bumper of my truck. Everybody pretty much hunkered down no stoves or fires could be lit….until just after sunset. The wind stopped it became eerily still. It was one of the most amazing displays of light I have ever witnessed. It would change from gold to a red and blue just incredible. Because it was a late dinner everyone pretty much left their camps out and just went to bed. I threw my stuff in the truck and crashed hard. At some point the wind hit like a hurricane. I spent the night howling at the wind, daring it to blow faster. I learned quickly that i had to stay at the edge of the tent. If I didn’t the wind would get under the tent and lift me in the air. It was like a roller coaster for most of the night. My poor little dome tent held but the fiberglass poles were shredded. They would buckle and slap me in the head painfully. As soon as day broke everyone bailed. I figured it would be a good time to get a few hours sleep before heading over the Rockies to Denver. It’s a long drive and if the weather is bad you want to be firing on all cylinders, not sleep deprived as I was. When I did get up it was devastation. The debris field from the camp ground was amazing. Everyone’s stuff had blown away or was torn away. I spent a few hours helping to clean up. The wind was so strong that it sent something into my passenger side window and shattered it. It was going to be a cold drive, at least I’d be awake! Anything in the campground that was a structure was gone, bathrooms had no roofing, the large solar panels shattered. I saw more than 1 Tractor Trailer blown over on the Freeway. Now that’s a powerful storm. I was really happy my little Kelty tent stayed together. But I would never assume that car camping meant anything less that proper gear.
*Photographer’s Post Workshop Review*
I had the pleasure of being one of the first to take advantage of Lewis Kemper’s Digital House Calls. These are 1 on 1 computer to computer at your desk lessons in Photoshop, PhotomatixPro and Lightroom. As a die hard Photoshop guy my Lightroom skills needed some tuning. Little did I know just how invaluable the session would be. I can do more in less time and I’m much better organized. I could stop the lesson to take notes, or clarify something and the lesson was pinpointed to what I needed to go over. I’m already planning my next class in PhotomatixPro. Lewis is one of Canon’s Explorer’s of Light and Contributing Editor for Outdoor Photographer. A Master Photographer he worked for the Ansel Adams Gallery in 1978.
Shot on Velvia Film. A good example of previsualizing the shot. I knew that a long exposure and shooting Velvia in shadow would create a blue color shift in the film. This is exactly the result I wanted. The blue color would create a feeling of clean water, which was the topic of the article I was assigned to shoot.
I arrived to the Badlands late in the day. Usually I like to secure a camping spot, set up and the scout, by early afternoon. Today I was running way off schedule. I had been driving into the wind all across I-90. If I had it bad in my Truck the motorcyclists had it much worse. They were actually leaning to one side as the rode.
I hit a rest area and saw a 20 year old kid head in hands. He approached and asked if I had a cell phone. He was in the service, and in a spot of trouble. His truck was broken down and he was a day late for deployment. You really don’t want to miss that. This kid was in a real bind. I handed over my cell and it took him a half hour to track down AAA and someone in his command.
We talked as we waited for the Tow Truck. Being on the road is like that. Hours of isolation punctuated by conversations with complete strangers. Maybe its the road. I don’t know but you tend to open up to people a little more. He was a good kid earnest and had stayed a little longer than he should have with his girlfriend. If he drove straight through he’d still make it to the base in time to ship out for Iraq. Only his borrowed truck didn’t stand up to continuous drive. This could open him up to a whole host disciplinary action, from demotion to transfer, but what the kid really cared about is that his buddies would go off to war and he wouldn’t be at there.
That’s a stand up guy, more worried about letting his buddies down than the fact that his ass was in a sling. The sun was dropping, when the tow truck showed. We were in the middle of no where. I thanked him for his service and wished him good luck in catching up to his unit….and was off.
I sped to the park hoping to still make sunset. I just got into the park when I saw this scene. The Badlands seemed to glow from the heat of the day. I knew this was my shot. Pulled over got on top of my truck with my tripod and made the panoramic.
The Badlands seemed to go on forever.
Roadblocks and tearing them down.
Words that abound in Photography 2.0 like Sharing, Transparency, and Conversation were not always of value. Daily Topic is a collaborative effort and I want to thank everyone who has joined the conversation. I have learned every day reading the posts and I hope you have too.
If you’ve followed photographers for any length of time you’ve no doubt heard of +Chase Jarvis and the story of hostility he was met with as a young photographer in Seattle as he started sharing perceived “trade secrets.”
I agree, while Chase and I traveled in different photographic circles in Seattle, I was shooting primarily Black and White film, I hit some of those barriers, also. Fresh out of school and new to Seattle I was ready to move into the next phase of my photographic endeavors. Galleries hung up on me. We don’t show “Nature Photography”. Stock Agencies wanted portfolio’s of 5000 images, the front desk person at Tony Stone actually laughed at me when I walked in. My first boss told me I should take a career and an insurance salesman, not really an option as I am organizationally challenged. And most distressingly at my first ASMP meeting I was told Seattle was full up and I would do much better to get back in my car and move on down to Portland. Dejected I walked out of that meeting and never went back. “Should I move to Portland?” I thought. I didn’t much like the idea of being run out of town.
So I regrouped and asked myself one simple question who is best served by the work that I do? It was actually an easy answer. Conservation groups. Clean water, Wolf reintroduction, Park Space, Hiking trails….these groups needed photographers and photography. I worked my way up….Seattle area groups, Washington State, Pacific Northwest, National, and finally International. Early on my expenses were paid (which was considerable in the film days), I was building a body of work, and I was getting published. When REI rang me up to help because a fast developing suburb of Seattle was about to bowl over some valuable park space, I knew I was on the right path.
Find your path, don’t let obstacles deter you , and help others along the journey. It’s hard work but you can do it.
Lastly Photography serves a purpose.