Looking back at a few shots from Australia in February I remembered I never got around to posting the sunset from Wyadup Rocks. Now; this really was an extraordinary afternoon and sunset at the best location I reckon on the Southwest coast of Western Australia. Waves like we had never experienced before and some pretty clouds came out to play as well and to top it off, Mother Nature lit up the sky.
It was such an incredible experience and so beautiful that all my images are sorely lacking. There’s just no way to capture this as we experienced it. The waves, the light, the sun, the sound, the smell, the feeling, the smiles. Cannot capture it. Not for lack of trying; I shot plenty but there just isn’t one image which is just right. Only the memory of the experience is just right. There is about 3-4 contenders from the sunset, shot in between the rocks and I can’t get any of them to look quite right and the composition is not quite right either. Good processing ideas much appreciated as I’ll have another whack at developing these in a few months or so when my new website (bet ya never get tired off hearing about it) goes online.
Here’s one of 3-4 final contenders, pretty much straight from Lightroom:
Posted in Australia, Panorama, Photo, Photography, Travel
Tagged beach, coast, landscape, seascape, sunset, western australia, wyadup rocks
It is 1.30 am and I find myself in Moab, Utah. And it is probably a bad time for blogging but sleep escapes me tonight. I went to bed at 00.15am and then proceeded to have a strange dream and woke up instantly. So here I am; Wide Awake in America. I am a little tired of sleeping in strange motel beds, but the landscapes here are stunningly magical. Every day as I drive through the Southwest I am continually surprised by how beautiful the land here is.
Earlier today I had a bit of a blissful being in the wild moment. Going by directions received by fellow photographers I found the trailhead to Mule Canyon in Utah, the trail leading to House on Fire anasazi ruins. A location I really wanted to visit. I hiked the mile and a half along the wash in brilliant sunshine and arrived at the ruins with plenty of time to shoot them while they are still in the shade. I was somewhat ecstatic that I have found them. They must be in the shade for the ‘fire’ effect caused by reflected sunlight onto the rock above the ruins. The effect is quite simply surreal and really spectacular when photographed at just the right angle to catch the reflections. I shot every conceivable angle and then sat on a rock worshipping the sun for an hour. Just me and not a soul around me and not a sound. Being there. In the moment. In nature. Truly content not wanting to move.
Later I arrived in Moab, Utah and checked into my hotel room. I drove to Arches National Park to shoot the sunset. There is a sand storm blowing but it is still nicely warm. Just as the light show is about to happen Mother Nature drops a large cloud in front of the sun, but the clouds are still great. 17mm wideangle pointed almost straight up with just some gorgeous red rocks in the foreground and I have my shot. I steer my black spaceship back to base.
It has been one of those days. Days on the road. From magical moments in America’s nature to waking up in a motel bed, an inner as much as an outer journey. That sums up the present life of this travelling photographer. An image that sums it up? Well, since I am saving the hero shots for my new website, here is what I really love about this US road trip. Simply driving down a back road in gorgeous Navajo Country, Arizona and shooting a dramatic cloudscape at sunset with a storm approaching over the red soil. A bit of magic for just a few minutes, what this is all about. (There is a stitched version of this that will be the final version, this is is a quick preview).
Posted in Arizona, Panorama, Photo, Photography, Travel, USA
Tagged cloud, cloudscape, navajo, storm, stormscape, sunset
The Southern part of Arizona is home to the Sonoran desert and the famous Saguaro cactus. These huge grandfathers of the desert are quite impressive, some of them standing more than 10 meters tall age more than 100 years. For me these are a symbol of the southwest USA, something burned into my memory as a child watching countless Western movies. In Arizona the Saguaros are protected by state law, it is actually illegal to harm them in any way.
The real trick for me as with the Joshua Trees is finding a few that I can isolate in a composition with a nice background. Nature is messy. Takes a lot of walking, fortunately I enjoy hiking. Just be very careful not to walk into these things, them needles are sharp! I walked into a low one as I was looking at clouds. Aw! And it is a cliché shot to shoot them silhouetted against the sunset, but it looks good! Here’s one from a sunset in the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. This impressive cactus is at least 8 meters tall.
There is not much to shooting an image like this. Took hours to find the composition though. Then I sat down with a book and enjoyed the tranquility waiting for Mother Nature to turn on the light show. That she did! Your only worry is blowing out the red channel, be careful and underexpose about 2 stops. And don’t walk into these things!
I am presently in New Mexico, state of the Wide Open Spaces and on my way to White Sands desert. More to come.
This afternoon was magical and probably the highlight of our whole trip. The problem is the experience was so great and the light so awesome that not one of my images come close to capturing the real thing. Actually my friend Signe shot the best sunset shot of the day on her compact camera, just a perfect composition with brilliant timing. And here’s me with equipment worth 50 times as much getting my ass kicked. It’s never the camera, it’s the photographer! I still have a few sunsets shot that I am working on and will post sometime soon if I ever get those raw files the way I want them (I wish you could change composition in Lightroom, how cool would that be! A slider to move left and right!). For now here is one of my very last shots at dusk. Not entirely happy with the composition but it will have to do because I can’t very well re-shoot this now. It is a single 17mm shot cropped, let me know if you think this works:
As I wrote in my previous post we are leaving Thailand setting forth on new adventures. Australia, as always, calls me. Me and a dear friend of mine will touch down in Perth Sunday 31st of January. Plan is to be in Perth for a little bit, meet some of the Perth photogs, and then we will head South on a big South WA road trip hitting all those great spots down the coast and round the Southern part all the way to Esperance. Mission is: beach and coast everyday! Really in need of some coastline after Chiang Mai and landscapes to shoot!
Now I ask all my dear Australian friends for a bit of help:
- Great locations and beaches to visit going south from Perth all the way down and round the coastline. Recommendations?
- Accommodation along the way. Recommendations and help much appreciated.
Feel free to comment or email me at mail(a)flemmingbojensen.com – thanks so much peeps, very much appreciated!
Look forward to catching up with some of you and exploring the South WA. Later we shall hit Sydney as well, Sydneysiders be warned!
Since this is still a photo blog, here’s a Cable Beach, Broome, Australia cloudscape from last year, ahhhhh Australia Australia we love ya:
I learned many things during our Laos trip and one of them was to really appreciate gorgeous mountains. As every reader knows by now I tend to go on (and on) about wide open dimensionless desolate flat spaces. But driving around the incredible gorgeous mountains of East Laos blew my mind. Everywhere, absolutely everywhere my eyes darted, majestic mountainscapes were present. Another added bonus of mountains and the air in these altitudes were the incredibly blue sky and simply stunning cloudscapes masterly painted onto the big big sky.
The mountains pose a challenge though, finding somewhere to shoot! Driving on a small path in a 4WD, most of the time there are bushes, trees and all sorts of stuff in front. To get a clear shot requires testing gravity or towing a really tall ladder! Or just the patience to wait for a spot to pull over where the view is unimpeded. One afternoon as the sun was low and setting we were treated to some ethereal rays of lights shining through the clouds and I created this image:
This is just a single image slightly cropped. There was not always time to setup tripod and shoot stitched panos etc. The important lesson here is take what you can get. I have warmed the colours some, in the original it has a more cold cast to it but I feel perfectly fine about altering the look of a scene like this. I am attempting to create art, this is not a documentary nor photojournalism. I was able to capture the dynamic range in one raw file and then worked the image in Lightroom and Photoshop to bring out the deep in shade foreground slight and warm the colours. What do you think of the result?
Clichéd title. Probably even used it before. No matter! My writing will not make me rich and famous anyway, might as well recycle my own clichés! Anyway to become a cliché it has to be extremely good. Or popular. Wish I could become a cliché!
This particular Field of Dreams is a rice field in the mountains of East Laos, driving towards the village of Nonghat close to the Vietnam border. After one day in the capital Vientiane – awful touristy place, more on that later, whoever rebuilt this city ruined it – we flew to the remote town of Phonsavan and met our car, driver and guide. We drive up the mountains on curvy small roads snaking their way through gorgeous landscapes and charming villages with nothing but wooden huts, smiling villagers and simple country living. I never want to leave. As the sun starts setting and golden hour is upon us we start scouting for a nice location. Being me I want a big wide open space, not easy to find in mountains. But suddenly this beautiful flat dry brown rice field appears as if someone heard my request. Perfect timing, perfect location. Perfect colours as the dry orange rice crops really pick up the colour of the setting sun. Perfect moment that I captured this way:
You are not really supposed to walk off road or off path. Laos is still home to so many unexploded bombs dropped by USA during the Vietnam war. US Airforce used Laos as a garbage bin, you don’t want to land with bombs on your plane so if the pilots had any leftovers returning from raids in Vietnam, it was dumped unexploded on Laos before returning to base. Thanks USA! So any step off track could be your last. Here, it is a rice field though so plenty of footsteps before me and I was careful to only walk on the paths.
This is a stitched panorama of 7 or 8 images, developed in Lightroom and stitched in PTgui. Images like these are easy. Nature is the artist. I merely composed, shot stitched, colour balanced and also painted a bit with light to enhance the hut. But Mother Nature is the artist here, love her to bits!
Field of Dreams in Laos was truly beautiful. Stay tuned for the sequels, Solitary Tree in Laos and Outback Road in Laos. I warned you I am a cliché!