Tag Archives: wide open space

Wide Open Space in the Valley of Death

W i d e   O p e n   S p a c e s

It is surely the most used phrase in my writings. Many words and places come to me in a vain effort to describe these. Endless Entity. Dimensionless Deserts. The gramadulas of Namibia, unbeaten King of all wide open spaces. The outback of Australia. Plains of New Mexico. Into the nothing.

I still search for adequate words to describe what happens to me in these magical places of the world. It goes beyond loving exploring these as photographic locations. I experience a deep emotional over-reaction to any large remote and desolate wide open space. Perhaps it simply reminds me of my home planet. The unrestrained dimensionless spaces takes my breath away. With no dimensions, no borders nor constraints of my vision, it is close to ultimate freedom and escapism. I look to books like Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars) from French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for a wonderful description of this particular feeling and state of mind.

Death Valley in USA, hottest place on Earth and one of my favourite American locations. It was my home for 6 days and I have only scratched the surface of this enormous valley, I must return. On my first day I was rewarded with exceptional dusk light and I am currently toying with several of the images, searching for the perfect image, crop and post processing. Here is a work in progress of Badwater salt flats which in this very late dusk light turns into an otherworldly magical place. I am still deciding on the crop and the variations of this image, the use of black space is of course Ansel inspired.

death valley-blog

Creating a good image of a wide open space is a challenge. You are shooting ‘nothing’ but must make ‘nothing’ look beautiful, moving, disturbing and interesting somehow. You must also convey just how wide open the space is. You also as always need some sort of compositional anchor in the image and you are highly dependent on Mother Nature’s clouds and light. I get it right once in a blue moon but learn from every attempt.

Mother Nature has brought me home. Welcome to my world. Perhaps that’s a way to describe what I experience in these places. I shall keep exploring them, creating images and attempting to describe them.

PS. Please do not tell Wide Open Spaces that I am also having a love affair with Ocean.

Outback Laos

Quick, have a look at this image, do not look at my post title. Where would you guess this image was captured? Oh bugger, I put the country in the image title as well. But, would you ever guess this was Laos and not outback Australia or Namibia? Also reminds me of some images from Chile I have seen.

Driving around the town of Phonsavan in Laos for about half an hour we suddenly find us in this amazing arid area completely covered in deep orange coloured dust. I mean covered. Every hut was orange, every tree was orange. The clouds were magnificent and it all added up to a classic (cliché?) me shot – outback dusty road, this time in Laos! I will do a book on Wide Open Spaces someday when I have enough material, I cannot get enough of these dimensionless magic open spaces!

IMG_8125 Panorama -blog

This image is 7 or 8 images stitched in PTgui. Composition is extremely important to me and I sometimes struggle with it in stitched panoramas. Simply because one cannot see the end result in the viewfinder. But here I feel I came reasonably close to achieving that envisioned. I want a composition where the road runs into infinity, where the viewpoint is low, where all leading lines start at the corners and pull you into the image, where the sky itself is also leading lines pulling you into the magic (getting carried away here). Only thing I am unhappy with is the lower right corner, that curved line is from stitching with a very wide view. Should be straighter. I always shoot a single image 17mm wide angle shot as well in case I do not like my stitched composition. I have often thrown away the stitch and gone for the single image as composition is king for me. There’s a big difference between a good photo and a detailed photo. Stitch may have more details, but it may not be the better image.

If possible, I always have to get myself a road / driving shot. It says movement to me, travel, new opportunities, new horizon. This orange dusty outback road in Laos is already one of my favourite road to infinity images!

A book on My Wide Open Spaces – would you be interested?