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Seeing Red

Seeing Red, Chattanooga, TN 2009

Living in South Florida, one misses the seasons. I have wonderful childhood memories on Long Island, NY of raking autumn leaves into a pile and then jumping in with reckless abandon. Now, on those occasions that I have been able to head north during the fall season, I do my best to photograph the changing foliage in all its glory. A crucial consideration for success is scheduling your visit with the peak color change in any given year for any particular location. There are web sites and telephone numbers that provide information on the timing and intensity of the changing colors. The degree of cold and amount of rain are factors that effect when the leaves change and to what extent. Differing altitudes also factor into the equation. There is nothing worse than reaching a location past its peak and being stuck shooting bare trees (I’ve been there and you end up shooting a great deal of black and white).

When you do time your visit correctly, overcast skies and a polarizing filter bring out the best colors in most Autumn scenes. Compose the image by including something other than just the leaves, in this case a dark tree trunk on top and a gray rock on bottom and to the left. This provides both contrast and perspective in the frame.

Unfortunately for me, there will be no color this year. So for all of you who are actually enjoying the change of seasons, I wish I was there. Instead, I’m just …seeing red.

Life and Death

River of Fallen Trees, Yellowstone, MT 2010

In mid to late October, Yellowstone National Park often sees its Autumn rust colored grounds dusted with the first snow of the coming winter season. The ever-changing cycle of the seasons is a constant reminder of the circle of life that is a constant in nature. This image, River of Fallen
Trees, captures the essence of the changing landscape colors as well as the felled trees that eventually return back into the Earth to re-start the growth process all over again. At the left-rear of the image you can also see some of the steam from one of more than 10,000 thermal features that constantly spews from the ground in the Park, as it has for thousands of years.

Just prior to shooting this image, I had run into a couple of photographers at Old Faithful who had recently spotted a fairly large bear not too far away. With this information fresh in my mind, I spent as much time framing this scene in my camera, as I did looking over my shoulder. Luckily, my day was uneventful, other than temperatures in the 20’s and snow that closed the interior park roads. Sometime after this image was made, a hiker was actually killed by a Grizzly in Yellowstone, which is a very rare occurrence (and often a result of a perceived threat to a mother’s cub).

Hence, both that incident and the continuous cycle that exists in the natural world, reminds me of the ongoing inevitability of…life and death.

Fall Fall

Autumn Cascade, Chattanooga, TN 2009

Having come across this beautiful autumn scene in harsh mid-day light, I knew that a return visit later in the day would be necessary to create a great image. To kill some time we drove up-river a bit until we came across an area of white water rapids wherein several kayakers were practising their craft. Standing next to a proud Dad on the bridge over the troubled waters, I learned that his son below was a champion at this popular Tennessee sport. The young man really knew how to rip himself around as his kayak went through serious white water that roared through this narrow gorge. It was a perfect spot to train because the specific area of powerful water let out to a calmer side allowing the kayakers to enter and exit the white water. Shooting a long (400 mm) lens from numerous vantage points as the kayak rolled over and over through the white water (see below) was an enjoyable diversion for me while I waited for softer light to return to the waterfall scene.

After capturing some cool kayaking action shots we made our way back to the cascade. Upon our return, the light had shifted allowing me to not only smooth out the water, but get some great detail and saturation. With a bit of patience and respect for proper lighting, I was able to create these two images that could both be described as a…fall fall.

White Water Run, Chattanooga, TN 2009

The Real Thing

Granite Flow, Boulder, CO 2008

After previously posting a manmade waterfall scenic, here I get back to the real deal. One of the most relaxing sounds on the planet is that of a cascading waterfall. This one, just outside of downtown Boulder, Colorado was exhibiting the significant run-off of the prior heavy winter snow season. This image was made under overcast skies which is always conducive to a tripod assisted slow shutter speed for silky water. Created during a light rainfall, the wet rock emphasized the structure of the hard granite against the soft flow of water.

So, unlike the image in my prior post, sometimes it takes a bit of exploration to find a scene like this, but it’s worth it to see and capture…the real thing.

There’s No Place Like Home

Inverray Falls, Lauderhill, FL 2011

As a photographer seeking exotic waterfall locales, one can travel deep into the Amazonian Rainforest, or in this case… a few miles from home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Although man-made rather than natural, this particular entrance display leading into a South Florida residential area is as good a replica as I have ever seen. Several waterfalls cascading down beautifully landscaped rock features creates a peaceful tropical oasis, just feet from a busy intersection. Just goes to show you Dorothy, that when it comes to making a great scenic photo… there’s no place like home.

BSG Featured in SHUTTERBUG Magazine

www.barrystevengreff.com

SHUTTERBUG Magazine has long been a trusted resource for everything photographic, in print and on-line www.shutterbug.com. This month’s print magazine cover (October issue) features a portrait by renowned photographer Steve McCurry which he shot on the last roll of Kodachrome film ever manufactured. Inside the magazine, there is a monthly column featuring select photography web site profiles. This issue’s article entitled: “Exploring Global Villages: Inspiring Images and Image-Makers” features my site www.barrystevengreff.com. Written by Joe Farace who is a widely published Colorado-based photographer and author of more than 30 books and 1900+ magazine stories, I have taken the liberty of re-printing it verbatim here:

“Barry Steven Greff’s photography is showcased in an elegantly designed website from Foliolink (www.foliolink.com). The site appears one way on my desktop computer and another, better I think, incarnation on my iPad, where captions and other
information appear as well. Images are arranged in four portfolios and Atmosphere displays images representing the majesty of nature, especially his monochrome image of Niagara Falls photographed like you’ve never seen it before. It’s a quiet allegory of the power of nature vs. the insignificance of humankind. It’s one of his few images that have people and here they are infinitesimal in size compared to the roar – you can almost hear it while looking at the photograph – of the falls.

Most of these images are in powerful black and white but when Greff uses color, it’s to make a point. The Classics portfolio may contain some of his classics but never fails to dazzle with understated yet inherently graceful attempts at depicting nature. Unlike the previous portfolios, Spirit & Light contains a few urban images made in New York City and, while wildly incongruous next to his nature images, are appealing in a completely different way. His image made through a car window could have easily been a still image from the film Taxi Driver, with all the connotations that come along with it. In Of the Wild, Greff has created portraits of all kinds of animals from eagles to peacocks to gorillas. This represents an entirely different body of work, separate from his landscapes, that nevertheless shows how a talented photographer confronted by a
different genre rises to the occasion. He’s created insightful works of great authority and style. “

Chill out.

                                      Equine Snow Scene, Winter Park, CO 2007

As a reminder to those suffering the current heat wave throughout the U.S., eventually…it will chill out. On a personal note, this one’s for cousin Evan.

The Rising

                                                    Mountain Moonrise, CA, 2009

After pre-visualizing this image I waited past sunset for the first hint of light to shine behind the mountain. As the glorious full moon rose above the treeline, I quickly composed to capture what I had been looking for. It has always reminded me of the movie E.T. The Extraterrestrial, minus the silhouette of the boy on his bike flying across the night sky with ET in his basket.

It also represents perseverance. No matter what the day brings, it is always certain… that the moon will be rising.

Nature’s wrath.

                                                 Pouring Sky, Coeur d’Alene, ID 2010

As a follow-up to Earth Day and in light of the string of devastating Tornadoes that have hit the southern US recently, I post a reminder: Respect not only the beauty of Mother Nature, but her awesome power, for which we are no match.

The weather scenario that is the subject of Pouring Sky reached nothing like the powerful funnel clouds that routinely wreak havoc further south and have caused untold devastation this week. Notwithstanding, this system formed from an otherwise calm dawn sky, somewhat instantaneously, and with very little warning. To me, this simply serves as a reminder as to how quickly a weather event can occur, that we must always be vigilant and have the utmost respect for Mother Nature’s mood swings.

In the meantime, let’s help those that have been affected by the recent rash of storms by donating to the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org. Pour your hearts out.

Categories: Landscapes, Mountains, Nature

Golden opportunities.

Barry Steven Greff Photography Steamboat Springs Colorado Autumn Mountain LandscapesGold Standard, Steamboat Springs, CO 2008

Often the  journey is as photographically rewarding as the destination. On an extremely long ride from Denver to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in late Autumn, the road seemed endless and relatively uneventful. On those occasions that a potential image presented itself, I could literally stop the car in the middle of the road and shoot for lack of any traffic for miles, (although I wouldn’t recommend it).

Then, somewhere en route to the final destination, a snow-covered mountain appeared behind some foothills covered with golden Aspens. This type of scene definitely warrants a detour. As I often do, I traveled toward the location, navigating side roads to find the best vantage point to create an image.  After setting up and capturing the shot, I try to find my way back to the main road, since I am not usually paying attention to the route taken to get there in the first place. Thank goodness for my new, favorite letters…GPS.

Categories: Landscapes, Mountains, Nature

Bear with me…

Barry Steven Greff Photography Bear Lake Colorado Mountain Landscape

Rock Scenic, Bear Lake, CO 2010

Recently, I was shooting at dusk on the shore of Bear Lake, Colorado. Once the light was gone, I grabbed my camera and tripod and made my way down the trail to my car.

As darkness set in, I briskly and noisily walked down the narrow trail, so as not to surprise anything along the way. Then, as I rounded a wooded corner, not halfway to my destination, my worst fears were realized. There, just off the trail in the muted darkness, was a huge, black shadow, clearly not a tree, standing just off the trail in front of me. My heart sank to the forest floor as I realized that the large dark shape towered over my six-foot frame.

With no choice but to proceed forward, I inched my way down the trail hoping to get by the animal. And then, just as I passed within a few feet of the beast, his eyes met mine. Once I was close enough to see exactly what I was dealing with, it became apparent that I was face to face with a thousand pound….Bull Moose. At the time, I can’t say that I was relieved.

This thing was still huge, it was still dark, and I knew these animals could likewise inflict significant harm (no Bullwinkle here). I cautiously proceeded past him, as his suspicious gaze followed my every move. I slowly, but surely navigated the remainder of the path and hustled to the only car left at the edge of the woods, watching my back the entire time. Quickly cranking the engine I headed toward the cabin, a warm fire and a hot chocolate (there was nothing harder to drink).

After the adrenaline in my body finally subsided, I sat down and edited my work from that evening. Now, when I look at my image Bear Lake, it has a very special memory behind it, one that I’m glad I survived.

Chasing the light.

Barry Steven Greff Photography, Winter Park, Colorado, Mountains, Landscapes

Last Glimmer of Light, Winter Park, CO 2007

The last light of the day is often the best light of the day. Knowing this, I try to place myself in a position to capture the most beautiful location as the warm dusk light graces the scene. In this case, after arriving at this view of the Continental Divide, I was able to get my camera with a 400 mm Canon L lens on my tripod and squeeze off a couple of shots, just before the final light of the day was gone.

Categories: Landscapes, Mountains, Nature
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