Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Valley of Fire State Park

Sunday Cardgrrl and I went to Valley of Fire State Park. It's a pretty amazing place, and we had absolutely ideal weather. We stayed only about two hours, but you could wander around for days and days without seeing the same thing twice. We took the loop trail at White Domes and looked around Silica Dome. Friends had recommended other parts of the park, but we'll have to save those for another trip.

The photos I took are here. None of them accurately reflects what I saw. The range of light and shadow was simply too great for the camera to capture. For example, in many shots the sky looks white, when in reality it was one of the brightest blues I've ever seen; it gets washed out in order to emphasize the range of colors in the rocks and darker areas of the scene.

I think the prettiest shots are these:

However, easily my favorite of the bunch is this one:

It nicely shows the enormous range of colors and shapes nature has on display in these rock formations, set against a gorgeous, clear sky. I think the shadow of a human figure (it's Cardgrrl, though in this case that doesn't really matter) provides both a sense of physical scale and contrasts our smallness and frailty and the brevity of our existence with the might and longevity of the mountains.

On another matter, if you want a little lesson in photo composition, which is indisputably one of the most important things setting real photographic artists apart from us mere snapshotters, look at my picture of this rock:

It's a very, very pretty rock, full of vivid and unexpected colors. But the photograph is completely boring and lifeless, I'm afraid.

Now look at how Cardgrrl saw the very same rock here. It's an actual scene, not just a rock. Well done, my friend.

Coming up next: Actual poker content!


Cardgrrl said...

I like your favorite a lot too. Nice job!

qdpsteve said...

Ever see the movie "Picnic at Hanging Rock", Rakewell? Looks like you could shoot a remake of it there...

iganatz said...

"It's a very, very pretty rock, full of vivid and unexpected colors. But the photograph is completely boring and lifeless, I'm afraid."

See, here's the thing. Your camera is just a tool, one step in the process of recreating memories, visions, whatever. What came out of the camera may seem boring to you, but it's actually quite a nice composition. The camera was simply unable to capture the vividness that resides in your memory.

You need only reinterpret what the camera captures to reconcile it with your memories or desires. Though I wasn't there, I imagine your memory could be something like this:


Don't let the camera be the stone tied around your imagination. Let it be a launching pad.

P.S. Looking forward to the return of poker content...

iganatz said...

Sorry, don't think I supplied that full url:


iganatz said...

trying one last time:

for some reason, blogger doesn't seem to like long text strings (like url's) that are too long in their reply fields. After the last backslash in the url I supplied, it should read "rocks.jpg", not "ro"