One of my favorite types of photography is the Landscape. For me, shooting landscapes is a time of quiet concentration.

First comes the need to find a location, and I’ve been known to drive for hours – even up to half a day – without finding something that catches my eye enough for me to want to photograph it. Of course, I don’t always just wander: sometimes I have a specific goal in mind when I leave the house (or hotel, if I’m traveling). But I do enjoy wandering, and just looking for the surprises I encounter along the way.

After finding something worth photographing, it’s not unusual for me to spend anywhere from an hour, to several hours, setting up various shots, looking for something that will help express my own personal view of the subject. During this time, I think about the fact that “there’s nothing new under the sun,” and the subject has almost certainly been photographed before.

That was certainly the case with the featured image for this post: “A Road to the Clouds.” I shot this particular image the same day as my award-winning photographs of the “Centerville Fruit Stand,” and a piece I call “Rainy Days.” (When that last piece placed second in the Fresno Arts Council “Arts Alive in Agriculture” at Fresno City Hall in May 2015, it was titled “Rainy Day.” The Centerville Fruit Stand, incidentally, placed first in that same juried exhibition.) By raising my camera up to a height of about twelve feet – I controlled everything with a CamRanger – and shooting with a 14mm wide-angle lens, I was able to bring the clouds, and the road, closer to one another, making it appear almost as if the road led to the clouds. The high-dynamic range technique adds to the other-worldly effect.

Similarly, when shooting “Thor’s Well” from a similar higher-than-normal perspective with that same 14mm wide-angle, I was able to give a sense of looking down into the well, while still including the stormy sky. (It was actually raining when I shot this, and if you look closely, you’ll see water drops in the foreground pool.)

First Place winner, Sorensen's Studio 6th Annual Black and White Show, "Thor's Well"
First Place winner, Sorensen’s Studio 6th Annual Black and White Show, “Thor’s Well”

My “day job” as a criminal defense attorney can be grinding. Aside from the normal wear-and-tear on one’s psyche that comes from a perverse system ruled more by emotions than law, or logic, there is dealing with the fact that most people are seldom happy with you, whether its judges, prosecutors, the general public – victim’s of crime, of course – and sometimes not even your own clients.

Shooting landscapes gives me an opportunity to think, but also provides an escape, and helps remind me that the world, after all, is a truly wonderful place.

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