Sunday, April 23, 2023

Cloud Cover, Edition Two

Continuing the theme launched last week, here are more duets of earth and sky. Each occurred when the harmony the duo created was pitch perfect and the result vibrated just so. As every serious photographer knows when the sky is moody it’s time to take advantage of the magic. The outstanding Taos photographer Geraint Smith submits that, “Blue skies are boring.” That sentiment is largely true though a featureless deep blue sky properly rendered has another kind of gift to offer. But that's a tale for another day.

Today it’s the thick, billowing, streaking ones from top to bottom.

You couldn’t make a bad picture on the snowy morning that Into the Clouds presented itself. Taken on the county road leading to the junction of the Rio Grande and the Rio Grande, it felt like we were entering the low-lying clouds. Surely an undiscovered universe lay at its center. I shot half a dozen variations, all worthy, but this one feels the way it felt that January day.

The same is true of Presbyterian Church, Taiban, New Mexico. The abandoned house of worship was a thing of grace and beauty but the clouds above the arid steppes made a profound statement. You could drop your camera and get a killer image.

Walking Rain
is one the Southwest’s great themes. I’m lucky to have found this trophy north of Highway 160 while traversing Navajo Country. I looked left or north and saw two icons of the Four Corners, a low mesa bathed in sunlight and shards of rain piercing the sky.

I was stopped in my tracks as I drove south on US 285 just north of Cline’s Corner. On my left were Wagon Ruts merging into the grasslands. I didn’t appreciate the con trails directing me into the scene until I was processing the photograph. The con trails make the image. Some sage told me that a difference maker in a photograph is called  the “punctum” from which, I deduce, the word punctuation is derived. Anyway, this image would be diminished without those darts from one o’clock.

Georgia O’Keefe Country is picture post card New Mexico and Ghost Ranch is the lovechild of the red mesas and hoodoos near her home in Abiquiu. This bluff that I call Cathedral Rock is quintessential Ghost Ranch and the cumulus cloud peaking from behind combine to make the photograph more than another pretty face.

A mile from our sweet house in Baudinard sur Verdon was a tilled pasture with a stone outbuilding. The sun was about to fall below the horizon as we turned right onto a country road. The farmstead which I dubbed Vielle Ferme glowed where the last light fell. Otherwise, the serene tableau was deep in shadow. And, again, every shot in the remaining light was a gem. It’s called the magic hour for a good reason.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

This is by far one of your strongest sets of photographs, and it contains two of my favorites - the first being the snow junction of the Rio Grande, as well as Walking Rain. I don't recall ever seeing the Cathedral Rock image before. It is a winner on many levels. Thanks for starting the week out with art and beauty to juxtapose some of the world's insanity.