Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Storm Clouds at Sunset

We don't get much rain out here in New Mexico.  Average annual rainfall is about 9.5 inches.  And when the rains come, they are almost always scattered, falling unpredictably from place to place, like the rain you see in the image below, rather than uniformly across the land.  Frequently, the rain doesn't even make it to the ground because the air is so dry (a phenomenon called "virga").

But sometimes the atmosphere sucks the moisture up from the land and builds the clouds . . . oh, the clouds . . . towering clouds that grow and swirl and spread like nothing you've ever seen before!

Last Sunday, September 17, was one of those days.  We had scattered clouds all day, but toward evening, the conditions were right for one of those monster clouds.

As we were eating dinner, Linda noticed that the light outside was changing.  So I poked my head out the back door and . . . Whoa!

7:02p MDT

The sun was setting, and the light changed quickly as the cloud exploded in slow motion:

7:05p MDT

Here's a closer look:

7:07p MDT
Notice how, even under this huge cloud, the rain (lower right quadrant of the image) was only falling in scattered areas.

An even closer look shows the power of the moving air:

As the sun fell below the horizon, the lower portion of the cloud progressively lost its color until all was gray:

7:12p MDT

7:14p MDT

The cloud show was over in less than 15 minutes.  And then . . . the lightning show began!

If you would like to see these images in a larger format, please visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Junkyard Beauty

                                                                                     Beauty can be seen in all things.

                                                                                     Seeing and composing the beauty is what separates
                                                                                     the photograph from the snapshot.

                                                                                                                    -- Matt Hardy

Though it might seem unlikely, junkyards are great places for photography.  The challenge, as Matt Hardy notes in the epigraph to this post, is to find the beauty and get it in the frame.

For me, finding beauty in a junkyard is primarily an exercise in close-up (or "macro") photography.  Details, rather than full depictions, are where I find visual interest and, yes, beauty.  Multi-colored -- and multi-textured -- rust and peeling paint on the exteriors; headlights, hubcaps, and door handles; busted grills and broken glass . . . all of these are prime candidates for my eye in search of beauty.

A few days ago I went with my photo buddy Barry to the Broadway Truck Salvage yard on the south side of Albuquerque. 

 We were greeted by Ali, the ebullient office manager, and granted free run of the yard.  

For this shoot, I decided to use only a 50mm "macro" lens, which is best for close-ups and details, but works well as a prime lens -- it just doesn't zoom, so I have to "zoom" with my feet.

For this post I'll start with the large scale images, then move to smaller elements, and finally the more abstract close-ups.

Along the way I discovered one derelict car inhabited by an arachnid:

Ultimately, my primary target was cool-looking rust and paint on fenders, doors, and hoods.  The closer you look, the more beautiful the subject becomes.

Sometimes the patterns and textures worked both horizontally . . .

. . . and vertically:

Most fun was looking for faces in the rust.  These two are the same rust patch, but viewed from different directions and framed just right:

I found E.T. . . .

. . . and a fish.

My favorite face appeared on this old (1970s era) Cadillac.  Do you see it?

I call it the Junkyard Scream (homage to Edvard Munch):

If you would like to see these images -- and more -- in a larger format, visit my photography website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.