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Tag Archives: sky
Since seeing the Italian Dolomites on my first trip to Europe in 1979, I have always been captivated by the craggy, rocky peaks of the massifs west of Cortina d’Ampezzo. They are quintessential mountaineering peaks and form landmarks for skiers exploring the 500+ lifts of the Dolomiti Superski.
I had an opportunity to ski the fabled Sella Ronda, a lift-served route encircling the huge Sella Group. Our route took us from Arabba in the morning to Corvara and on to Selva before traversing the snowfields en route to Passo Pordoi and back home. Along much of the route we used the three peaks of the Sassolungo, or Langkofel, as our guide.
After an amazing day skiing some 25-30 lifts, I decided to take one quick detour with the Audi A6 to run the twisty, turny mountain road up to Passo Sello for one final look at the Dolomites. The sky was overcast so photography was unlikely. But as I neared the 2,239 meter pass, the sky began to break. All around me was this stunning landscape suddenly being painted with golden hour light – reflecting off the rocks and the snow. The wind began to howl and it became a very foreboding environment, but the imagery all around me was just too spectacular to leave.
It was virtually impossible to go with a tripod. I threw on my North Face GoreTex gear and stabilized the Nikon D300 as much as I could. This particular image came as the sun was setting over Sassolungo using my Nikkor 10-24 set at 13mm, f10, 1/400th at ISO 200.
This was one of my many favorites out of that truly memorable 30 minutes of photography on Passo Sella.
While there’s nothing exotic about this window shot from a Delta 737 flying high over eastern Utah, to me it represents the peace and calmness of flight. I have been fortunate to travel a lot. And while much has changed with air travel since I first boarded a commercial aircraft at age 21 (that’s right) to fly to the NCAA Hockey Tournament in Boston, I am still enraptured watching the landscape pass by from 35,000 feet.
This particular image was created with my Nikon D300 and a Nikkor 10-24mm lens at about 12mm. I just love images like this on aircraft with winglets as the wing tip pointing skyward creates a nice element to the composition. The glow of the near-sunset light on the starboard engine nacelle breathes live into the image as the sun sets over the Utah desert.
This image is one of my favorites for 2012. You can checkout more on my Flickr Photostream.
Our last morning in Paris and I hope to find just one more memorable photograph. In the pre-dawn hours I grabbed a Velib bicycle and cruised down along the Seine. It was much quieter than it had been just a few hours earlier.
It was not a brilliant morning. Grey clouds blocked much of the sun. But as I rode past the Pont de l’Archevêché and looked back at Notre Dame, I was struck with the pastels in the sky and just a glint of dawn light touching the cathedral.
I made a few initial photographs with the D300 and super wide Nikkor 10mm before switching to the D700 at about 24mm on the zoom. I propped the camera up as best I could on a railing for stability, with no tripod available.
It was okay, I though, and rode away.
Just a few days later I brought the image into Photoshop and saw just how wonderful the light had been. Beautiful pastel skies with grey morning clouds whisping over Paris. Very little direct light but the splash on the east side of the cathedral really helped to make the photograph work.
It was a great way to end a weekend in Paris, spending a morning on the Seine. (c) 2012 Tom Kelly
The Oregon Coast has a special character. It’s rugged, wind swept, lonely. A series of lighthouses still stand today, icons of the coast standing sentinel silently as modern electronics guides ships through the harrowing coast.
As a photographer, storms are your friend. As we drove into the Coquille River Lighthouse my excitement grew as the bright, squat lighthouse stood starkly against the billowing clouds. In the foreground, the wind swept the foliage growing directly out of the coastal sand dune.
The image was one of several hundred I made in a short time, scampering around the dune searching for the best vantage point. It was photographed with a Nikon D300 with 10-24mm lens (at 24mm), f16 at 1/320th on ISO200.
The Coquille River Lighthouse stands silently along a weed covered sand dune jetty outside Bandon, Oregon on the Pacific Ocean coastline. Built in 1896, the 47 foot tower guided boats safely across the shallow beach at the mouth of the Coquille River up to 1939. It is the newest of the eight remaining lighthouses on the Oregon Coast and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (c) 2012 Tom Kelly
Spring mornings are a magical time in Moab. And Arches National Park offers myriad opportunities for amazing photographs.
I have had great success photographing the monuments along Courthouse Wash just along the main road inside Arches. On this particular morning, good news was there were clouds in the sky to breakup the ozone blue. Bad news was the early cloud layer blocked the light from the sun.
I decided to work the east side of the monument, hiking across the desert in pre-dawn to find an amazing line of sand dunes that dropped down onto a slickrock basin. The wind ripples in the sand formed an amazing pattern.
This photograph was the result of patience – about an hour’s worth after sunrise. While the puffy clouds had dissipated, the sand ripples helped make the photograph.
The image was made with a Nikon D300 with a super wide Nikkor 10-24mm lens.
Umbria was a magical land of diversity in central Italy. From mountains to valleys, castles to rolling hills – all under a mystical, swirling sky.
On an afternoon drive from Todi to Spelo we came across this storybook scene of rolling wheat fields with a villa on the horizon.
It was the perfect symbol of a remote and peaceful land framed by clouds in the Umbrian sky.
One of my longtime photographer friends, Rod Hanna, got me thinking about clouds several years ago in Utah’s redrock country. Nothing against a clear blue sky, but clouds make a photograph.
Sadly, puffy clouds in the morning are a rarity in the desert. So I was delighted early one morning in Moab when the sky began to fill with cumulous clouds at sunrise.
The Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park are very accessible, located right on the main drive. They are massive redrock reflectors in the morning. But on this day, they were enveloped in some of the most beautiful, puffy white clouds I had ever seen.
Knowing my interest in HDR, most think this is a multi-image photograph. It it not. It was just an amazing morning with fast, racing clouds ripping across the sky.
The photograph was made with a Nikon D300 fitted with a Nikkor 16-85 on a Manfrotto tripod.
I love barns. What photographer doesn’t? Barns are prolific in my home state of Wisconsin. So when I’m back there, I love cruising the rolling hills at sunrise searching for a great photograph.
I had spotted this particular farm several days earlier. I made several sunrise trips up there with no success. This particular morning, the shoot was going well with a magical sky and mystical light. But as I photographed the red barn, I noticed all the birds resting on a silo. I immediately changed the shot … and waited.
With camera on tripod (brand new Nikon D700 with Nikkor 70-300mm zoom), I waited. And I waited. Suddenly, the birds flew. The sun reflected off them against the darkened western sky. And the magic of the early morning light through the clouds painted a colorful picture on the silos.
It wasn’t what I came for, but it was a fantastic result and one of my favorite photographs of 2011.
This was an amazing afternoon! We were on a Sunday drive on the alpine loop between Cascade Springs and Sundance on the backside of Utah’s Wasatch Range. It was a stormy day with the skies opening and closing, back and forth.
Along the drive, we stopped at a scenic overlook with a view out to the southeast. The clouds were dancing with the mountaintops as brightly blooming wildflowers whipped in the breeze.
Despite the breeze, somehow I was able to capture the scene with a four-image HDR – requiring some special work on the wildflowers that weren’t exactly standing still. The fast-moving clouds were also a bit of an issue.
What was also impressive was the scene of the shoot. I was able to take partial shelter under the edge of the Audi hatchback, with the camera pretty much out in the elements – sheltered with a shirt to protect it ever so slightly from the driving rain.
Most notably, this photograph is my wife, Carole’s, favorite of the year. It was one of those photographs she encouraged me to make and knitted patiently in the Audi while I got soaked for 15 minutes. Her creative eye is often an inspiration and I think of her every time I view this scene.
It’s funny sometimes on how the best photographs are not the ones you set out to create. I had staked out this particular barn as a sunset possibility Friday evening. It’s brilliant red sides were perfectly in line with the morning sun.
Saturday morning, in the pre-dawn hours, I rolled the dice that the overcast would break. It did not.Sunday was much of the same. But I took a chance again.
After waiting and waiting, the line broke through and illuminated the barn. It was a brilliant shot with my new D700. Then I packed to leave, putting the tripod into the car.
As I looked back, I saw the silos against an amazing sky. I wandered back across the highway – the D700 loaded with my Nikkor 70-300. I knew the birds were there and that the photograph would HAVE TO include them flying.
So, I waited … and waited … and waited. I felt I should go back for the tripod, but decided I could handhold. Then, all of a sudden, a gust of wind send the birds scurrying.
Bang, bang, bang – I blasted off a burst on the motor drive as the birds found a new roost. But in that split second, they gave me a photograph even better than I had hoped from the red barn itself.
Photographer’s Note: The barn is located on US51 in the town of Leeds, just northeast of Madison, Wisconsin.