August 12, 2016
"The vast, wild landscape of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural world, and experience the wonders of this extraordinary place. With over 120,000 acres, one can find an astounding diversity in ecosystems, wildlife, and more than 10,000 years of human history to explore."
Selected to be the Artist in Residence at Bighorn, I spent two weeks exploring the Bighorn. Straddling the Montana, Wyoming border, the road trip to Bighorn took 4 days from Durango; I drove north and camped each night along the way. I towed my travel trailer to the Horseshoe Bend Campground at the Recreation Area and made a base camp for daily "chasing the light". Each morning I planned out my day of exploration: a hike to the Head of the Canyon, a drive to see the Pryor Mountain wild horses, a boat ride, or perhaps a kayak tour. I also hoped to select one of my photographs and paint the scene in oils.
During the second week of the residency I was asked to participate in a "Day on the Lake" work project with the Youth Conservation Corp. Their job was to varnish one of the floating docks down canyon. The rangers and I met at the marina, loaded onto the boat and headed to Barry's Landing to pick up the YCC and their gear.
While floating down the canyon, the morning light and calm water allowed me to enjoy an hour of photography. I love reflections. Many of the most special moments of my photography adventures include reflections. The canyon walls were varied and colorful. Because the boat was moving at a high speed, I set my aperture and shutter speed so I could capture still images of the reflections without showing movement. I stood on the bow of the boat, held on, and photographed. Shutter speed ranged from 500-1250 of a second. I didn't fret about deep depth of field, so I used large apertures like 5.6 or 7.1 and kept an eye on the shutter speed through the viewfinder.
The patterns and textures of reflections, the clouds on the land and in the water, and the varied shadow, light and color of the canyon walls interested me the most. When I located a scene at the Devil's Canyon Overlook, I set up my tripod and gear for a time lapse sequence. One day I noticed the sky reflected on the lake, photographed it over a period of 25 minutes and used my built in intervalometer to photograph 455 photos at 4 second intervals.
Clouds and Devil's CanyonPhotographing reflections hones my vision. I see reflections in all kinds of water, pools and the Bighorn Lake. This image is part of a time lapse showing cloud shadows move above the canyon.
Sometimes one single image doesn't speak to me as clearly as a series of images. In this slideshow I added a handful of still images of the same subject (shadow forms) and used the timeline in iMovie to complete my vision. Click on the video below to see a slideshow of reflections and other images from the Bighorn.
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