Autumn has come to us, the warm colors slowly spread over the whole landscape, warming our mood and trapping it in a melancholy feeling that only this season can give.
Today to tell us a new experience on "Photographic stories" will be Dan Baumbach, an American photographer who I admire very much for the dark graphics in his images. Dan's photography almost always takes place with the camera lens facing downwards, a great search for small scenes and details of trees, leaves, blades of grass, elements of nature that often escape the eye of the classic landscape architect concentrated on the grand landscape. Dan has a keen eye towards chaotic compositions and manages to derive his own order, which is one of the most difficult things in photography. I appreciated his approach and I'm happy he accepted my invitation.
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I live in Boulder, Colorado, just 45 minutes from trails in the Rocky Mountains starting at 10,000 feet. I go up there a lot and do intimate landscapes there, but I feel my best work is right here in the foothills about 15 minutes south of where I live.
Right now, the big attraction here is the aspens and cottonwoods turning color. The cottonwoods turn yellow, but the aspens can also go orange and if you’re lucky red. I love looking at the aspens, but I rarely photograph them.
I tend to stay away from the known photo locations. I generally go where no one else goes and I love the images I get from there.
There are a few places south of Boulder where the grasses turn fall colors — vivid fall colors — reds, blues, oranges and of course, yellow.
Just doing snaps of them, you’ll end up with photographs of colored spaghetti, but if you pay attention and look carefully, you can find some beautiful relationships that speak to you. At least they speak to me.
This being in the foothills and a college town, there are runners and cyclists everywhere. On this trail, one of my favorites, I have to keep a careful eye out to not be in their way.
This morning I quickly went off the trail and wandered among the grasses. I found some that looked interesting and I got down on my knees and opened my tripod. Sometimes being on my knees isn’t low enough so I’ll end up sitting in the grass.
Things look very different from that angle than they do when you’re looking down at things, but I just get into it. I look for compositions of color, shape and relationships. When I find things I like I’ll make an exposure. At this point there’s very little thought going into it. I’m just looking, reacting and setting up my camera and shooting. You have to be very careful with your lens opening because too much sharpness may make the photograph too busy. But not enough sharpness can make the photo not have a focal point. I’m always checking my LCD for sharpness.
This morning was one of those days where I was just sitting in the grass and shooting. When I ran out of things that grabbed me, I got up and wandered around until I found some place else that looked interesting. Then I sat down again.
This image that I call Awakening is from this morning. I remember when I shot it I was focusing on the white grass flowers in the center, and I was thinking I’ve photographed these white grass flowers a lot and I’ve never gotten anything. I’ve learned to not listen to my mind in these situations and just do what feels right. There’s just enough sharpness so the grass flowers and bits of the red and yellow grass are sharp. Here I really lucked out by having such strong red grasses in the background, but they’re blurry so they enhance the foreground.