As an aspiring landscape photographer, I have the opportunity to explore less traveled parks and remote wilderness areas. This blog shares of my "notes from the field," including photography techniques, hiking tips and lessons learned the hard way ... like the time I fell through the ice in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park. I welcome your comments and thank you for visiting our site. Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer, Field Photographer
Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California
I am honored to present a solo show on Exhibits Without Walls: "Emergence: Images from Death Valley," This show celebrates the splendor of a stark, yet enchanting desert landscape and the intricate patterns of nature under changing light.
I am particularly captivated by Death Valley National Park's vast sand dunes - an icon of the American Southwest. Traversing the dunes elicits a sense of wonderment, gazing upon sand formations continuously sculpted by the forces of nature. This series explores the intricate patterns of nature, particularly the transient visuals which silently emerge at dawn only to swiftly vanish under full daylight.
Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California This past February, we had the opportunity for a longer visit to Death Valley. This proved to be one of our best photo treks in terms of weather, natural lighting and logistics. Photos from this trip will be posted shortly.
My sincere thanks go to the park rangers and environmentalists who work so hard to preserve the natural state of Death Valley and our treasured lands.
Thanks also to Mr. Ed Wedman, co-founder of Exhibitions Without Walls, for this unique opportunity.
Dear Family and Friends: I am pleased to share my recent interview on landscape photography posted by Exhibitions Without Walls: "The Transient Quality of Light."
My sincere thanks to the very thoughtful interviewer, Mr. Ed Wedman, co-founder of Exhibitions Without Walls, an international organization promoting professional growth opportunities for photographers and digital artists. Fellow photographers and artists will find this site to be a valuable resource and a source of inspiration.
I am also grateful for the adroit assistance of Ohio based fine arts photographer and writer, Dr. Eric Hatch, for this referral and his ongoing support of my work.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Given the dramatic winter skies on the Oregon coast, the quality of the light and color defy description. Within a few minutes, the coastline transitions from a dull blue-gray to a rich warm color palette. Fog, rain drizzle and clouds create a natural ever shifting light filter. A small clearing in the clouds can make for dramatic light beams, radiant color bursts in the surrounding sky and remarkable clarity in highlighted beach areas.
My most challenging and rewarding photo shoot was our final morning at Bandon Beach. While the detailed weather forecast called for clear skies, it rained steadily from 6:30 AM until about 8:30 AM. While it was still raining, portions of the sky cleared, revealing a glorious sky aglow in subtle pastel colors.
My impressions, as I frantically unpacked my camera gear from the plastic covered backpack: Iconic Face Rock and portions of the distant horizon are awash in a heavenly pink glow. At the same time, the sky backdrop for the closer sea stack rock formations is a surreal mix of vivid pink, gold and muted purple colors. This all lasts about 15 or 20 minutes, before yielding to more direct eastern sunlight piercing through the thick clouds cover.
While I stayed around about another hour photographing tide pools and boulders in bright light, my real work as a photographer occurred in that brief period of special, ethereal morning illumination.
If only we could replicate or stop time in these special moments. Well, we do so, in part, through our rich memories of a glorious time in nature and two dimensional photographic representations.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Related Posts: Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary, Oregon Coast Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold, Oregon Coast Photography: Part 3 – Oregon Dunes, Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore.
Our brief morning visit to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area was both exhilarating and frustrating. Looking back on that morning, our first challenge was a self -imposed time limit of one hour on the dunes. This crazy time crunch was necessitated by our overly ambitious schedule, including the five hour drive north to Cannon Beach that same day.
Also, on the dunes, we encountered a single set of fresh footprints which seemingly traversed every interesting crevice or ridge line in our line of sight. I still wonder whether we were following in the steps of another photographer, one leaving no discernable tripod marks in the sand.
That said, we worked around the foot prints and I was delighted to come upon a small reflecting pool in a low lying area of the dunes. This "oasis" provided a focal point and some smaller scale photo opportunities.
While the dunes are pristine, they are not as high or dramatic as those in Death Valley or White Sands National Parks. Yet, the complex dune ripples and textures provided a rich array of subject matter for abstract photography in the early morning light.
Covering an expanse of nearly 50 miles, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area extends along the Oregon coast from Florence to Coos Bay. The area is readily accessible from Highway 1, offering camping areas, hiking trails and some designated areas for motorized vehicles.
We accessed the dunes from the John Dollenback Dunes trailhead, near the Eel Creek Campground, just off Highway 101.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Related Posts: Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary, Oregon Coast Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold, Black and White Digital Photography: A Peaceful Surrender; Shutterbug Features Reinkensmeyer's "Ripples," New Mexico Landscape Photography, White Sands Dunes Formations, Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
Initially, faced with heavy winter rains and sleet, we thought it best to wait for the weather "to clear" for our Oregon coast photo shoots. Our thinking quickly evolved, however, given the rapid weather changes and resulting photo opportunities at Bandon Beach, Oregon.
Here, beyond the challenge of shoot timing, ever changing skies create a sense of drama and strong visual elements. In many ways, weather conditions are the essence of compelling Pacific coast images.
Our first morning at Bandon Beach, we were graced with thick fog, pelting rain and fleeting sunlight. That evening, our quiet light painting session on the beach was abruptly interrupted by fierce winds and hail. The next day offered the same erratic mix, with a sudden afternoon warm-up and the need for sunglasses. Late afternoon ushered in dark foreboding dark skies, but no actual precipitation.
In some of our favorite scenes, thick cloud and fog serves as an ever shifting light filter. The resulting diffused sunlight is at times ethereal, casting a soft shadowless illumination over the scene. This scenario is similar to that of pre-dawn illumination, providing an even, low contrast light from the foreground to the distant horizon. As such, I generally found it unnecessary to use graduated neutral density filters in the field.
Being from Phoenix, I still marvel at the mercurial nature of Oregon winter weather and the coastal ecosystem as a whole. Properly equipped, we have made peace with the Oregon winter climate, giving us all the more time for exploration under most any conditions.
After getting soaked a few times, we learned to have our rain gear (REI jackets and pants) with us at all times. Other items which proved helpful included camera rain sleeves, deep lens hoods, extra lens cloths, North Face e-tip gloves for our phone touch screens, water shoes with NRS Hydroskin socks and plastic covers for our camera backpacks.
Three Apple i-phone apps were also a big help in navigating the weather, lighting and tidal cycles: Dark Skies, The Photographer's Ephemeris and Tide Chart.
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
Related Posts: Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary, Oregon Coastal Photograph: Part 3: Oregon Dunes, New Mexico Landscape Photography Part 1, White Sands Dune Trek, Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California.
Landscape photography techniques, photo expedition travel planning and hiking tips.