Where Artists Go

Just got back from Death Valley. This is from the Artist’s Palette. I did that loop several times looking for anything that would catch my eye. I didn’t like the green/blue areas where everyone was attracted to. But further on there were areas with different shades of brown that I did find exciting. Unfortunately, the loop is a one way road so once you find something you have to do the loop again because you can’t drive back.

Overall I found DV challenging this time. I think it’s because I’ve seen it so often that nothing looked new. It took quite some time to decide what the place was about. What shapes and colors defined it for me.

GFX50R, 45-100mm@100mm, f/11

This is a very unique perspective from the Artist Palette road. As you say, almost everyone stops at the turn out where there are all of the pinks, blues, greens, yellows etc, and I find that particular area extremely difficult to shoot. Good of you to keep an open mind and look for something different along that drive. I really like the tones you’ve captured with the darker bolder colored hills centered in the foreground and the lighter colored crags in the background giving good separation. The panorama works well. At first, the ULC was pulling my eye and I thought it made the image unbalanced and although it’s not ideal, the longer I look at this image the more I’m enjoying it and the ULC adds some dimensionality to the shot. I can’t suggest anything to improve this.
Were you able to find any mud cracks that were still fresh on your trip or were you not looking for them.

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Igor, You have succeeded to make a strong image with a lot of forms and colors. Making it a painting of sober, very powerful nature . I love it !



I was looking for them but half heartedly. One of my keepers did have some cracks in it. I spent some time walking in those depressions at the beginning of the Mesquite Dunes but wasn’t happy with the light at the time. So that was a wasted morning. The dunes were in prime shape due to the 70mph winds the night before.

For a 10 day visit I came back with 3 keepers. Part of the reason was that we had one day where it rained all day and 2 with howling winds that blew dust so you couldn’t see anything. I shot about 3 or 4 more images that were more clicheish and will probably not post them. Here is one of my meh shots. It looked promising but I couldn’t come up with anything but a conventional composition. Maybe years ago I would have been happy with this.

I actually quite like that rock image. Looking forward to your other keepers. Death Valley can be tough when the wind is blowing but it sure takes care of footprints overnight.

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This really is a wonderful image, Igor. The colour palette is beautifully muted and understated. The darker foreground inverted “v” invites the eye into the frame and there is a lot to see. The textures are wonderful but, I think what I love best are the folds in the midground, which feel very organic. As is typical of most all of your photographs, the post processing is impeccable . The pano aspect ratio is unusual for you. Is this a stitch or a crop?

Love this Igor. Kudos for stepping a little away from the classic Artist’s Palette’s magnetic draw. I’ve only been once and that was many moons ago… but one of the things here to appreciate are the subtle pastels that do have a link, a reminder to the more intense colors I expect not too far from this location. Those would be the tempered colors in the midground folds, and the UL. But the diversity of the overall earth tones are just wonderful.

Compositionally this is excellent as well. To me there’s almost a 3-D look to this - and at a minimum has nice depth, provided by those foreground and repeating triangular shapes (as well as color gradations.)

Simply a finely crafted intimate landscape. No suggestions from me.


ps. Your alternate with the rock - Convential comp? perhaps… sure you’ve got your classic Rule of Thirds comp, you’ve got the S-curve, you’ve got the lead-in line… I’d say a classically perfect composition. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would say you drew upon your inner Guy Tal.
My only nit pick - you should have saved that for a separate post… :slight_smile:

Yes, it is a crop from the following image. I like the uncropped image very much as well. I went back and forth on this until one morning it became clear. Now it’s less clear again. Lol.

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I think you definitely made the right choice with the pano crop. The uncropped image feels as though the most interesting part of the picture, the lighter elements in the upper part of the frame, are being crowded out. It’s unbalanced and not in a good way. The cropped version just works so much better for me.

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I like both the cropped and uncropped versions but leaning more to the uncropped version. It has more depth in my opinion. I also very much like your lonely rock image. Pleasing composition but I might suggest boosting the saturation of the blues and yellows. All a matter of taste I guess.

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As others have observed this is a fresh take on Artist’s Palette. I think you have done well to showcase the textures and subtle gradation of color of this section. It is interesting to hear how challenging it was for you, perhaps because you have been there so often before. I have only been twice, once earlier this year, so I’m already eager to go back. I wonder what can keep this inspiration going for any place that one might go back to again and again.

The more I look at this image the more I see it as a musical composition. Vision as music. I see two strong movements (above and below) and a composition that starts out dramatically and then the tempo starts to slow (moving left to right). Adams saw a great connection between music and photography as well. I am starting to see the music in his images as well. Note the music in this famous image and the similarity in composition to mine.

@Lon_Overacker, @David_Haynes, @DeanRoyer, @Kerry_Gordon, @Ben_van_der_Sande, @Eva_McDermott

Thank you for your comments. They are much appreciated. Time to move on.

Boy this hits home. I just spent a week prowling some of the desert areas in Arizona and California and only came away with a couple myself. I caught COVID at the beginning, had rain and miserable wind for the entire time I was in Anza Borrego, and then they closed the roads into the Mojave National Preserve for the time I had planned there.

Anyway, I’m glad you came away with this one. I too am conflicted; I like both your original and your crop. I too like the inverted V the foreground makes; that adds a lot for me.

Oh my!!! Things never go as planned during a photo expedition (see @David_Haynes’ post) but yours takes it to another level. I hope you’re feeling well now. I went through Mojave as well and the winds were just terrible. There was snow just out of town. Oh yeah, and there was a long line of trucks on the highway as the road to Bakersfield through Tehachapi was blocked due to weather.

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I remember all too vividly, way back when I was green and charmingly ignorant, I decided I’d avoid the heat and ride my motorcycle across the Mojave (from Phoenix to Bakersfield) at night. I had never really heard of thermals but boy did I get an education - my bike was literally lifting off the ground. Fortunately I had the sense to stop before I got myself killed :crazy_face: