Fresh Approaches to Photographing Familiar Places

Photo of a range of mountains with the top lit by the orange light of sunrise. The foreground and base of the mountains are in shadow, except for some trees with yellow leaves. The first rays of sunrise strike the sandstone face of enormous West Temple in Zion Canyon. Rather than darkening the upper portion of the frame with a gradiated N.D. filter, I chose to invert the filter, darkening the foreground still further and then apply a local adjustment to lighten the trees. To my surprise, it worked. © Jerry Ginsberg
The first rays of sunrise strike the sandstone face of enormous West Temple in Zion Canyon. Rather than darkening the upper portion of the frame with a gradiated N.D. filter, I chose to invert the filter, darkening the foreground still further and then apply a local adjustment to lighten the trees. To my surprise, it worked. © Jerry Ginsberg

By Jerry Ginsberg

Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches, Monument Valley. The names alone bring glorious and exciting images to mind. They’ve been published and printed for many decades. The classic shots of Half Dome, Old Faithful, Delicate Arch, and the Mittens; we’ve seen them all. Yet we continue to make pilgrimages to these scenic meccas of America in the hope of capturing the quintessential photograph of some already over exposed mountain or canyon that will distinguish our work from the pack; some fresh perspective that will set our images apart from the cliché.

Is this still possible? With all of the iconic photographs of our premier wilderness areas that have been made and circulated since the days of William Henry Jackson and Ansel Adams pioneered the craft, can we, with our hi-tech zillion megapixel cameras and the compressed schedules of our fast-lane lifestyles, persist in the creation of original interpretations of these well-known places? Clearly, the answer is still “Yes!”

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