I was excited to get an email yesterday from the Nature Conservancy advising me I had recevied an honorable mention award for the photograph below that I had submitted for their 2009 Photo Contest.The photos was taken in June 2009 while I was visiting Teton National Park in Wyoming. I was trying to be creative with this landscape shot. These clumps of yellow wild flowers were blooming in the sage brush range land that fronts the Teton Mountains. Laying on my stomach and using my elbows to steady this I got as close as I could to create the dramatic effect of the flowers dominating the foreground. Shot with a Canon 50D, a 17-40mm f4 L lens at 29mm. Settings were f22, 1/90 sec. ISO 400. Well I didn't win any prizes, but I can at least brag about it, right? There were over 22,000 submissions for this years contest from all over the world. Here is the link to The Nature Conservancy's page with all the winning photos.
Another one of my favorite landscape photos was taken on that road trip this past June. The photo below was taken in Cody, Wyoming. There is an attraction in Cody called Old Trail Town. It is a collection of 26 buildings that were built between 1879 - 1901. The buildings have been brought to this site from various locations out west. Some of them would be pretty well known to anyone familiar with history. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's "Hole in the Wall Gang" cabin is located in Old Trail Town now. As I wandered around trying to create something creative, storm clouds were begining to form quickly and the light was starting to go. I found this old wagon and piles of wheels out behind the main row of buildings. I did have my tripod for this shot and I got low to the ground and as close as I could to create this composition. With the tripod I was able to go to ISO 100. Canon 50D, 17-40mm, at 19mm. Shot at f16 and 1/20 second. This ended up being my best photo from Old Trail Town. Here is their site. http://www.imt.net/~stan/trltown.html
Doing landscape photography in the area I live is more challenging, but there is plenty of scenery to shoot. It may not be majestic mountain ranges or dramatic vistas, but it has a beauty all it's own. You just have to be there for the good light and create the best composition possible. This shot was taken at Pere Marquette State Park that is north of Grafton, Illinois, along the Illinois River. This is the office for the park rangers and it sits just inside the main entrance. Now the problem here was the harsh mid-day light. There were actually dozens of visitors taking photos of the building and walking all over the place. I noticed the reflection in the water and got down low to get as much of it as possible. This was shot using Canon's 10-22mm super wide angle lens. Shot at 10mm, f16, 1/45 second, ISO 200. I shot this hand held so it is not as sharp as I would like, but still happy with the results for a spur of the moment photograph. The Great River Road along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers is one of the most highly rated scenic drives in the country. Here is a link.