My wife and I recently took a trip to Washington to celebrate my Mom's birthday.  Although we had some lovely weather and did some snowshoeing (I was on skis), I actually did not take any pictures.  Although that area just south of Mount Rainier is quite spectacular, it just seemed like the focus of the trip should be to spend quality time with family, not bury my face behind my camera.  

However, we chose to take the scenic route on the way home, passing through the Goat Rocks Wilderness and then the Tieton River Canyon.  This was my first time in the area, and I was blown away by the beauty.  While driving above Rimrock Lake, I noticed some really interesting patterns in the partially frozen lake.  With the patience and permission of my wife and dog, I launched my DJI Mavic Air 2S drone from a shoulder on the road and started exploring the patterns on the lake. 

Within minutes I was overwhelmed by the compositional opportunities available.  With this sort of abstract landscape photography, it is quite easy to show too much, and just as easy to show too little.  I think it takes a lot of time and understanding of composition to make something engaging out of such simple subject matter, water and ice.  However, with the drone, time is not on your side.  Usually I can get a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, but in cold temperatures, it is even less.  The balance between rushing and being efficient is often difficult to find.  

To make sense of this abstract landscape, I scanned the frozen lake, looking for something vaguely representative of more familiar shapes and patterns.  This is one of my favorite tools for abstract photography, making one subject look like another by reducing photography to its simplest forms, light and patterns.  In this instance, I found this collection of cracks in the ice that to me resembled a charcoal sketch of a series of hills and a river or creek in the bottom of the valley.  While I am happy to find sense in my own vision for this composition, the beauty of this type of photography is that it hopefully leaves enough room for you to find your own subject matter, meaning, and emotions.

After all, if we are not creating art and telling stories to evoke unique emotions, then we are just presenting the facts for what they are.  

Hills and Trails

$1,800 Limited Edition 1 of 15. 24x36" Print on Ilford Black and White Glossy Archival Paper & Face Mounted on Matte Acrylic Glass with sturdy Aluminum DiBond backing.

Rimrock Lake, Washington

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