My wife and I went on a mini-vacation this week. We visited the Hogle Zoo, the Living Planet Aquarium, the Hill Aerospace Museum, Antelope Island, and also the Bonneville Salt Flats. I took photos everywhere we went, but most of them were just to document our little adventure. We thought that while we were at the salt flats we had better try to get a few good ones. That turned out to be harder than it sounds. We arrived a little bit behind schedule and were losing light fast. We only had time for a few shots before we were drowning in high ISO noise, or swimming in slow shutter blur. I got a couple pretty ones of the sunset, though.
Returning the next day proved to be an adventure in itself as the first legal place to make a u-turn was 30 miles from our destination and the flats are only on the westbound side of the highway. By the time we made it, it was around Noon and the landscape was blinding (in case you weren’t aware the salt flats are literally miles of flat salt that kind of looks like snow).
Earlier this Summer, I went with a group of artists from BYU to Santa Fe and various nearby sites. While in Santa Fe, I visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. I spent some time sketching the exterior and noticed that no two columns had identical capitals. In fact, they were each very unique. This inspired me to produce the work below, which is one of five ravens atop columns based on those from St. Francis Cathedral.
This is a photo I took at Goblin Valley, where we stopped on the way home. Nothing fancy, but it has that Southwesty feel and thus belongs here helping to describe the trip.
As I have been saying in some of my recent posts, I am working on building miniature sets and models to create a series of illustrations. This image isn’t from that series, but it was a sort of test run to see if the concept was a valid way for me to work. I also wanted to try submitting something in that style to the Society of Illustrators Student Competition. It just so happened that the day I started working on the image was also the deadline for the competition. that means I had to finish it in a matter of hours and get it photographed before the sun went down.
I ended up cutting a lot of corners on the construction. I had to give him a bundle of dowels to carry instead of the rifle I had been planning on making. I was also planning on photographing him at a frozen lake. Unfortunately, the road to the lake was closed for construction. I decided I would try to take some shots next to the railroad tracks where I had stopped. I was soon sent away by a railroad worker who informed me that I was trespassing and might distress the train engineers because, apparently, people who wander near railroad tracks sometimes have tragic intentions. The light was then failing and I decided my only option was to cross the valley and drive up the mountain to a point where the sun would still reach me. I did and this is one of the shots I got (magical sparkles added for emphasis).
Anyway, it wasn’t accepted to the Society show, but I had a good time making it, and learned some things that are proving useful in my current endeavors.
The story I am illustrating for my BFA project takes place in the arctic. I was researching arctic icebergs, flows, and glaciers and came across a documentary called “Chasing Ice”. In short, it is about photographer James Balog’s project to document receding glaciers. It show’s indisputable proof of our changing climate and raises concerns about the dire consequences of such a change. In addition to that, it is also an engaging story of how the project came about and was executed.
The film is full of beautiful photography and time lapse. I recommend watching it if only for the stunning visuals. However, I was also touched by what may be the last fleeting glimpse of an incredible part of our earth’s history.
The images in this post are from the film. I hope Mr. Balog and the producers of “Chasing Ice” won’t mind my showing them here. The film is available for streaming on Netflix and you can watch a trailer or find out more at chasingice.com