Winter Compositions, Part 3 — Finding Scenes in a Quiet Landscape
February 16, 2014
Landscape photographers love drama. Dramatic light. Dramatic skies. Dramatic color. All of which are usually coupled with the arrival or departure of a weather system. But what do we do when Mother Nature delivers day after day of overcast skies or crystal clear blue skies, devoid of any clouds or color? On such days, I cast my eyes not to the skies, but downward, towards the smaller, quieter scenes at my feet.
With the previous day’s dramatic storm long gone, I walked beside the Merced River, looking for patterns in color, shape and texture. Along the water’s edge, there was still some ice clinging to the shore, making an excellent subject with it’s angular lines against the round pebbles of the river’s bottom. I used a polarizing filter to play with the relationship between the ice on the surface and the river’s bottom, finally deciding on the composition above.
Ripples from opposing influences (ok, tossed pebbles were the influences here) disturbed the still surface of the water, creating interference patterns that made for interesting shapes, patterns and colors. Cliffs on the opposite side of the river added color and texture to the composition, but otherwise, the granite wall remains indiscernible.
Further away from the river, Aspen leaves tangled with meadow grasses, which only a week ago had been buried beneath a sheet of snow, were exposed now in perfect condition, as if they had been carefully pressed in a book, all colors in tact as the day they had fallen from the branches.
Charlotte Gibb is a contemporary fine art photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in landscapes of the Western United States. Her images are often taken in familiar places for the well-versed landscape photographer, but she prides herself on her keen eye toward the subtle and sometimes overlooked beauty of the natural world. Growing up among the beautiful mountains of Northern California, she considers herself a student of life, learning about people, nature, music, and photography along the way. But always, her life-long passion for the wilderness shines through it all.
Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has exhibited her work in several solo shows throughout California. Her darkroom, long gone now, has been replaced with digital darkroom tools, and her style has evolved from a somewhat journalistic approach, to one that pays tribute to the natural world.