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The Orton Effect

Thanks to one of my favorite landscape photographers, Darwin Wiggett, I’ve learned a new concept called “The Orton Effect”, which is a method used for creating photographs with a “painterly” feel to them. I re-edited a couple photos from California last summer that I felt would benefit greatly from this method:

Both of these shots were right behind the hotel we were staying at. ūüôā We were really roughing it:

This Next shot is one of my favorite beaches in Cali:

I’m really excited to use this technique once the fall colors start hitting the trees. Could definitely make for some interesting stuff! If you are a photographer, be sure and check out the link I included to “The Orton Effect” as I truly believe this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for photography.



Rocky Mountain National Park

My dad, brothers, and I took a long weekend trip into¬†the Rocky Mtn. National Park¬†last week.¬† We entered through Estes Park, which brought back memories of performing as a band for the GMA Music in the Rockies festival a few years back.¬† That was probably one of the most exciting times¬†in my life when all of us (Justin, Jason, Matt, and I) ¬†had no idea what the future had in store.¬† Heading back there, I didn’t know what kind of feelings I’d have with those memories being stirred up inside me.¬† With my life a little more structured I wasn’t sure if it would be a totally positive experience.

Toward the end of the trip we came into¬†contact with¬†three guys who were our rafting guides down the¬†Arkansas River.¬† One of them¬†was the complete definition of a¬†vagabond.¬† This guy¬†sleeps in the bed of his truck most nights under the stars in Colorado.¬† He’s making his way out in the next few months (doesn’t know exactly when) and¬†heading towards San Francisco.¬† I say “heading towards” because he doesn’t know when he’ll get there.¬† He has no specific time frame.¬†¬†Just¬†taking his time, stopping by places that he’s never been like Yosemite National Park, Redwood Forest, etc.¬†and will eventually end up in San Francisco.¬† Doesn’t have a job lined out or anything.¬† Just says he will find a job waiting tables and after he’s done there, he’ll eventually make his way back to Colorado.

I’m not gonna lie I was¬†a little envious of him.¬† More so¬†the idea of being in that sort of circumstance again¬†and being ok with not having things planned out.¬† For those of you who know me, you know I get really passionate about the things I involve myself with, whether it’s relationships, music, politics, photography, etc.¬† My dream job would involve doing landscape photography.¬† Although those guys get to spend weeks at specific locations waiting for perfect conditions, I’ve got to make due with the conditions around me in a short period of time.¬† Maybe someday I will have the¬†that luxury though.¬†¬† I have no particular plan on how to make it happen, nor do I have any certainty that it¬†ever will happen,¬†but I do have a camera and a learning mind and I love putting these things to good use, striving to become more knowledgeable and more creative.

With all that being said, I hope you enjoy these pictures.¬† I really enjoyed my time in Estes¬†Park,¬†R.M.N.P., and greater Colorado¬†and¬†It’s¬†lessons to¬†live my life with a good balance of uncertainty and wisdom.¬† Being with this vagabond helped bring out the younger version of myself and the knowledge that I need to embrace unpredictability in my life, but also with a sort of balance that experience brings.¬† Finding the healthy tension between these will be a life long goal of mine, I’m sure of it.


4 sec. exposure

For any who may have seen the earlier version of this next picture on fb/twitter, that was the picture straight out of camera.  Here is the final edited version:

Sunrise at Sprague Lake

BW + Landscape version of the 1st waterfall:

6 sec. exposure

This next picture was taken right as night was falling and a storm was approaching. ¬†You can’t see it but there was a herd of Elk swimming in the lake and drinking the water. ¬†It¬†was unbelievable. ¬†One of the most peaceful moments I’ve experienced in quite some time:

Storm at Sprague Lake 60 sec. exposure

This next shot took 3 stacked filters for about 10 f stops of light loss to pull off. ¬†With that much light loss, it’s basically night time to the camera’s lens, which allows you to do a longer exposure during the daytime. ¬†It also saturates colors like crazy, as the sunlight moves across the picture. I actually had to reduce some of the color in this image to make it look real. ¬†The movement in the clouds and grass caused some motion blur, which I tend to like, and of course, the reason for the long exposure was to get the smooth running water:

15 sec. exposure stacked with all kinds of filters ūüėČ

It took me over an hour to get the next shot. ¬†One of my favorite landscape photographers is David Muench. ¬†He has a strategy when photographing mountains to wait until the sun is only hitting the top 3rd of the peak. ¬†It makes for some really cool soft lighting on the mountain. ¬†People were all over the place, but fortunately they left just about the time the lighting was getting good. ¬†I wish I could have gotten stiller water for a clearer reflection, but I’ll take what I can get. ¬†The rocks and logs in the foreground were visible because of the polarizer I used, which cuts through the water’s reflection. ¬†Polarizers are awesome! ¬†They are very useful in situations like these for landscapes. This was definitely my favorite shot of the trip:

Sunset/Moonrise Over Bear Lake

My poor attempt at an Ansel Adams esq. BW landscape.  I liked how the shadows mimicked the tree line on the upper left side of the mountain:

Moonrise Over Bear Lake

This next one at Emerald reminded me of Lord of the Rings for some odd reason. ¬†I think it was the jagged peaks in the background.¬†¬†Fortunately, the all seeing eye was nowhere to be found.¬† P.S. if you ever get the chance to hike to this lake, do it!¬† It’s amazing:

Emerald Lake

Stacked with filters again:

I believe this was a 10 sec. exposure

Conner eventually got in trouble for this, but who could resist.  The little guy was hungry!

Up before dawn to hike and catch the sunrise over the Park:

One more sunrise at Sprague Lake

BW Portrait of Emerald Lake:

I liked the shadows, shapes, and colors of this next one.  More of an abstract idea:

25 sec. exposure

Another abstract idea:

created by a 1/8 sec. exposure with vertical tilt of camera

That’s it for Rocky Mountain National Park.¬† I hope I get to visit Colorado again soon.¬† My life is better every time I do.