Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time


North Window Silhouettes (2679)

The problem with coming to Moab, UT, in late August is that there’s a good chance it’s going to be hot.  And hot it is.  Mid to upper 90’s each day with bright cloudless skies.  Not great weather for photography.  So you go out early in the morning and then again just before sunset.  Even then it’s an environment that lacks any kind of drama.  It’s just uniformly dull.

I had a little luck yesterday morning, though.  I went to the Windows area in Arches, mostly to watch people.  It’s a great sunrise place, but I’ve photographed there many times before.  I wasn’t going to find any “grand scenics” in this weather.  But the people are fun to watch, especially the ones with small kids.  They take them up to the edge of the North Window and watch the sunrise.  Which is what this family was doing.  So I metered on the nearly white sky and took a number of shots.  This one is my favorite.  The father is using crutches – unusual given that you have to climb a little to get where he’s standing.  I’m not sure what he’s pointing to.  It can’t be the sun (that’s a little bit off to his right).

The mother is also gesturing (to her daughter, I think).  You can’t see the daughter, however – she’s down in the shadows.

Given that the image is extremely backlit, it instantly turned into a black and white photograph.  Automatically.  I’ve made no conversion here.  It’s pretty much the same as it came out of the camera.  It also has one of the most interesting histograms I’ve ever seen.  There’s a sharp spike on the left (the blacks) and another spike on the right (the whites).  There are very few tones between the edges.

How simple can it get?

Tomorrow we head to Page, AZ.  And you’ll never guess – the temperature will be near 100.  With clear skies.  But I can’t complain.  First, we had nearly perfect weather at Yellowstone, and second, the weather sucks back in western NY right now (wet, warm, and humid).  So I’ll take the heat.

No WIFI at the hotel in Page, though (not in the rooms, anyway).  I’ll be “dark” for a bit……..


4 Responses to “Simplicity”

    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, I agree. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen were around Page. There’s something about the atmospherics above that lake.

  1. Cedric Canard

    Nice silhouetted shot Paul, more so for the story it tells. The histogram you describe is a favourite of mine though it’s not easy to find scenes that lend themselves to such extremes while still being interesting to look at.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Cedric. Yes, these kinds of shots (and histograms) are kind of rare. They make the image look like something that was drawn rather than photographed. Very strange to find one in a place that is more known for its brilliant colors.


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