Last month, the 1000th photo by PhotoCosma got accepted on Stocksy United. The collection keeps growing every month and I’m really happy about the quality and variety of them. Here are also the top 5 images from last month – December 2018:
It’s time for my Stocksy Top 5 of the month, where I select five photos that I like best from what has been accepted on Stocksy United the previous month. This time we have some mountain photos that evoke freedom, some interesting night ghost apparitions, some roads in autumn forests, some hiking in morning light and some strange abstract glowing shapes. Here are some of my best photos from September 2018:
I was away for some time and realized that the month is almost over and I haven’t posted the last month’s Stocksy top 5. Even though it’s really late this month, I had to do it as it has some great images. Either one of this images would also look great as a print:
This autumn has given us a lot of good images. The idea was simple: wake up early in the morning, drive until the roads vanished then set off on foot and hope for the best. We chose days that had changing conditions – rain, sun, clouds so that we could get most out of the day. And it paid off well.
I have chosen “Mountain Peak in Autumn” as part of the top 5 of the month in October so you know it’s a favorite of mine. I really like the contrast between the warm colors of the trees and the cold tinlike colors of the mountain and sky.
This wasn’t an easy image to get. Me and my brother climbed for about 4 hours through a beautiful forest on a steep slope, stopping from time to time but being unable to see much. After finally getting out of the woods one of the first sights was this one, blowing me away. The sun was playing through the clouds so I waited for it to shine a bit on the trees and the cliff that was nearer, but not too much to have harsh shadows. The waiting game was the hardest part because I knew we had more to climb that day, but I knew it was worth it so we remained in that spot until the conditions were just right.
I used my 70-300 mm lens at 92mm and an aperture of f/8 because there was enough light around and I know this particular lens produces the best results at this aperture, with an exposure of 1/250 seconds @ISO 100.
I love that this image “grabs” a piece of that day – the colors, the changing conditions, the giant cliffs and the overall mood of the place. I’m always amazed by this place, the sheer size of it and could spend days just watching the light moving over the cliffs, always changing the landscape.
Following an unknown mountain river has led to some great findings. After walking up the river for a couple of hours, me and my brother were amazed to hear the sound of a powerful waterfall roaring. We had no knowledge of a waterfall on that river and as this was our first time there had no idea where the sound was coming from. After some exploring we managed to find it: the river was suddenly falling of a steep cliff before carving into the mountain and getting lost underground, only to reappear again a couple of hundred meters downstream.
The weather turned cold suddenly and rain began to fall so the steep cliffs were really slippery, but we knew we had to explore this beautiful place. As the rain fell the river swelled and the waterfall roared even louder. I was near the waterfall and felt it’s true force – drops of water flying through the air swept by the currents and lifted into the cold air. We climbed down as low as we could to get a view of the steep slope. Couldn’t get all the way down to where the water was disappearing into the mountain but got low enough to see the whole place from below.
I used my trusty wide 10 mm lens but it was still not enough to capture the whole scene so I made a panorama from three shots. I used f/11 at 1/2 seconds (had to use a closed down aperture to get everything in focus) and ISO 100. This shot was especially hard to get because water was pouring on to the lens from the rain and from the waterfall, but at the end of the day it was worth it. the green moss on the roots and rocks, the steep cliffs, the tall pine trees up in the distance seen from an unusual angle – all helped to create a photo of a wild hidden and dangerous world. This angle emphasizes the steepness of the place and think it manages to transmit part of my feelings from this dangerous experience.
A couple of days ago I was editing the photo above and I wanted to give it a magical look to make the viewer “feel” as much of what I have felt the moment I took this photo. I also remembered about the whole “purists” vs “editors” war with some going as far as saying that the goal of editing a photo is to make an image look as if it hasn’t been edited.
For me this is not true. I edit my photos to make them have a special atmosphere or to make them transmit something more accurate to what I felt or had in mind when I took the photo.
It’s not that the camera doesn’t render correctly what I see, but there are a lot of other stimuli (like the wind blowing, the sound of water, the sweet smell of the vegetation in the air, etc) that don’t get trough the camera. I use post editing to make an image more vivid or to make its atmosphere a certain way. I know that some might say that the image becomes something “unreal”, but an enhancement of certain features in an image makes it more real and closer to what I saw and felt that moment.
I remember that when I took this photo I wanted to have as much as possible in focus, on the whole length of the waterfall and river that makes the eye travel trough the whole frame, from the rocks in the foreground up to the sunspot above. A dog that stayed with us that whole day stayed still for a couple of seconds, just enough to appear in the frame so I felt that it’s a nice touch to give the photo a sense of greatness. I used a 5 seconds exposure time at ISO 100 to emphasize the flowing of the river and f/11 aperture to have everything in focus. When editing it I added a subtle glow and made the rocks a bit more cold in color temperature and the sunspot above a little bit warmer to replicate the contrast between the dark cold valley and the sun shining above. It made the whole scene closer to what I wanted it to be, to what I saw and felt that day. Hope you enjoy the image. I also made it available on my Stocksy United portfolio under the “Wild fairy tale landscape with waterfall in the woods” name.
For me editing means getting access to a digital darkroom. The process is really not that different to what the great masters of photography were doing back in the days.
A bit late this month with the top 5 photos from Stocksy, but a lot is going on right now. Nevertheless, some great photos made their way to in February, some of which even got curated by Stocksy so here is my top 5:
It seems to me like the last places where you could feel truly remote and hidden from the outside world remain these mountain valleys that are only accessible by actually going up trough the water and wet rock. The sun only shines on small parts of them because of the steep cliffs and so a perfect fantasy eerie atmosphere is created. This is even more so in the evening when the light falls fast and you have to get back to the outside world before the darkness. I remember being careful not to slip on the rocks and lifting my eyes just for a second and seeing the beautiful light and reflections of the warm light shining just for a couple of moments in the dark cold valley.
I was fortunate enough to have the time to capture this image, and it truly reflects the feelings of awe that I had when seeing such great beauty. I then rushed back to the outside world with the darkness behind me engulfing everything, the only light I saw being the hazy reflection of the autumn sky in the cold water. It’s a feeling that stayed with me.