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.
There’s been some cold and rainy days where I live. Good for photography but really bad for the equipment and the photographer. The photo above was taken last year, on a similar cold and rainy autumn day. The raindrops flying trough the air are visible in contrast to the dark forest, and the last leaves on the branch give a sense of a late autumn. Sometimes the atmosphere is in the little details. I love the autumn rain, but I do hope the weather gets better – I had to postpone a photo tour because of it.
This moody autumn detail is available for licensing at Stocksy.
I’ve always found interesting how different people see different things in a photo. Some look at the photo above and see a man walking out of a forest, some see the man entering the forest, a person with imagination could say that this is an apparition of a ghost in a surreal forest. A sad person could say that the man in the picture is walking sadly at sunset. An insecure person could say that it’s a photo of a man lost in the woods. A single image can be interpreted differently by different people.
The way we perceive reality differs, so our interpretation of art differs too. I think art is the interpretation of reality through the mind of the artist. But the result is also subject to interpretation. So everybody takes from art what they need at a certain moment in time and space.
I’ve seen the setting sun shining trough the rain this evening, and I remembered about this photo. Sometimes the most interesting moments and unplanned. I was returning after a journey I made to photograph a cave (more on cave photography in the future I hope), and the day didn’t turn so well. It started raining, I had a long drive and the rain was just pouring down and it was really tiring to keep driving.
I decided to pull over to rest and see the landscape. I got off from the car and only took a few steps and the sun started shining trough the clouds and back-lighting the rain drops. I ran around like crazy trying to find something nice to highlight this beautiful phenomenon and found a tree on the meadow.
I had my 90mm lens with me, and it prove to be enough to frame this shot. I used a wide aperture (f2.8) to be able to have a fast shutter speed (1/200) to “freeze” the raindrops. Seeing them backlit by the sun always seems special to me even when I am just observing and I don’t have my camera with me, so I am really glad that I got this shot. It really seems magical to me.
There are a lot of hidden valleys that are still unexplored near the place that I live. I often go trough these wild valleys in search of natural wonders and inspiration, and there isn’t a single time I come back without finding something really interesting and worth photographing. You can’t access these places with any kind of transportation, there isn’t any cell phone signal and even GPS signal because of the huge steep cliffs that border the various valleys, so these places feel really remote and wild. Because of this isolation, they have managed to remain pretty much uncharted. It is always a relief to explore such places.
This is a photo take on the same tour as the macro shot here. The river that shaped these rocks and formed beautiful steep gorges still flows today and has a permanent stream of water, so advancing is really difficult. There are also fallen trees and branches that are obstructing the way, not to mention the narrow path that someone exploring this place has to follow. I remember that the first time I was there I really wanted to go further and see new wonders awaiting me around the corner, but the water was just too high so I had to call it a day. I returned many times and every time I managed to go a bit further than the last time, finding some of the most giant caves and some of the most beautiful gorges I have ever seen. Sometimes it’s difficult to come back in one piece, and I have found myself stranded on narrow steep pieces of land because of the rain, but nothing beats the feeling of discovering new things even after years of exploration.
The photo above was taken on an autumn day, the leaves not quite fallen from the trees. The human figure you see is my brother, with whom I was in quite a few risky situations due to our desire to uncover the secrets of this valley. I needed a human silhouette so the viewer would get a feeling of the size of the cliffs, so I told him to go forward and used an ultra-wide angle lens to capture this shot. I used a f 11 aperture to have everything in focus, and the shortest shutter speed that the light and my lens allowed. This kind of photos are usually used for environmental campaigns and also – like many of my photos – for horror movies posters. I think it has something to do with the unknown, the mystery of such photos, because they give a sense that you don’t know what may come after the next corner. I really like this feeling too, so I will be taking and posting more images from this place in the future. The “hidden valley” series is always expanding.
Although I usually like muted tones, earth colors and atmospheric landscapes, I also enjoy looking for special patches of color in nature, small details that can be easily omitted by the naked eye. I like searching for interesting colors and textures in nature and then capturing them with my macro lens. I won’t get too technical, I use a 90 mm macro lens that does it’s job quite well. Looking closely I can find subjects that evade my sight when I am out to find bigger landscapes.
The photo above was taken when I was exploring a very interesting and hidden valley, while resting for a couple of minutes. What caught my eye was the really thick spider web with sand grains in it, but I realized I was looking at something interesting when I spotted the colors in the background, so I spend some time trying to capture something unique, and I am really glad I did because this is one of the most appreciated abstract photos of mine. It manages to have a strange atmosphere even though the colors are happier than usual.
I think it’s the micro-cosmos that captivates me in these kinds of images. It’s all about scale. Our world is huge compared to the tiny micro world, but tiny when compared to the immensity of space, just a sand grain caught in the web of time and space. This is why I like these small worlds I encounter on my journeys.