Image No.5 and No. 6

The Colonades, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 5 – The Colonnades, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

Image no. 5 and No. 6

Once the sun has risen just over the horizon and lost that beautiful red glow, I generally begin to search in areas of shadow, especially where there might be reflected light, for images of textures or graphic in nature. Most often the shadows will reflect the blue in the sky if it is clear, and even more so if the area is very light or white in tone. If you are able to combine that with reflected light from warm toned rock, the interplay of light can sometimes be extraordinary.
It is in such an area right in back of the Egg Factory that I found this erosional grouping where the deep shadows reflected the intense blue sky and warm reflected light from a wall nearby kept the outer areas warm toned. But the Bisti is just one entire erosional display where you will find an almost endless supply of various shaped and sized eroded pedestals, hoodoos, rock and whatnot around every corner. And it is always a race against the sunlight to find something that you want to photograph before it is no longer completely in shadow.

The Colonades B+W, Bisti Badlands, NM

The Colonnades B+W, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

After finishing the post processing of the color image, I though it’s strong graphic would lend itself to black and white and went ahead and converted it to B + W. Some photographs work well as both while others work only in color or only in black and white.
On another day in a different area after the sunrise, I found this pillar with a cap rock in complete shade. While the subject of the first photo was actually part of the wall, this pillar was completely free-standing with the wall in the background. Some post processing helped to make the pedestal separate a bit more from the wall behind.

The Pedestal, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 6 – The Pedestal, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia

One thing I learned from an online video was a technique used by Disney animators to separate a subject from the background: warm tones were used for the subject while cool (blue) tones were used in the background. It works amazingly well. Another technique is a difference in tonal value where darker tones recede and lighter tones advance in the frame. If either of these techniques can be incorporated into an image, it enhances the feeling of depth throughout the scene, to give a two-dimensional photograph a three-dimensional look.


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