on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Touching the Surface

Philip Moylan

Philip Moylan

Published many years ago in Audubon and other nature magazines along with Audubon calendars and Sierra Club books. In year 2000 switched to 4x5 colour images using chrome film. Sold prints to corporate clients and collectors. In 2011 after a hiatus in imaging due to family challenges, added digital, moving to 36 mp cameras in 2014.

In my 40 years of surveilling for special locations to self advantage colour imaging, I happened upon several "sacred" places, temples if you will, which provided an opportunity for a wide colour gamut of reflected light on fluid surfaces. Stained glass windows, if you will. These are unusual treasures for the image maker as in a variety of seasons and lighting, they offer almost infinite variety with an application of specialised technique and appropriate visual acuity i.e., the ability to previsualize outcomes after assessing light, proper exposure, and the notorious nemesis, the wind. Why bother trying to obtain proper photos in such fleeting circumstances? The simple answer is the complex colour schemes which result that at times approach 2d abstract painting, even to a verisimilitude of brush strokes.

Thankfully digital tech allows for multiple images in short order, as outcomes do shift dramatically in nanoseconds, subject of course to the vicissitudes of wind impacting surfaces. Certainly, the direction, angle and strength of sunlight provides the diverse possibility in hues.

In my experience, the most subjectively beautiful effect is when strong "big blue" light at lower angle hits those natural objects surrounding and the informed light indirectly passes to the calm water's surface, as if one is knowing and viewing their god obliquely. A temple of exquisite beauty seen infrequently in fleeting moments (and I used to believe photographing birds was difficult).

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