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Southwest Landscape Fine Art Landscape Photography

Alan Ley

Blog #4 of 4




January 3rd, 2013 - 04:25 PM

Southwest Landscape Fine Art Landscape Photography

Hi, and welcome to my Landscape Photography site. I hope youíll enjoy my images as much as I enjoy creating them. Before I discuss how and why I created these images, Iíll tell you a little about myself.
Iíve spent most of my adult life as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. My formal education consists of a B.S. in Chemistry, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Environmental engineering. The Post hole Digger I acquired in vain attempt to get out of the semiconductor business. I hate being indoors and working in a clean room is about as indoors as you can get without being in a crypt. Unfortunately, by the time I finished it, I was too old and too typecast to get any kind of job actually doing Environmental Engineering. Instead, I taught it as an adjunct for three years. I enjoyed teaching a lot, but despaired of ever getting a full-time teaching job (age!). Eventually, I was lured away from teaching (and Dallas) for yet another semiconductor job in Albuquerque. Throughout my time in Dallas (decades), Iíd made annual escapes to Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, to backpack and climb. And I always had a camera and usually a monstrously heavy tripod. Most of my early attempts were less than spectacular. At the time, I blamed it on cheap equipment. In retrospect, I think itís just plain hard to make good landscape images when youíre doing something else.
Living in Albuquerque gave me a lot more access to photo-worthy subjects. The job, unfortunately, turned out to be not so good. Iíd been pretty careful with my money, so the decision to hang up my slide rule (yeah, Iím that old) wasnít all that painful. After investing some of that hard-earned money in some high-end equipment, I set out to create the best landscape images of the Southwest that I could manage. Youíll find some of them here. Starting out, Iíve made a lot of pilgrimages to classic locations. While theyíre beautiful, going forward, Iíll be spending more of my time off of the beaten path looking for original compositions. Thereís only so many ways to photograph Delicate Arch. And convincing people to stop doing the YMCA dance underneath it for five minutes so I can click the shutter is probably more of a challenge than my engineering-level tact and diplomacy can handle. I hope youíll check in from time to time let me know if you see something you like.

I said that I wanted to discuss some of my images. Iíll start out with this one:
Longs Peak is a classic Colorado climb and one heck of a beautiful mountain. A couple of years ago I was staying at the Colorado Mountain School dorm after backpacking through the Maroon Bells wilderness and really wrenching my back. I wanted to capture Longs at sunrise reflecting in Chasm Lake and I thought that the hike would do my back some good. So I set out at three in the morning with a moderate amount of equipment and a tripod. This should have been an easy hike followed by a triumphant capture and an easy hike out to a good breakfast. Unfortunately, I failed to ask the guides at the climbing school about condition of the trail. About halfway up, the trail turned into beaten-down, frozen over snow that was about as slippery as owl-poop. And my micro-spikes were back in Albuquerque. By the time I finally got to Chasm Lake, the sun was up and it was clear there would be no reflections on the lake. After a bunch of head scratching, I settled on this composition and headed out. I managed to get back in time for lunch. The next day my back was in agony and I stupidly went for a guided climb on lumpy ridge. It didnít turn out to be one of the highlights of my climbing career, but thanks to a very capable guide, I lived to flail again. And while this isnít the image I set out to make, I ended up liking is so much that have big framed print of it in the middle of my living room.

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