Daily Jim pics 40

Okay, so, part of the idea of doing a ‘routine’ on your blog is to goad yourself towards making regular posts, which helps visitors find something new nearly every time they come by. And one of the hazards of this is that you’re obligated to be creating new content, even when you might not necessarily have something strong to post. A lot of sites suffer from this now, putting up stuff that’s not terribly interesting, or even searching other sites to repost or copy their content.

I started the Daily Jim pics to handle a large number of photos forwarded to me by Jim Kramer, following his productive trip out west. Which is fine. But now that I’m finding myself with very little time while I still have a couple of subjects that I can be tackling, I’m spending it fulfilling this daily obligation while letting other content slide. So now that we’ve hit forty days, I may be letting this flood subside a little in order to get some more of my own content up. There will still be Jim’s pics coming, just not quite daily, with more interspersing of my pics and/or curious self-absorbed ruminations.

For now, we travel to the “Badlands” of South Dakota, appropriately if unoriginally named. I prefer, “the Realm of Disreputability,” or, “Geologically Forbidding Locale.”

rock spire in South Dakota Badlands by James L. Kramer
The rock formations are stark enough, but made even more dramatic by the contrast with the clear deep blue sky; some clouds would have reduced the impact. But we’re going to compare this against another photo to see just what I was talking about with lighting in some earlier posts.

nearly two-dimensional rock peaks in South Dakota Badlands by James L. Kramer
The light angle is only a little bit different here, now almost directly behind Jim, but it’s changed the appearance significantly. The hills have gone much flatter, becoming almost two-dimensional without the sharp shadows to define the ridges and valleys.

Portrait and studio and macro photographers can position the light sources for maximum impact, of course, but for landscapes it’s a bit more demanding. Unless you want to spend a lot of money on some really huge lightstands, you have three options: 1) Pick another time of day when the light is at a better angle; 2) Pick a different section of landscape that shows the relief and defining shadows better; or 3) Move around (sometimes a lot) to position yourself in a more optimal spot in relation to the sun. Obviously, getting just the right effect might take a bit of effort or time.

Oh, yeah, I forgot the fourth option: carry around a lot of thin dark stain to paint in the shadows that you want. That way, you’d even be able to create textures where none actually existed. Sculptors have wasted a lot of time actually shaping the rock to their liking, the idiots…