Subtle Shifts: Photo Tip

Subtle Shifts

Sometimes it only takes a very minor shift in time and or space to dramatically change an image.  This effect can be especially dramatic when shooting water or people.   I saw this very clearly during a recent hike in the Sierra Nevada, when I shot two pairs of nearly identical pictures.  For the first frame of each pair, I was standing up.  For the second, I was simply squatting in exactly the same place.  What a difference!   Without keeping in mind how much things shift when you move even subtly in any direction, I would have missed the frames I like the best.


How did that get there?

En route to a big wall climb in remote Queen Maud Land, where I assumed that nothing but birds and occasional people ever visited, we discovered this mummified crabeater seal – more than 100 miles inland and 5,000 feet above sea level. There is no way any Antarctic predator could have carried it here, because anything big enough can only swim, and neither could it have blown here, because the incessant winds here almost always howl away from the South Pole (hence the polished ice.)  The only explanation is that it propelled itself this far just through sheer perseverance and flipper-power. Talk about being tragically misguided!

© Gordon Wiltsie

4th of July

Sometimes I just get lucky.  On the Fourth of July I joined friends for a picnic at their house above Bozeman and the sky celebrated with a light show.  Every one of these pictures was shot between 8 and 11pm without even leaving their back porch (except for lighting our own fireworks.)  They do have a pretty nice view!

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Weekly Photos 7/18/11

During a miserable 6-week climbing expedition to peaks above the Chilean fjords, violent storms sometimes trapped us with little to eat in cold, dripping snow caves.  At our hungriest, we rationed freeze-dried eggs and triple brewed tea bags off the floor.

Pickings were better at sea level.  Once, we spotted a fishing boat and traded a bottle of pisco for some shellfish gathered by a SCUBA diver.  But there was a deadly Red Tide.  “How do you know these are safe?” we asked.

“We have a laboratory!” exclaimed the captain proudly.  Inside his filthy wheelhouse was a big tin can containing three mice.  “We feed them the mussels and if they die, we go home.”

Another time we caught our own fish, which no one has yet been able to identify for me.  It might have been endangered.

In both cases, though, little matter.  When you’re hungry, you eat what’s there!



Welcome to AlpenImage Photography Blog by Gordon Wiltsie

Hello everyone!  I am excited for the opportunity to share more of my favorite photography, stories, tips and thoughts.  I will do my best to update this with some of my favorite photography.  Especially little know or never-published images.  In fact, I have just recently rediscovered some of these images after years of sitting in the AlpenImage stacks.  I would also like to share some of the interesting and unique stories behind these images.  I would love any feedback and will do my best to answer any questions.  Thank you for your support and the more importantly in your interest in the art of photography.

Weekly Photo 7/15/11

It seems fitting to begin my new series, “Photo(s) of the Week” with one of my earliest published images: “Songs of the Vertical Desert.” I made this in 1974 in a tiny bathroom/darkroom while I was still a student UC Santa Cruz (way before PhotoShop!) The climber is near the top of Half Dome, morphing into Tibetan Buddhist monks from Nepal.