That is pretty much how I would describe the four weeks of my artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center during the month of November. And that is a great thing! It would be hard for me to describe the amazing energy that is felt when you are surrounded by 50 other artists; very talented painters, sculptors, performers, writers, poets…. where ages ranged from the mid 20′s through the 60′s, with individuals from around the country, (several from around the world) and with such diverse backgrounds. I was technically the only photographer there, so that either made me very special or the crazy lone wolf. (Probably the latter.) And another great part of this residency was the only schedule one had was the mealtimes. Oh, and by the way, we were fed very well.
My approach on how I worked was quite different during this residency. Instead of exploring through hiking and kayaking (too cold as it was November), I traveled around northern Vermont by car, exploring the many back roads, which by the way are not paved. Hunting season was in full swing at this time, and though I had my bright orange hat to wear, I didn’t feel like risking my life. (Snakes and alligators in the Everglades, I can handle.) The land in northern Vermont is absolutely beautiful… surrounded by mountains and farmland, dotted by little villages. It snowed in the high mountains the first week I was there, but it never reached the lower plains. But to my surprise the colors in November were still wonderful. I ended up photographing some of the similar subject matter that I do enjoy capturing, but I began experimenting more with long exposures which I was excited about. I was trying to capture a more surreal and ethereal feel to my images. The best weather to really be shooting were overcast days or partial sun with clouds… and wind. It became a running joke that I would be upset when it was bright and sunny outside. (A good day to work in the studio… or go antique shopping!)
I have enclosed some of my favorite images from my journey. Enjoy!
Long Exposure Work!
Patterns, textures, layers…. graphical work!
Additions to my “What Remains” collection! Unfortunately there were many abandoned homes along my journeys.
First Snowfall of the year in the high mountain peaks… Smugglers Notch.
**UPDATE** — It was announced that my image is one of the WINNERS in the Backstory Theme!
Celebrity director, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, has chosen my image to inspire his film!
*You can see Biz Stone’s selections plus a video of why he chose each of the images for his film.
Very exciting opportunity! I have sent the word out and now I wanted to share on my blog….to help keep it out there!!!
THANK YOU ALL for VOTING!!! ****Please keep on voting each day until September 24!!! (Leave a comment too!)
Canon has announced Project Imaginat10n, the first photography-inspired film festival in history where consumer photographs will inspire Hollywood films directed by five celebrities. Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, Biz Stone, Georgina Chapman and James Murphy have signed on board for this endeavor and Ron Howard will be mentoring them along the way.
Please Register to Vote: imagination.usa.canon.com Click on ‘Gallery’ — ‘Browse Themes’ — ‘Backstory’ — ‘FINALISTS’ — Find Photo “DRY DOCK” (click on the gray checkmark)
go directly to the image and log in: https://www.longliveimagination.com/gallery/photo/46634
(Sorry, I have been told the voting process is not the easiest… but I really appreciate your effort!)
Of the thirty (30) finalists, the seven (7) photos that have the highest amount of votes in each theme will become winners. Ron Howard and Canon will select three (3) other finalists’ photos to become winners, for a total of ten (10) winners per theme.
The Final 10 Winners in each theme will have their photos considered by Canon’s celebrity directors during the making of their films.
View last years Project Imagina8ion short movie directed by Ron Howard. “When You Find Me”
Thank you all for your Vote and Support!!! — Danielle
So just after two months returning home from the Everglades, I have gone from the very south (yes I know, Hawaii is further south) to the far north to Alaska this May! I love this Country!
So many of you had asked how the rest of my Everglades trip was….. OUTSTANDING!!! It was an amazing experience, but to be honest I believe I have only just scratched the surface to exploring this land. But I had a great time, met some amazing people; from the staff, to the researchers, to the volunteers and other visitors… and in the end, I think I made some fantastic images. I really look forward to going back… there are only a few places I love to visit over and over again, and the Everglades is most definitely one of them!
Please visit the gallery, “Portraits of the Glades” to see my favorites!
To the KENAI PENINSULA of ALASKA I went with the sole purpose to explore and photograph. I traveled with fellow photographer Dawn Benko, www.dawnbenko.com…. we did a lot of hiking and one day out on the water for me. What is very cool is how two photographers trekking together can see things so differently…. even photographing the same subject had different results.
So the weather was a mixture of sun and clouds throughout our trip and since Alaska had a very hard and late winter, spring really hadn’t started on most of the Peninsula. But then I love cloudy weather. Since I normally don’t shoot majestic landscapes… intimate portraits of my subjects within their environment is more my style… this was a bit of a challenge for me. But I think I had some success… but I guess that is for all of you to decide. Enjoy!!
To see the my full selection of 50 images, visit the gallery, ” http://www.danielleausten.com/442020/kenai-peninsula/
*(You will see more and more my attraction to abstractions, sharp contrasts and very graphical images … but of course a few cute creatures are included as well.)
A few from the Peaks Series… became a study of the clouds and how they move across the mountains.
A few abstractions…
A few landscapes…
A few Eagles…
A few other creatures…
And a few final shots…
Odds and Ends….. and of course more birds!
For many photographers we have our off days… go out shooting and come back with not a thing we really like. Unfortunately I felt my last week was a little like that. (okay, there a few photos I like)
But I did see a few cool things along my travels. First, not sure if many of you know that down here in the glades is one of the few places you will find Gators and Crocodiles sharing the waters. There is a small group that hang out down in Flamingo (the southern point of the Everglades). This one in particular was a big boy who came by to give us a show… but notice he is missing part of his lower jaw and has no teeth…. I guess he didn’t have a good dental plan.
Now this BIG CROCODILE hangs out at Nine Mile Pond. This was as close as I was going to get in my kayak… since he was bigger then my kayak! By the way, he has ALL HIS TEETH! Check out the pearly whites on him. He also looks to eat very well.
So on Valentines Day I noticed 2 Opsrey chit chatting in a tree together and then all the sudden one flew away, came back around and landed on the back of the other. Now I believe that Osprey are done mating for the season since there are chics in many of the nests. But the one flew off again and came back in and landed on the other again…. any ideas?… I have just never seen this before.
So out canoeing the other day in Nobel Hammock, which is all winding mangroves… I remember why I like my kayak so much. But I was out with one my neighbors/ranger and we came up on this Green Heron who was stalking lunch and he just wasn’t budging as he was blocking our path. So we waited for awhile for the sun to come along and light him up! At this point we wanted to move on… I got within 2 feet of this bird before he did move… I honestly believe I could of reached out and touched it… AMAZING! Thanks again Levi, for your patience while I was shooting! (hopefully I spelled your name right)
***Oh, and by the way I finally saw my first Cottonmouth Moccasin (one of the poisonous ones) swimming in the water. Levi was excited… me, not so much.
I have only seen White Pelicans far out in Florida Bay, or out in Everglades City. But a few decided to make a stop further up in the park into Mrazek Pond. While the others finally took off, one stayed behind to feed.
**So here are the ones I did like… ENJOY! (excuse the dust on the pics…the camera has gotten very dusty down here)
Birds, Alligators, Crocodiles…OH MY!!!!
The one thing I cannot get enough of in the Everglades is the Wildlife… especially the birds! In the past five years while visiting the glades, I have noticed the amount of birds that come and go… all controlled by what is going on in the environment. The Everglades has probably the largest concentration of wading birds on the continent. But if you can imagine that back in the early part of the 20th century, it was described by John Muir, the founder of Sierra Club, that the skies were blackened with flocks of birds… and sad to say that 93% of the bird population is now gone.
But in my second week here, I have enjoyed seeing a few birds up close. For years I have been trying to photograph the Roseate Spoonbill, with no luck… in one day, bingo! I had no idea their eyes were red as well. These are three different ones that I came across.
Now my favorite bird down here is the Wood Stork. They are actually on the endangered species list. But in the past few years they have been making a come back at the glades! This one I came across on Shark Valley… he allowed me to get within 10 feet of him. A face only a mother would love! (This is an immature one, his bill is yellowish and he feathers are a dingy grey)
And there is just something about a Wood Stork sitting on a bald cypress…. haunting! Perfect together!
Another elusive bird is the American Bittern. This one is trying to hide himself in the reeds by stretching his neck… but notice how is eyes are still focused on me! Amazing!
Enjoy some of my bird portraits that are enclosed!!!!
Watch for SNAKES!!! … and I am not talking Burmes Pythons either!
There is something to be said about “ignorance is bliss”….in the previous years visiting the everglades I had never given much thought about snakes… boy was that stupid. There are 4 poisonous snakes out here in the glades and the one to be most worried about is the Cotton Mouth Moccasin… especially since they may hold their ground and attack. And the best place to find them is right off the road where the terrain changes, which by the way is usually where I am standing and photographing. I have never spent so much time looking down when all I want to do is look up and around. But in my first week of my residency, I am happy to report I have not seen any snakes!
I have though seen my first alligator hole, up close and personal…. no gator in it at the time… and by the way, avoid these as well. I was actually on a Slough Slog. We get off road and walk right into a Cypress Dome. The Everglades sits on limestone and there are large holes in the stone where water can get deep and this allows Cypress to grow quite large… from a distance they look like islands. (and this is where gators and snakes like to hang out)
This is the DRY Season….right?
So February is to be one the driest months in the winter season… someone forgot to give that message to Mother Nature. Apparently it had not rained in the past two months… but it has rained on and off for the past 4 days and when it is dead grey out, it is not the most ideal for shooting, but good for a bike ride.
Here at the Everglades they have volunteers that come in and live here for the 4 month season, Dec-April. They are mostly retirees coming from the north, either with their campers or staying in the adjacent apartments right in the everglades. Really nice people… I am being fed well. (so much for the idea of loosing a few pounds this month) But my point of bringing this up is that these volunteers do many of the tours in the park… and my neighbor, Barb, took me for a private tour in the Pines and way off road into one of the parks Restoration Project areas. Here we spotted BLACK BEAR tracks. Strange as it may be, there are apparently about 5+ black bears that live out here. We think there may have also been some panther tracks… not sure though.
The LIGHT changes so quickly!
What I have noticed with the rainy weather this past week, is that the light changes so quickly and you can wait for an hour to get the light back. So you may be sitting in one spot, the clouds will roll in and off down the road it will be sunny! But you can’t move… once you do, the light will come back and the darn clouds will have moved down the road with you. Me and Murphy’s Law… such a relationship we have!
It is breathtaking out here… and a little overwhelming… to much to photograph… and time is flying by quickly!
*A LITTLE KNOWN FACT… There are 8 Ecosystems in the Everglades within only 8 feet of elevation. That’s impressive!