Boyd & Kathy Turner Photo


Stories and pictures about our travels, our photography and the outdoors.


Photos, Bubbles and Playtime

Sometimes when we go out to take photos I think about the "old" days. (What can I say, I'm an old guy). The old darkroom tools were fun, but the new tools are more fun.  For instance, it is so much easier to adjust contrast or change from color to black and white, maybe add a tint. These are all things that could be done in the old days with chemicals and paper. So sometimes you just have to push the envelope to see what can be done with a photo or series of photos. This crossed my mind after going out to Big Lake and the Rat Farm to hopefully take lightning pictures. Of course, things didn't go as planned. There was almost no lightning and what there was, was not close. And the wind was howling. So getting the pictures we hoped for didn't pan out. But sometimes you get something interesting anyway.

Clouds skirt around the locally infamous "Hat Creek Bubble". Taken from the Rat Farm on Big Lake.

The top picture looks back toward town and shows the Hat Creek Bubble. The Bubble (always capitalized, and usually intoned in a sneering or at least derogatory way) has existed for decades now and is known (this is not a theory but a fact) to deflect lightning and fires away from the Hat Creek Ranger District. The Bubble does collapse occasionally, usually in spiteful fits when least expected. In the top picture you can see the clouds as they part and flow around the Fall River Valley. Not a great photo (no lightning – Thanks Mr. Bubble) but I do like some of the lines leading to the cabin, both on the ground and in the sky. And it just seemed like a good subject for the monochrome approach.

Storm clouds gather downstream of the Hat Creek Bubble. 

The middle picture shows the storm clouds coalescing again to the north. Because the camera was looking into the sunset the old cabin would have been black or the sky washed out and too light if I followed the camera’s idea of perfect exposure. With modern tools I am able to blend both parts so the picture looks the way my eyes saw it.

The third photo aimed at the sunset. By this time the wind was blowing really hard and picking up lots of dust off the valley floor. I decided to really play with this photo and make it look less like a photo and more of an impression of the evening. This is an effect that would have been really difficult in the old days of enlargers, masks, and multiple exposures on one sheet of expensive color paper. Will it hang in the National Gallery of Art? Don’t think so. But it was fun to play with. And that’s the point – have some fun especially when the Hat Creek Bubble is firmly in place.

The sunset peeks from behind Mt. Shasta and from under the clouds.