Category Archives: Abstract Photos

Abstract photos of landscapes and wildlife by Carl Donohue

Photography; gear matters

Bald Eagle Portrait, Homer, Alaska.

An adult Bald Eagle silhouetted headshot, on perch, Homer, Alaska. (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). This photo was taken with photo equipment, by a photographer. The 2 worked together. The eagle co-operated only briefly. Pesky eagles. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I read it again last night. This nonsense has to stop. Why do photographers so often have such a hard time simply acknowledging that what we do is inherently technological? As such, technological advances (i.e., new gear) can (and typically do) play an enormous role in the work we produce. Perhaps much more so than most other art forms.

You’ve all seen the kind of commentary I’m talking about; another piece about how painters don’t talk endlessly about their paintbrushes. Or, even more inanely, how if Art Wolfe were to shoot with a P&S camera, he’d still produce a remarkable portfolio. It’s the photographer, not the camera, that produces great work, blah, blah, blay.

Right? Continue reading

For Martin


Kuskulana Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

An ice cave on the Kuskulana Glacier, in the Wrangell Mountains. Winter snow and freezing temperatures ice up the water of the Kuskulana River, and the this wall of ice is a myriad of patterns, colors, and textures. Kuskulana Glacier, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” ≈ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King.

Cheers

Carl

Boreal Forest at Dawn

Morning reflection, beaver pond, Wrangell St. Elias

Morning reflection, beaver pond, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Here’s a quick shot from my recent few weeks in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. I’m leaving in the morning for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and will return in 2 weeks. I’ll try to post something from that trip then. Until that time, I hope you enjoy this scene.

This photo was taken maybe an hour after dawn – around 4:30 am.

Cheers

Carl

The art of nature

Silhouette of a bald eagle, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska.

A bald eagle headshot, silhouetted against a glowing sunset, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska. Click the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

I read a great blog on art yesterday, by Paul Grecian. The subject was a play on the aural equivalent of the old adage, ‘if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it does it make a sound’. Paul takes the viewpoint that art is a human pursuit, and exists only when it has a human audience. “If there is no human to perceive it and translate the experience into an emotion, then there is no art” – I’m not so sure I subscribe to that idea, for a number of reasons.

I think art is a verb; art is something we do. The results of that process might be nice to look at, or not, or nice to listen to, but the essence of art is creating. The act of creating is where art lies, not the products of that process. And we are not at all the sole creators. An American Tree Sparrow calling the tune of the alpine country is as artful as Joshua Bell playing a Beethoven concerto. The dance of the Japanese Red Crowned Crane is glorious. A Bower bird’s building her nest? The song of the wolf pack over the frozen night air is as spell-binding as Aretha or Stevie on a good day, no? What distinguishes human art from the performances of our fellow creatures, other than our own ability (and endeavours) to relate to it?

Art is essentially play. Continue reading

More from the St. Elias mountains and the movie Mount St. Elias

Vertical frame of a steep wall of the St. Elias mountain Range, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Fluting and deep power on the St. Elias mountains. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click on the image for a larger version.

Hey Folks,

As promised, more photos from the St. Elias mountains. An aerial I shot on one of the most gorgeous days I’ve ever been out shooting. On the subject of the newly released film, Mount St. Elias:

Few people realize just how special these mountains are. Everyone knows Denali, of course, and the Himalayas, but the St. Elias mountains just don’t seem to have caught the public eye like these others. I suspect it’s because they’re full of  “seconds”: 2nd highest mountain in the US (Mount. St. Elias, second highest mountain Canada (Mount St. Elias, also known as Boundary Peak 186, sits on the US/Canada border), 2nd highest mountain in North America (Mt. Logan in Canada is in the St. Elias range). We’re a culture of competition, and there really ain’t no second prize. Continue reading

Mount St. Elias – the Film

Aerial view of a mountain in the St. Elias Mountain Range, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Looking down from a great height at some of the amazing escarpments in the St. Elias Mountain Range, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Hey Folks,

Have you ever thought about climbing the 2nd highest mountain in the US, the 2nd highest mountain in Canada, the 3rd highest mountain in North America, the mountain with the greatest vertical relief of any mountain in the world so you can ski from top to bottom? From 18 008′ to the sea? If so, this movie’s for you. Mount St. Elias. 2 Austrian mountaineers and an American freeski mountaineer set out to run the “ultimate vertical descent” – 18 000 of skiing from the summit of Mount St. Elias to the sea, to Icy Bay. Pretty amazing stuff to watch, I can’t begin to imagine what that kind of endeavor must be like.

“If you want to achieve something great, you have to risk more than usual – that’s the way it is.” — (Axel Naglich) Continue reading

Fall color, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park

Fall in the boreal forest, aspen tree trunks, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Fall in the boreal forest, aspen tree trunks, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Hey Folks,

A quick visit back to September; the boreal forest is a melange of color in the fall. The vibrancy of the Alaska woods in the fall is a function, perhaps, of the speed at which the dramatic changes take place. The green foliage of summer glimpses the oncoming winter and is gone in the blink of an eye; one last hurrah of color before settling in, nestled beneath the whites of winter.

Cheers

Carl

Blurred Aspen boles

Camera panning blurs the boles of Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Camera panning blurs the boles of Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s a follow up to my most recent post of this small aspen stand in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Aspens aren’t doing so well in the warming climate we’re seeing in the world today. It’s more than a shame, they’re such a magnificent tree.  I remember the first time I ever camped beneath the canopy of a stand of aspen, not far off the Resurrection Pass Trail in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. A quick dinner of pasta and tuna, some cocoa and a Milky Way for dessert, and my sleeping bag called my name; just as I settled in to that beautiful state of semi-consciousness between wakefulness and sleep, those moments when all the world is your friend, a slight breeze rustled through the forest, the indescribable sound instantly hooking my complete attention. Continue reading

Quaking Aspen bole blurs

Careful panning of the camera, during a long exposure, blurs the boles of these aspen, Wrangell - St. Elias national Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I was looking through some older images tonight, and found this one from last fall. This is from a little stand of Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) that I’ve photographed a few times. I’d actually been looking for some wildlife to photograph, but was thwarted yet again in my quest, so, as the light faded, I headed for this stand of aspen. I had photographed them a number of times, but never really played with the camera panning technique here before. This was a situation where digital photography was a real help; I could take an image, review the frame on the LCD on the back of the camera, and see what I liked, or disliked, and figure out what I needed to do in order to create the kind of image I was looking for.

Now, generally I don’t post the ‘photo techs’ on images, because I think to do is largely useless information. Continue reading