I wanted to make a blog to showcase some more pictures of Colorado, from my most recent trip there, last October (2011). I took these pictures on my android phone using the Retro Cam app, which is the same app I used for the majority of my photo essay (#pe) pictures of Camden, NJ.
While some of these photos are not as clear as others I’ve shared in previous blog posts, I think that the filters from the app (which act like different kinds of lenses or cameras), add an interesting dimension to the natural world. To me, some of the photos invoke a feeling of nostalgia, others show fear or confusion, and so on. Therefore, filtering the images (even through an app on a cell phone) can enhance and manipulate them to tell different stories, rather than simply depicting what is there.
Interestingly, despite the different stories in each photograph, all were taken on the same hike, on the same mountain, on the same afternoon. I will try my best to post the photographs in the chronological order in which they were taken, allowing viewers or readers to “join me on the hike,” in a sense. Let’s begin.
The two photographs above were taken at about the same time of day (close to noon), at the beginning of the hike, in about the same position (in regards to the sun). However, the use of the Pinhole filter (1st image), creates intense shadows, making the nature light seem as though it were closer to evening than it really was. Because both the reflections and the water line (in the 1st image) are non-distinct, it presents the water in a foreboding way, as if to say, “You don’t know what lurks below the surface.” However, I also find that image beautiful. Both pictures make use of diagonal lines in their composition, yet I still find the 1st image more interesting because of the mysteries the shadows create.
In the series of 3 photographs above, the 1st 2 are virtually the same shot with different filters, although you’ll notice I did a much better job capturing the sky in the 1st image. The first image was taken with the Little Orange Box filter, which provides orange and red hues as well as a shaky border. The hues of the mountain and trees in the first image contrast nicely with the blue sky; however, they are not true to nature.
The 2nd and 3rd images in the series above were taken using the FudgeCan filter, which provides medium contrast with a light vignetting effect. Because of my position in relation to the sun, the 3rd picture came out much better than the 2nd, by allowing us to see the true colors of the mountain and sky. Similarly, the composition of the 3rd photograph is much better than the 2nd.
The photograph above, also taken with the FudgeCan filter, is one of my favorite from the hike. We had reached the top of the mountain and had a lovely view of the surrounding area. The mountain in the background is named the Sleeping Giant, and from certain angles, it looks like a giant lying on its side, asleep in a fetal-like position with its hands resting underneath its face. While the image is peaceful and serene, it starkly contrasts with the Sleeping Giant’s history.
I haven’t been able to verify the credibility of this story, but one of the Alpine Taxi drivers (who tend to have a lot of knowledge about the area) told me that the Sleeping Giant is cursed. When white settlers moved into Steamboat Springs and the surrounding Yampa Valley area, they forced out the Native Americans who originally inhabited the land. The driver said that in their anger, the Native Americans cursed the mountain of the Sleeping Giant so that settlers would not be able to step foot on it. He said that despite the incredible beauty of the views on the Sleeping Giant, no one can hike it even to this day because it is ridden with rattle snakes.
I did however, find information about another curse of the Yampa Valley, one which I can personally attest is true, having been there 5 times in a 4 year span (my first visit was in March 2008). The same website provided this information about the legend of the Sleeping Giant, which verifies that rattle snakes are indeed prevalent there.
The series of 4 photographs above were taken towards the end of the hike, after we had made our way back down the mountain. The first photo (Little Orange Box filter) shows some aspen trees in the foreground with the alpine tree line behind them. The aspens are the tall skinny trees with whitish bark and yellow leaves. In the last picture in the series, taken with the Hipsteroku filter, you can see the aspen’s bark up close.
Despite the motion blur in the 3rd photo (also taken with the Hipsteroku), I thought that the blending of colors and movement created an interesting story–perhaps one that involves disorientation or feeling lost.
Finally, the 2nd picture in the series, the carcass taken with the Pinhole filter, tells a story of death, decomposition, and perhaps rebirth. While the Pinhole filter dramatizes the image, the natural setting balances it. You can see how the grass has begun to grow over top of the carcass, showing us the cycle of life in nature–a more benign context than those often associated with death: loss, grief, violence, illness, etc. However, we still don’t know how the animal died, so we cannot say for sure it didn’t suffer or that this was just a part of nature.
I’ll leave you with one more image from my hike (taken with the Hipsteroku). In the following photo, the sun had begun to go down, and because the Retro Cam doesn’t use flash, I was unsure if the image would turn out. I found myself very pleased with the results because the photograph feels like a natural ending.