By: Alain Briot
In late January, 2000, Alain Briot, Michael Reichmann and Steve Kossack spent 4 days shooting together in the national parks region near Moab, in Southern Utah. This page contains a portfolio from that trip by Alain. You may also view both Michael's and Steve's work from this trip and compare their styles and approaches to the same subject matter.
Alain's work is a mix of medium format, large format and 617 panoramic. Michael's is medium format and 24X65mm panoramic, and Steve shot 35mm exclusively on this trip.
I have photographed this rather uncommon weather condition on several occasions at Grand Canyon National Park without much success. The clouds, although exciting visually, appeared flat and overexposed on my photographs and gave the impression that the landscape was hovering above the ground. I was thus slightly wary of getting similar results in this instance. For this reason I decided to use a strong foreground to give a visual horizon to the image and help the viewer know where the ground is. The relationship between this solid foreground and the more airy background help give a visual strength to this image.
Photographed with a Fuji GA 645zi on Kodak Portra 160VC color negative film
The only sunrise with direct sunlight we experienced during this trip!
We had been waiting since before dawn in Arches National Park, near Courthouse Towers, hoping that the sun would finally break through and reward us with light and photographic opportunities. And it did. I used a dead Juniper tree to give a sense of location and depth as well. This tree also helped create a variation in shape between the sharp edges of the sandstone formation and the more rounded outline of the tree.
Prior to getting to this exciting overlook onto the Goosenecks of the Colorado River below Dead Horse Point I had visualized an image in which bright horizontal light etched exciting foreground rock patterns. However, when we got there the sun was nowhere to be seen, veiled under a thick blanket of clouds. I decided to persist with my visualization and compose an image similar to the one I had in mind, except with soft light.
Photographed with a Linhoff 4x5 field camera, 75mm 4.5 Schneider lens on Kodak PRN 100 film with a 1-stop graduated neutral density filter.
Taken during a January afternoon storm this photograph shows an active weather situation. The conditions were constantly changing and it was tempting to become solely focused on the exciting patterns created by fog moving in and out of the buttes in the background. However, I felt it was equally important to give a sense of space and locale to the image. I used the fence to give the viewer a way to walk through the panoramic composition. I wanted to entice the viewer's eyes into a complex journey through this photograph.
Photographed with a Fuji GX617 panoramic camera with 90mm lens and center filter on Agfa Ultra 50 film.
Shot in very soft light at sunrise (the sun was hidden by clouds). I relied on a strong composition to offset the lack of direct sunlight. I have shot this same image during a bright morning with orange light illuminating the sandstone cliffs. Brilliant sunlight makes this scene very colorful and exciting. Still, I find a certain poetic quality to this softer image which shows the primeval qualities of the land in a subdued and yet powerful manner.
Linhoff 4x5 field camera with 6x12 Horseman roll film back and Kodak PRN 100 film
This photograph was shot in soft light during an overcast afternoon. The shape of the overhang in which these petroglyphs are located, together with the low ambient light and the high color saturation film I was using, combined to create the remarkable color contrast exhibited in the photograph. To me it metaphorically represents the mystery and aura embodied in these Anasazi petroglyphs. They seem to glow from within, as if there was a presence behind them inside the rock face on which they were carved.
Taken with a Fuji GA 645zi on Kodak Portra 160 VC film
You may wish to look at Michael Reichmann's photograph of this same subject, taken at the same time.
I worked with reflections for a long time before discovering this image. It had been raining on and off and rain pools were all around me. However, I wanted more than just cloud reflections in them and I kept looking for a strong background which would reflect in the pools. The large butte in this image had always been there but behind my back! It's only when I turned around that it revealed itself to me as the subject. I used black and white to emphasize the graphic and abstract quality of the scene.
Photographed with a Fuji GA 645zi on Kodak PN 400 film
For a completely different image taken in the same place at the same time by Michael Reichmann, click here.
All text and photographs on this page are Copyright © 2000 by Alain Briot