The White Mountains 2012: Day 6

Friday, August 10, 2012

On the morning of Day 6, I had the much appreciated opportunity to sleep in. Climbing steep slopes at high elevation for the past 5 days left my my body sore, and the hard ground was quite comfortable.

I spent the morning scouting the Schulman Grove. This time, I kept an eye out for close-up shots. There are many very wonderful trees in this grove, but I didn’t find anything comparable to shot I captured yesterday.

I returned to the Patriarch Grove later that morning, and scouted a grove far to the south of the main area. Many of the trees here were large and quite healthy — not exactly what I was looking for. I stumbled upon a large bristlecone that was recently sheered in half. The needles were still green on the fallen portion, and fresh sap was oozed from the wound. There must have been a violent thunderstorm with high winds just before my arrival.

After spending much of the day scouting, I found one last subject — the root system of a toppled Bristlecone Pine. The shallow roots bore the same tortured appearance as the rest of the tree. I waited until dusk to shoot a series of photos. I shot a roll of Velvia 50 while there was still enough light, then loaded a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 for some long exposures. The final exposure was taken during the blue hour, and lasted 7 minutes @ f/32.

I felt a sense of satisfaction when I returned to my truck that evening. It was a great trip, but I looked forward to my drive home the next morning.

Methuselah’s Grasp | Kodak Ektar 100 120 | Fuji GX617 | 7 min @ f/32

9 Responses to “The White Mountains 2012: Day 6”

  1. dougdolde Says:

    Love this pano of the roots. Very unique. Have to say your first pano doesn’t work for me though.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      One of the fun things about the 6×17 is that I can use it for closeup panos just as easily as distance panos. I was definitely fighting the velvia a bit on the first pano shot I posted. I really wish I had shot a roll of color neg film for that location. The more I work with color neg film, the more I appreciate what it has to offer with regard to color, tone, and contrast. This last shot was my wife’s favorite one from the trip. She loves dead trees.

  2. Kris Pearson Says:

    Thanks for creating these posts (w/videos). I know how long it takes to put these things together and you’ve done a great job. I will continue to follow (and support) as long as you can continue. Any hints on where you’re headed next trip???

    • Ben Horne Says:

      Thanks Kris! It definitely takes a lot of time to put everything together, but it’s certainly a labor of love.

      My next trip is not too far off. I’ll be going on a multi-day backpacking trip (with my complete 8×10 kit + video gear) — then it’s off to Zion for some wonderful fall color. This will be my first experience backpacking with the 8×10, so we’ll see how that goes!

  3. Jeremy Calow Says:

    Ben, i have to say I have enjoyed this trip quite a bit, and those trees have soo much character that just really can’t be expressed through an image – though you have done a darn fine job!.. With this last shot I think the web display just isn’t doing it enough justice. Just looks a touch underexposed on my screen, though truth be told I am on an uncalibrated laptop in Oslo right now so can’t be 100% sure..

    Keep up the good work!

    • Ben Horne Says:

      Thanks for the kind words Jeremy, and thanks for following along on my journey. With this last shot, I was going for a darkish — almost cinematic look. It was taken essentially at night, though I do have full tonality on the negative. I found that if I show too much detail, it didn’t leave anything to the imagination. This was my primary edit. I often return to my images later down the line, and completely re-think the process. I appreciate the feedback!

  4. Laura Says:

    Thanks as always for taking us along on your journeys Ben. Can’t wait for the next one!

  5. Max Says:

    That structure is really impressive.. And those colors, wow

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