Immense, Silent, and Sacred

I have released a beautiful 46-page 8″x8″ softcover book containing eighteen of my photographs exhibited during The National Park Service:100 Years-California Dreaming exhibition at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento, California. These eighteen images span many years of my work in Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park.

Books purchased through my website are signed/autographed. Immense, Silent, and Sacred can be fully previewed at MagCloud. Please note than purchases through MagCloud are unsigned/not autographed. Digital downloads are also available.

It has never been easier or less expensive to own my photographs in print form (that’s a little more than $1 per photo). Many thanks in advance for your support and purchases!

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website. You can also find Michael

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Photograph: Phoenix Rising

The incredible vaulted ceiling of St. Giles Cathedral. Edinburgh, Scotland.

The incredible vaulted ceiling of St. Giles Cathedral. Edinburgh, Scotland.

I am not religious but I’ll walk into virtually any old cathedral. I love the wonderful ancient aromas of copal and/or frankincense and love to marvel at architecture built with incredible love, skill, and attention to detail. During my recent travel to Scotland, I was drawn again into the beautiful St. Giles Cathedral (my first time was ten years previous) and quietly pondered its architecture and the scores of people who sought spiritual relief throughout its history. St. Giles is incredibly old; the present church dates from the late 14th century, although it was extensively restored in the 19th century.

Should you make your way to Edinburgh, Scotland, I recommend exploring this cathedral (inside and out) – it’s right near the Edinburgh Castle. Photographers who like details will find both the interior and exterior pregnant with opportunity (am I allowed to use the word “pregnant” in concert with “cathedral”?), and they’ll be pleased to discover a policy which permits vital tripod use (for a mere £2).

See a larger version of the photograph here or by clicking on the image above (click LARGER VIEW under the caption).

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website. You can also find Michael on Facebook and Google+.

Photograph: Sliver

Late afternoon canyon light illuminates a rocky outcrop of California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus). Joshua Tree National Park, California.

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website. You can also find Michael on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Photo: Salvation: The Joshua Tree

Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia); Mojave National Preserve.

I’ve lived within a short drive of Joshua trees my entire life. Only a handful of years ago did I begin to consider these “trees” (it is a Yucca plant, not a tree) as something more than ordinary blips on the landscape – they are very common throughout the Mojave desert. I began to observe tourists posing with beautiful specimens, and realized that all along I had been taking for granted the remarkable Joshua tree. I’d spent years walking among them and recreating and photographing in their shadows, yet I had rarely trained my camera on the Joshua tree itself. They all looked ordinary and the same. And then one day my eyes were suddenly opened to their incredible uniqueness and individuality, and I began to seek out extraordinary specimens to photograph.

It’s quite difficult to find unique qualities in individual pines and aspens, for example; they all look very similar, and the unique aesthetic qualities each tree might possess are primarily hidden by their sameness. Quite the contrary with Joshua trees. Take a walk in any Joshua tree woodland and you will immediately observe that almost no two trees are alike. My wandering imagination got the better of me, and I began to see these specimens as individuals like humans, and sought to capture them in a portrait-like fashion. The Joshua Tree series was born.

Technical details: The Joshua Tree photographs are made with a 4×5″ view camera and black and white sheet film. Almost all the photographs have been made with a century-old Wollensak Verito lens which lends a soft-focus pictorial quality to the photographs. Why this approach over a modern lens and complete sharpness throughout? I like to involve and engage viewers. Sharp and detailed photographs don’t often leave much room for the imagination; there are no spaces to fill, no questions to ask, no thoughts to ponder. Easy ingestion and easy abandon, if you will, with one quick sweep of the eyes. I find that combining a mixture of sharp and soft elements side-by-side keeps my eyes and mind engaged; collectors and fans of these photographs seem to agree. I hope that you’ll enjoy them, too.

Purchase a print of this photograph for as little as $39…

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

Valley Portal

I made this photograph on Monday, December 7, during a beautiful winter storm in Yosemite Valley (see this post for more info). Frankly, I haven’t worked in such poor conditions for some time! When I first spied this scene, it was windy and snowing heavily. I did not let this stop me from setting up the camera, yet for nearly an hour following the setup, I fought to expose a sheet of film. The snow was deep; my dark cloth was blowing around; my ground glass and lens kept fogging; snow kept landing on the front element of the lens; I was covered in snow; and ultimately, it was simply snowing too heavily to make the photograph I had hoped to make. But I couldn’t quit it, as the idea of this image gnawed at me. So I fought the conditions for an hour, using randomly placed expletives along the way, and finally got my negative exposed. And then the idea of the image once again bugged me and bugged me until I finally got the chance to develop film a couple of days ago.

And now I am at peace. When I have business to attend to and can’t get away, this photograph will serve as my magical portal to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Happy Holidays, folks! Thanks for staying tuned to my blog during 2009!

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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Rare Earth

Factory Butte and Henry Mountains photo, picture. Large format black and white photograph.I made this photograph before dawn in Utah’s Caineville Badlands (east of capitol Reef National Park) one October 2009 morning. That’s Factory Butte on the right and the Henry Mountains on the left. Nearby, my good friend Guy Tal was making his own photograph. Out of sight from each other and enveloped by silence, our minds quieted. And all was right in the world.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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Making the Photograph: The American Dream

The American Dream

The American Dream

The California desert is littered with the abandoned homes of prospectors, vagabonds, and dreamers. Some came to strike it rich; some came to escape the city; some came to get away from others. All became too familiar with the trials and tribulations of living on the desert – it ain’t easy. The money runs out, the water runs out, or the patience runs out, and what’s left long behind are the forgotten possessions and stories of those who tried but failed.

A few years back, during the midst of the summer monsoon on the Mojave Desert, I used the often useful WWW (indeed, there is more to it than just Facebook and Twitter) to watch radar and satellites to determine the locations of the fattest thunderheads. And then I went chasing.

Some have assumed that this photograph is a composite. No way! This was the scene as I found it; I have not digitally added or changed the clouds. The unusual lighting adds in some part to the suspicion, I suspect, as the entire foreground is in open shade, while the cloud structure receives full sun. This beautiful Cumulonimbus cloud structure was fortuitously “parked” behind the abandoned structure and building in volume, and the addition of the Joshua trees on the left side made me excited (the desert equivalent of an old oak tree in the yard!). I used my 4×5″ large format view camera, black and white film, and an orange filter. The final look of this photograph came at the printing stage, where I turned the sky black for maximum impact and imparted the overall look and feel I was after.

Just in time for the holidays: purchase a beautiful 8″ Mini-Print (made with pure carbon pigment inks on archival cotton rag, mounted/matted to 11×14″) for only $50. Larger prints are also available.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website

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