Located deep in South Texas against the border of Mexico, Big Bend National Park has some of the darkest skies in the continental United States. For several weeks in the winter, very faint Zodiacal light is visible a few hours after sunset above the horizon where the sun sets. It’s an uncommon and beautiful celestial phenomenon that I’ve witnessed only several times and I had the pleasure of observing it on this trip. The color and shape of the wintering ocotillo provides a contrast with the brilliantly colored sky pattern and black foreground in this minimalist desert scene.
I attended the opening reception and awards presentation for the 2021 National Photography Show that was put on by the Lincoln Gallery in Loveland, Colorado. “Breathe” was awarded first prize in the color photography division. I felt blessed and satisfied.
I’m really picky about the shows and exhibitions I enter. I choose to enter only the most competitive ones in the US with jurors that are internationally recognized. Scott Wilson was the juror of this show. He is an accomplished international landscape and nature photographer whose work has been featured in many magazines. He has won many awards for his work.
Having a piece invited to one of these shows is a great accomplishment whether or not it wins an award. There were over 400 entries and 35 pieces were accepted. There were only four pieces that were night scenes and two were mine. I consider my work to be cutting edge and out of the box. I am happy to see that my “painting with light” aesthetic is making inroads into the more traditional photography medium.
This beautiful depression era automobile is exemplary of the artistic and sophisticated designs of that period. Long abandoned, it is now slowly melting into the arid Nevada desert. Yet there is beauty in the breakdown. The faded yellow paint harmonizes with rust and dirt. The backlit Cholla cacti add interest and depth to the scene. The jagged mountains convey the ruggedness of this wasteland. The pure blue starry sky contrasts with the earthy colors below. The bright red interior lighting of the car completes the primary color triad in the scene.
This elegant sandpipe stands by itself reaching high above the desert floor. Its substantial form is unusual compared with its rugged surroundings among sagebrush and junipers. One is left wondering about its origins. The earthy colors are enhanced by carefully painting them with light to accentuate textures. The interesting sky features star trails with the Milky Way drifting into the scene adding drama and motion. The background of the desert was exposed at the end of twilight providing just enough light to capture its beautiful details.
Here is the other piece of mine that was accepted to the 2021 National Photography Show put on by the Lincoln Gallery in Loveland, Colorado.
Light Play was created on a recent trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. In this scene, I wanted to show the flowing forms of the dunes along with their interesting textures. After more than an hour of wandering, I found this one.
Here, the sand ripples in the foreground create leading lines inviting the viewer to experience the rest of the scene. Light, textures, and shadows create interest on the overlapping dunes as they recede into the background. The late summer Milk Way in the brilliant dark blue sky creates a backdrop and adds context to this location.
Breathe was selected for the 2021 National Photography Show being held at the Lincoln Gallery in Loveland, Colorado from November 3rd through December 3rd. I’m honored that two of my pieces were selected for this highly competitive juried show. My aesthetic is to create art that begins with photography and then builds upon it with various post-processing techniques on my computer. I see my work as a continuum between the two and I carefully plan my photography based upon how I want the final image to appear. Many traditional photographic social media sites and shows will not permit pieces like mine however more are embracing these newer art forms. At this point, we are a tiny worldwide community but we are making inroads into the more traditional photographic communities.
Here is more about Breathe on my web site: https://lightpaintingjeffmaresh.com/product/breathe/
Bryce Canyon National Park is best known for its brightly colored tall pinnacles and hoodoos, and the steep and narrow trails one must navigate through the maze. At night, light painted features become radiant. This composition was chosen because of the hoodoos that overlap in the distance creating depth, and the foreground trail which adds scale to scene. The star trails around Polaris and an azure sky contrast nicely with the warm earth tones of the terrain. While my visit to Bryce was during a busier part of the season, it was rare to encounter anyone in the canyon late at night.
View the piece on my web site here: https://lightpaintingjeffmaresh.com/product/radiant-bryce-canyon-photography/
Great Sand Dunes National Park seems out of place with its location in a high valley in Colorado. Unlike other landscape subjects, the windy dunes are always changing which guarantees that no two photos will ever be alike. I had imagined this scene a year earlier. But it wasn’t obvious when I found it since it was a dark moonless night. As I gazed across the dunes on my hike back to the parking lot, the image flashed in my mind’s eye. It has all of the qualities that I wanted – sand ripples in the foreground, soft overlapping dunes in the background, and it faced north which would result in the circular star trail pattern. It was satisfying to create this sublime scene out of darkness.
View the piece on my web site here: https://lightpaintingjeffmaresh.com/product/rhythmic-excursion/
This dramatic scene was created on a very windy night with a rising full moon. The tall pinnacle is prominently featured. Its substantial form creates the appearance of stability and permanence. Its eroding base and other foreground features add context to this remote location and contrasts with the different textures of the pinnacle. The two pinnacles in deep shadow add depth and help balance the scene. The moon low in the sky adds drama. The blue sky supports the expansiveness of this desert.
View the piece on my web site here: https://lightpaintingjeffmaresh.com/product/loner/
I enjoy creating scenes with the moon visible when it’s low on the horizon. It’s intuitive for me to harmonize my light painting with its dramatic light to create a darker and more mysterious yet peaceful mood. The light from the moon accentuates the shapes and textures of desert foliage in the foreground. The gnarly Joshua tree adds interest and helps break up the skyline. The dimly lit rocks in the background create depth and illustrate the ruggedness of this desert. The autumn Milky Way is barely visible just to the left of the prominent rock on the right of the scene.
View the piece on my web site here: https://lightpaintingjeffmaresh.com/product/solitary/