In September of 2017, I managed to come across two used Heidelberg Tango drum scanners. One of which was fully functional, the other unit being for parts only. These behemoth's, weighing in at about 550 pounds each, were located in Arizona. In its prime, this model of drum scanner was, and still is, one of the top quality available, fetching a high five figure price tag. So what the heck is it?Read More
One of my first trips after returning home to Kansas was spending a few days sleeping and exploring the open ranges of the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. On the first evening, I returned to a familiar location, where I had exposed a few of my first sheets of 4x5 film and decided to give it another chance on 8x10. Flint and limestone deposits scatter the hills of the prairie and in early summer, after the annual spring prairie burns, they are exposed as the grasses begin to regrow around them. A summer thunderstorm moved north of the area and I had originally thought the light was going to be completely shut down by the cloud cover, but about 15 minutes before sunset, a brief window of golden light opened up for a matter of minutes. It was enough time for me to expose two sheets of film, one of which was subjected to a bit a bit of a light leak. I guess I could consider myself lucky that I pulled this one off.
The Flint Hills of Kansas is a beautiful place, both in its landscape and its details. Entire hillsides are dotted in limestone and flint deposits and can stretch for miles. These are evidence of an ancient seabed, which once stretched through Kansas and have since left gorgeous boulders scattered across the entire landscape. In late spring, after the annual prairie burns, the grasslands come alive with a brilliant shade of green that you have to witness to believe. Sunrise is my favorite time in the Flint Hills. Hearing the prairie awake for the day reminds me of a symphony tuning and preparing to perform a piece. The birds begin to chirp and sing, eventually taking flight, the wind slowly begins to blow, the cattle on the range awake and begin to rustle around until the sun crests the horizon, bringing light to the entire landscape. That's part of the reason the prairie will always be my home.
While spending a few nights out in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas, I had the wonderful experience of waking up to this beautiful sunrise. Hearing the creak of the old windmill in the slight, early morning breeze, the whisper of the Kansas tallgrass prairie, and the whooping sounds of the common nighthawks is truly experiencing the open prairie and is unlike any other landscape I've ever photographed. It's home to me. This is the Kansas I know and love.
- Camera: Arca Swiss F-Line Metric with Micrometric Orbix 8x10
- Lens: Schneider Symmar-S 240mm f/5.6
- Exposure: 4 seconds @ f/22
- Film: Fuji Velvia 50
- Tripod Head: Arca Swiss Cube C1
This image has been waiting to be released for quite a while. I found this vantage point almost a year ago now returned about five times waiting for the light to be just right. I exposed this image late last summer as a rare summer storm was about to hit the cliffs of Big Sur. As the storm moved in, about fifteen minutes after the sun had set, the clouds erupted in a bizarre purple hue unlike I had ever seen in this particular location. I only had time to expose one sheet of film for a 2 minute exposure before the light had changed and the color was gone. On the way home that evening, lightning was hitting the sides of the cliffs. Coming from Kansas, close encounters with lightning doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, but in Big Sur...or really anywhere in California, that's some big news. Talk about a crazy night!
I also had help on this particular evening. Thanks, Charlie.
This was also the first 8x10 image I have had professionally drum scanned on an Aztek drum scanner. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is essentially the highest quality digitally converted image you can get. To give you an idea of just how detailed this photograph is, below is a 100% crop of this image.
Yes, that's a house, and yes, we are all quite envious of this individual's back yard. But the point is, this is a single exposed image and I can almost bet none of you can find where this house is in the full sized image. With that being said, this image can be printed with incredible detail and clarity up to 48x60". Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Because this was my first drum scan, I thought I'd go ahead and get it printed and framed as well, so a couple of months ago, I received the first edition, framed by my friend David at Saw and Mitre.
Here is the first edition. It's printed 24x30" on photographic paper and finished off with a beautiful walnut frame. When this image is hung, it really brings a sense of peace to the room. If you'd like this exact image (#1/90) framed as shown above, click the button below to add it to your cart!
If you'd like to purchase this image in a different size, follow the button below.
Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, especially when it comes to photography. Aside from football starting up, the MLB postseason (go Royals!), and the weather finally cooling off after a brutal 75 degree California Central Coast summer, the aspens begin their annual transition. I chase the color every year, usually in the Colorado Rockies and Arkansas hardwood forests. This year, I had a chance to explore a completely new area - the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.
I took off the weekend before my wedding to have a little bachelor getaway with my good friend Tyler Brigham and my dog, Charlie. We made a loop down past the southern region of the Sierras, through the Mojave and up to Bishop for the first night. The color around Bishop Creek and Aspendell was fantastic, but different compared to what I’ve been used to.
The groves in Colorado are something out of this world. Gigantic and mature, these organisms span entire mountain valleys and up into the alpine region of the Rockies. The groves near Bishop were small, young, and quite patchy. While still beautiful, many of the intimate scenes looking through the trees were snuffed out due to the forests being so thick and the trees being so immature.
The three panoramic photos you see above are all from the Crested Butte area near Kebler Pass. From these three photos, you can really tell the difference between the forests around the Bishop, CA area and the giant forests of Colorado. The spacious, mature trees make for incredibly unique and textural images.
Charlie had a blast on the trip. He had the chance to approve a couple exposures, meet some tourists, romp around in the wilderness, and even got to drive a little bit - his four favorite activities. The 8x10 got some good use on this past trip, and not including my evening through Yosemite on the way home (post to come later) I ended up shooting 3 sheets of film. Two of these were the aspen scene from above and the the third was from the scene below.
The aspen scene above, I've entitled "Autumn's Grasp." I spotted the scene earlier in the afternoon on the day we arrived to the area and knew I needed the perfect low contrast light to photograph it. I set up well before sunset and waited for the calm twilight to come. As the sun sank well below the mountains behind me, the warmth of the sky above reflected a gorgeous light onto the grasses and aspens. I have been forcing myself to see more "intimate landscapes." These scenes are quite difficult to compose and photograph, but I find that as an artist, I strive to search for these compositions. They can be incredibly unique and have so much to say if you let yourself into the image. I composed this photograph intentionally symmetrical. I loved how the textures and colors stacked into perfect thirds, the brown grasses, the almost purple brush, and the pine trees, with that pop of fall color directly in the center. Something new from me, that's for sure.
The white granite in the Sierra Nevadas is an absolute dream to photograph. Because of its silvery / white color, the stone reflects nearly every quality of light, especially during the twilight hours. In the photograph below, the calm twilight of sunrise sometimes known as "the blue hour" was reflected by the bright white granite foreground. Typically, I don't photograph many scenes with clear skies. Clouds add texture and interest to usually otherwise dull photograph, but this particular scene worked quite well with clear skies. With the small pops of fall color in the distance, you can almost feel the peaceful, crisp autumn morning when looking at this photograph.
Because these photographs are so new and need drum scans and go through rigorous dust and spot removal, these are all still in their early stages of proofing for print. If you'd like to get your hands on one of these early proofs, fill out the form below to shoot me an email for a chance to own one of the first prints!
Recently, I received word that one of my new pieces, Sea of Gold, received Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards in the category of Fine Art Landscapes. It was chosen to receive this award from nearly 18,000 entries worldwide. This piece has been close to me this past year, as it was one of the first images I created while living on the California Central Coast on my 4x5 camera. It was created at one of my favorite spots in Montana de Oro State Park along with my wife Jes. A large wave hit the cliff face where we were standing moments before, drenching her, but leaving my camera and me completely dry. She took a beating, but the photograph turned out to be one of my favorites I had ever created and I am beyond thrilled and honored to receive this award.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this limited edition photograph, you can click the button above. Shoot me an email, or give me a call if you have any questions or if you’d just like to order with me personally.
Thanks to everyone who continues to follow me on this journey and, as always, keep a lookout for new work coming up soon!
Michael releases one of his newest photographs, a 4x5 photograph taken on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo. This was taken at the height of the winter storms, at a stream that met the sea.Read More
Michael discusses his opinions of F-Stop Gear's newest pack called the Shinn - a pack designed with the cinematographer in mind, which is proving to be perfect for his large format 8x10 setup.Read More
In early July, I hiked into the backcountry of the Desolation Wilderness, for my first true experience of California's Sierra Nevada range near Lake Tahoe. Here, I exposed several different scenes on my large format panoramic camera. Read about the stories behind the photos and more.Read More
I've now had my Arca Swiss F-Line Metric with Micrometric Orbix for a few months now and here are my initial thoughts regarding the camera's performance and functionality, along with the quality of one sheet of 8x10 film.Read More
Michael Strickland releases his new limited edition photograph entitled "The Sea of Gold." It was taken along the central coast of California on an evening in early April.Read More
After visiting Montana de Oro State Park for the first time this past weekend, I feel so fortunate that it's located right at my back door. Montana de Oro has an incredibly rugged coastline with incredible texture that I can't wait to explore. On Saturday evening, the thick marine layer stumped any chance of golden hour light, so I decided to try to photograph a composition I had found the evening before on black and white film. I very rarely shoot in black and white, mainly because my eye is drawn to color images, but I've been trying to learn to see in monochrome. The cloudy evening fit the mood well as tide was rushing in over the rocks in the foreground. I captured this photograph on Kodak T-Max 100, which has been my favorite black and white film I've tried so far. in order to add more contrast to the scene, I decided to use a Red 23 filter, which also helped me lengthen the exposure to around 12 seconds to ensure the smooth texture of the waves. As soon as I had packed up and finished my exposures for the evening, a large wave crashed against the rock to my immediate right, which would have drenched me along with all of my gear. Coming from Kansas, I've been accustomed to the power of thunderstorms, but the ocean is on another level. Watching the water raise and lower 20-30 feet alongside a sharp rock face with every wave is an unreal experience.Read More
McWay Falls is located in a pristine cove on California's Big Sur coastline. In fact, it's one of Big Sur's main attractions, where hundreds -- if not thousands, of tourists gather each day to watch the spring-fed falls cascade into the ocean below. Typically, I don't enjoy photographing along a rail, especially among crowds of people, but this was a scene I really wanted to witness and photograph. On this particular evening, the sky was clear with a slight haze in the distance, which ended up working out better than I had thought. I exposed two sheets about 45 minutes before sunset to test the exposure latitude of two types of film, and my second two sheets I exposed as the sun barely started to touch the horizon. My positive film ended up being thrown away, as sometime during the 15 second exposure, the camera must have shaken slightly. This is the negative film, exposed for the shadows with no graduated neutral density filter, which definitely shows how much dynamic range Kodak Ektar can capture
It's definitely a beautiful location, and I hope to return again when the flowers are in bloom and the sky blows up. We can all dream, right?
- Camera: Ebony 4x5
- Lens: Nikkor 90mm f/4.5
- Exposure: 15 Seconds
- Aperture: f/32
- Film: Kodak Ektar 100
This is my first Limited Edition release of 2015, as I've started my new journey living on the Central Coast of California. Back in January, we took a quick weekend trip out to one of our favorite national parks -- Death Valley. I had never photographed DV on large format and it was only our second visit. We were greeted with an early morning sunrise that was absolutely spectacular, but due to the difficulty of focusing a large format camera in the dark and a lack of a strong composition, I did not expose a sheet of film.
That evening, the skies cleared out to our disappointment, but I went ahead and set up the shot anyways near the Devil's Golf Course, a part of Badwater Basin a bit farther to the north. About 20 minutes after the sun had set, I exposed one sheet of Fuji Velvia 50 for nearly 8 minutes. This long exposure captured the last light of day glowing above the horizon, which cast a beautiful glow across the valley.
I typically don't like to photograph scenes without clouds, but the clear skies allowed the texture and complexity of the foreground to pull the viewer into the calm, peaceful scene.
| Camera: Ebony 4x5 | Exposure: 8m | Lens: Nikkor SW 90mm f/4.5 @ f/32 | Film: Fuji Velvia 50 |