This week I published some new images from Patagonia on this very website.
My previous visits to Patagonia yielded monochromatic, often dark toned, images. I felt at the time, this really summed up my view of this landscape. Seems I may have been too quick to judge as this year I found myself confronted with a softer, lighter view of the place.
I think the appreciation of what I saw and how I interpreted Torres del Paine this year was influenced heavily by my visit to Hokkaido last December.
Since that visit, I feel my images have been moving towards the higher registers of tonality. Rather than focussing on the dark tones and 'drama', I now feel I've found a few more octaves of light to play with.
Like a singer who stays in the middle range of their voice for safety, I'm curious if this is what most of us photographers do with the tonal subjects we shoot. Most of what we do resides in the safer tones. Yet, by pushing the exposures to the extreme outer edges of our comfort tones, we may find some new things to say in our work.
In this new work, there is a mixture of dark images and as well as lighter ones. The skill I feel, is to marry them so they feel part of the same set.
Tones and tonality has become something I'm very obsessed with over the past few years. I think it's easy enough to make nice images these days, but to really make your images stand out, or to go that extra mile, I feel an understanding or tones and relationships between them is vital.
Returning to the same places time and again is a tortuous thing for me to go through. Not only am I so fortunate to return to Patagonia on a yearly basis, but each year it feels as if the place sets me new challenges, new homework. The benefits are enormous. Through this process, I get to grown as a photographer in some way.
What I like most about this years work, is that I made photographs of lesser, iconic views. I've never shot Lago Pehoe before without the Cuernos mountain range in the background. The mountain range always seems to dominate my view of the place. It's therefore unusual for me to make more abstract or intimate compositions.
At Lago Sarmiento we had no view of the Paine massif, and this was very freeing. I felt I could concentrate more on the shore and the rock formations there. Sometimes the Paine massive is just too magnetic. It can over dominate the scene.