landscapes

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Photography

Towering Plumes of Volcanic Smoke Mix With Streaks of Lightning in Photographs by Francisco Negroni

July 16, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Francisco Negroni, shared with the artist’s permission

Chilean freelance photographer Francisco Negroni captures nature at its most rambunctious, with a particular focus on volcanic eruptions and lightning storms. In his work, bright orange and red streaks of lava burst from mountains, enormous plumes of smoke overtake the horizon, and dramatic lightning strikes connect the earth and sky. The photographer originally studied advertising photography and tourism, but once he witnessed his first volcano, he knew that it would be his focus going forward.

Colossal spoke with Negroni about his strategies for braving the elements and capturing just the right moments:

When I go outside to take photographs, I try to leave with the images in my mind: I imagine what I am going or want to achieve that day in that place… Although many times I don’t get what I imagined or thought would be a good photograph, and I get others that I couldn’t have imagined and they are much better, it’s strange. But almost always I work in a direct documentation, with an idea in base, but trying to always obtain an understanding of something more difficult for the spectator.

Due to the expenses and difficulties of traveling in the Chilean backcountry, Negroni carefully tracks  upcoming eruptions and risk factors to maximize the potential of each trip. He travels light, only with a backpack containing a laptop, camera, tripod, and three lenses, and he camps in his car for longer excursions.  Presently, Negroni shoots for reporters and journalists, and has published his work with National Geographic, the Associated Press, and Terra. You can see more of his weather and landscape photographs, which are also available as prints, on his website. For the adventurous, Negroni also leads personalized tours and workshops.

 

 



Art

Meticulous Acrylic Paintings by Shawn Huckins Erase Historic Works from the White House Art Collection

June 26, 2018

Andrew LaSane

“My Button Is Bigger Than Your Button” (Marquis De Lafayette, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 7)

At first glance, Colorado-based artist Shawn Huckins’ “Erasure” series looks like a collection of images that have been altered using a digital eraser tool to reveal the empty checkered pattern layer beneath. A closer look reveals that the works are actually meticulously detailed acrylic paintings, recreations selected from the White House Art Collection. Superimposed on the works are hand-painted erasure marks that serve as a commentary on the ideas of history, legacy, and whether or not those things can be wiped away in the present.

While the patterned marks range from measured and uniform to seemingly haphazard flourishes, for Huckins the resulting “obliteration” of history is the same. “The underlying works chosen for this series originally served as testaments of those who came before us and the indelible mark they left on the world, in a very short time, not so long ago,” the artist said in a statement. “In an era where the internet makes everyone a publisher, and digital editing tools bestow the power to create realities out of pixels, The Erasures forces us to examine our assumptions regarding the longevity of individual influence and institutions, thus raising enormous questions concerning the fragility of legacy.”

Huckins shares with Colossal that the collection of paintings are his “response to the current US administration’s policies and ethics surrounding a divisive country.” In his statement he poses several questions to the viewer about one person’s ability to “erase the impact of another,” whether or not longstanding ideals are more easily erased than recent progress, and how the events of today will be “recorded, judged and preserved when anyone can create, or re-create, his or her own reality with a keystroke, or a mouse-swipe, or a dead-of-night tweet?”

Shawn Huckins will debut 18 paintings from the Erasure series as a part of an upcoming solo exhibition titled Fool’s Gold, which opens at Modernism Gallery’s new space in San Francisco on July 11, 2018.

“Nothing Rhymes With Orange” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 5)

“If Only I Could Remember Your Name” (Mary Elizabeth Woodbury, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 8)

“The Most Beautiful Place Is Far From Here” (Rocky Mountain Scene, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 16)

“Loneliness Of Leaker” (John Adams, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 20)

“He Said. She Said. She Said.” (Julia Gardiner Tyler, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 18)

“Tell It Like It Was” (First Lady Caroline Harrison, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 3)

“Planet B” (Pastoral Landscape, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 6)

“Me, Myself, And Hypocrisy” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 13)

 

 



Design

The Japanese Mini Truck Garden Contest is a Whole New Genre in Landscaping

June 8, 2018

Johnny Strategy

The Kei Truck, or kei-tora for short, is a tiny but practical vehicle that originated in Japan. Although these days it’s widely used throughout Asia and other parts of the world, in Japan you’ll often see them used in the construction and agriculture industries as they can maneuver through small side streets and easily park. And in a more recent turn of events, apparently they’re also used as a canvas for gardening contests.

The Kei Truck Garden Contest is an annual event sponsored by the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors. Numerous landscaping contractors from around Japan participate by arriving on site with their mini trucks and then spending several hours transforming the cargo bed into a garden.

Other than using the kei truck there are very few limitations and landscapers have incorporated everything from benches and aquariums to elements of lighting into their designs. Judges then rank the entries based on planning, expression, design, execution and environment.

We’ve included a few of our favorite entries here but you can see more on the website of the Osaka branch, as well as this PDF from the Hanshin branch. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Photography

Vivid Rainbow Roads Trace Illuminated Pathways Across Forests and Beaches

June 6, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Daniel Mercadante has a slate of unique films under his belt, made in partnership with his wife Katina, as The Mercadantes, including Ball and Breathe. More recently, Daniel has been exploring the still image in a colorful series called Rainbow Road. The Mercadantes were based in California for many years, but after a move to rural Connecticut, Daniel looked for a way to add some warmth to the chilly blue hour during the Northeast’s long winters.

Using long exposure photography and a  custom built lighting rig covered in colored gels, the process of creating the images is surprisingly simple: the roads are created by Daniel running around with the lighting rig. No other post-production manipulation occurs, other than basic color and exposure balancing. The photographer explains to Colossal, “after so many years focused on the moving image, I’ve struggled with singularly caught moments in still imagery—so I love how this project still requires images to be captured over 15sec-1 minute, so in some way they require the same passages of time that a shot in one of our short films might.”

In addition to their Connecticut Rainbow Roads (which Daniel divulges may have a distant relation to the Mario Kart pathways of his youth) the Mercadantes have taken this colorful project to Guatemala, where local kids chose the photo shoot locations. Daniel reports that they hope to continue traveling with their low-tech, high-color Roads. You can see more from the Mercadantes on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 



Photography

Swirling Star Trails Captured Over the Namib Desert by Daniel Kordan

May 8, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan is a master of photographing the cosmos. In 2016 we covered his journey to the Salar de Uyuni, where he captured millions of brilliantly hued stars reflected in the world’s largest salt flat. Recently, Kordan returned from a trip to Namibia where he mapped swirling trails of stars above the Deadvlei, a white clay pan speckled with the 900-year-old tree skeletons, and other sites across the Namib desert.

The images feature vortexes of multi-colored stars streaked across the sky like post-impressionist paintings. The Milky Way’s warm and cool tones intermix to create a kaleidoscopic vision of the sky above, and illuminate the barren desert landscape below. To capture such images yourself, Kordan suggests creating a time lapse with a wide angle lens, and utilizing an app like PhotoPills which allows you to easily predict the position of the stars.

You can see more of Kordan’s exploration through Namibia in the images below, and view his photographs from other locations across the globe on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Photography

A Rare Glimpse at a Deserted Great Wall of China Captured by Andres Gallardo Albajar

April 19, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

This past February architectural photographer Andres Gallardo Albajar traveled to the Great Wall of China where he was able to take in a rare sight—one of the seven wonders of the world without a single soul to be seen. Albajar had expected to create the same tourist-filled images as others who visited the architectural feat, however when he arrived he found a thick fog encapsulating the structure. The dense cover may have been a deterrent for tourists, but this particular weather added further mystery to the deserted landscape Albajar captured in this recent series.

“I was expecting big amounts of people, even lines to access or things like that, but for my surprise there was very few people, which allowed me to capture the wall with no people, which in my opinion helps to create a more surreal and magic feeling,” Albajar tells Colossal.

You can view more of the Spanish photographer’s work, including his multi-part series on urban geometry, on his website, Instagram, and Behance.

 

 



Photography

A New Infrared View of the Dolomites by Paolo Pettigiani Shows Craggy Landscapes in Cotton Candy Colors

March 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

26-year old photographer Paolo Pettigiani (previously) has been taking pictures since age 11, and in the last few years has produced several series of eye-popping infrared images. Pettigiani’s most recent work showcases the Dolomites, a craggy mountain range in the northeastern region of his native Italy.

Infrared photography uses a special film or light sensor that processes the usually not-visible wavelengths of infrared light (specifically near-infrared, as opposed to far-infrared, which is used in thermal imaging.) The resulting images from Pettigiani depict the stands of coniferous trees as watermelon-pink, while surfaces that don’t reflect IR light stay more true to their nature hues. You can see more of the artist’s photographs on his website, as well as on Behance and Instagram. Pettigiani also offers prints of his work via Lumas.