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Sean Unruh's profile photoDoug Wing's profile photoEric Wehmeyer's profile photoFrank Rehse's profile photo
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Complexity. When you've got lots of detail to deal with in a scene, it gets very tricky trying to compose something that works. The natural inclinations are two: (1) back out to reveal everything; and (2) zoom in and isolate one thing. This scene is obviously neither. There's certainly much more to this Yellowstone geological feature than you see here (obviously so, as it spills off every edge of the frame). There's also compelling detail in this scene. Hard to tell at this size, but at the very tip of the stick at the left is a very interesting dragonfly. Yes, I took both those other shots, but they don't work for me as well as this one does, because I couldn't find a story in them. When confronted with complex scenes, I try to find a story, even if that story is a mystery.
 
Love the texture, Thom. Nice to see u on here too!
 
Thom, love the photo, but what is it? It reminds me of the springs creating the calcified hills of Pammukale, Turkey. But amidst the deposits there, you don't see trees spared/breaking through. Can you elaborate on the shot?
 
It's a formation between the Lower and Upper Terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. What you can't see in this version is that there is a clear layer of water running down this calcification.
 
So glad to see you posting here Thom! Keep up the amazing work!
 
The branches going out of the frame at the upper right bother me, but I love the texture. Amazing how much Mammoth changes over time; in October 2009 the formations were covered in water, but in June of 2011 almost everything was dry.
 
Yes, very mysterious and I am trying to understand the dragonfly part of the mystery. It feels somewhat like I am looking back in time..
 
The textures are amazing. It also looks like those waterfall/river long exposures shots, but then, it's not. I think however that at this scale, the little insect may be irrelevant. The overall mystery is much more powerful here.
 
Beautiful shot... reminds me of flowing hair :)
 
A photograph to pique curiosity. When printed, I bet the stories (compelling detail) will drag you right in to the image. Nice.
 
Very interesting photo, very different, makes me want to visit Yellowstone and thanks for sharing your analysis of the work.
 
Good afternoon. Very strange feelings for me when looking at your photo. Is it soft or hard, is it mineral, vegetal or something else ? Did the brown sponge came rapidly and incorporate the existing trees or, at the opposite, did the plants grow slowly in the holes of the sponge ? Lots of questions : photo that instigates curiosity.
 
Lots of complexity but lots of order (and relationships) I think as well (reminds me a bit of that Hawaii photo a few years back in OP that Franz Lanting took in the sense of there is order amidst all of the complexity.
 
One of my first thoughts on this photo was I like the patterns, but I don't like the composition. I've been in visual situations like that SO many times and failed to come up with a solution nearly every time. The few successes I've had were usually a deeper intimacy with my subject matter. Only after entering into an internal conversation with the landscape does the solution come. Whether its right then and I find a different creative state of mind or I come back at some other point and the revelation comes, its a creative problem that I usually solve through better understanding or further familiarity or intimacy with my subject...
 
What a crazy shot. Can't even tell what's going on at a distance. I don't know if I like it, and the composition feels uncomfortable to me, but the sheer bizarre look makes it at least interesting if not 'pleasant'. It makes me want to back out and see just what the heck I'm looking at.
 
It sorta looks like burlwood... or some other stone surface from afar... then you get closer and it looks like nasty water. It's definitely a conversation piece, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
 
@sean: If people AREN'T talking about your images, then something is wrong. As readers of my Web site know, I don't hold this picture (or any of the others that I post there) out to be any particular gem, but I try not to post images that provoke yawn-and-skip-to-next-thing responses. For those that don't read my Web site regularly, this is one of what I call a Teaching Point Picture. I pick one image that illustrates a specific point I want to make, not an image I want everyone to ooh and ahh over. Note that in my explanation of "complexity," the teaching point here, I DIDN'T say that I felt I was successful in telling the story of what was going on. I only said that there WAS a story here. Pictures can fail. Mine sometimes do. This one is a little tricky in that respect. At the small size posted I'd say it does fail. Printed larger, the story is more obvious, though still complex and difficult to see in a glance.
 
Thanks, Thom! Every time I try to get news from bythom, I spend enough time on the first screen reading your Teaching Point.
Good to hear opinions from the other side, too. Don't you think, Thom?
 
Thanks for sharing, a good teaching point!
CW Daly
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Looks like a fur factory exploded. Hard to tell how big the trees are. Might be deceivingly bigger or smaller scene.
 
At first I thought it was a river at flood stage. Hard to tell what scale and perspective are.
 
Wait, it's not a river at flood stage?
 
No, it's not a river at flood stage. As noted earlier, it's calcification at Yellowstone. Water is certainly involved (and you can't quite make out the clear water at this image size), but it's the build-up of mineral deposits you're looking at. That's one of the fascinating things about Yellowstone: there are many very unusual and complex subjects to shoot. This part is near the top of an enormous formation of terraces that form the Lower Mammoth Hot Springs.
 
I would love to see a bigger version of this one. I had the hardest time figuring out what I was looking at because of the complexity of the composition and my unfamiliarity with the subject. I read the caption and still I had absolutely no sense of scale, until I spotted the dragonfly. If not for this detail I could not have wrapped my mind around this one. The dragonfly was the "must have" inclusion to solve the mental puzzle for me.
Thanks for sharing your teaching points in this interactive way!
 
It looks almost as if its a painting. It looks very nice.
 
Thom wanted to ask you for a long time. Do you think at base ISO 100 Nikon D7000 is able to capture as good details as D700? So far I am getting pretty darn good results in RAW with D7000.
 
right Ortiz. My question is if we have everything in place then which is better?
 
I can see this is going to be one of the problems with Google+. Basically a thread with a picture is now hijacked to ask questions about something else. I'm not likely to respond to off topic queries like that. I haven't stopped answering emails guys...
 
hmm that is a problem Thom. Sorry!! The problem is you are a mostly known for being a Nikon GURU and that image of your made me ask a question about the cameras. May be I need to have a different image of yours. Feel free to remove that question. Maybe I will email you or try to find answer elsewhere.
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