I started out shooting the 'old fashioned way' with a 4x5' field camera and by creating color transparencies. I then scanned them at either 1200 or 2400 dpi. Every effort is made to match the original transparency.
That said, there was a time when I developed cataracts, and scanning and preparing images for this website became difficult. Now that I've had surgery and can see clearly again, some of the images seem a bit too saturated in color. That's because cataracts mute colors. It's like looking through window covered with a film of grime and dirt.
The challenge and reward in 4x5' landscape photography is to capture things as they really are, and get the exposure just right. And at over $6 a shot, it pays to be very selective. The images that resulted from using a 4x5 field camera will have a ratio of 4 to 5 in their dimensions (i.e. someone could purchase a 24 x 30 print)
There's an old saying in landscape photography, 'f16 and BE THERE'. That's still true, except it's usually f45 (and sometimes f 64 or higher) with a 4x5 camera and lenses. It's all about being there at the right time and capturing the right light. Many places in these photos don't look anything like the images below at other times of the day. Nearly every image here was done either before sunrise, or after sunset, or that hour or less of sweet light time after sunrise or just before sunset.
I have three images that have won awards. 'Sunset Sandstone' was the Grand Prize Winner in the 2005 National Landscape Conservation System photo contest. 'The Surprise' was also the Utah State prize winner for that same contest. 'Devil's Bathtub' was the Outdoor Illinois Magazine (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) Grand Prize winner for 2004. Many other images have appeared in calendars, magazine, books and as post cards of Utah and the Southwest.
I've switched to using a Nikon D800, a 36 megapixel camera about 3 years ago. Now, most of the images on my web pages were taken with the D800. It's an amazing camera, and allows you to capture scenes much as they appear to you when you are standing there. Even those with high contrast and a wide range of light between highlights and shadows. It comes about as close to what my eye sees as is technologically possible at this point. And does so much better than I ever could with a 4x5 and filters. Not to mention that I end up with some very big files from which to make prints, and it saves a lot of wear and tear on my knees now that I don't have to carry 40 lbs of 4x5 equipment..
But the rule above still applies. 'f16 and be there', except I usually keep the f stop set at 22. And I use the 'Active D Lighting' and 'HDR' functions quite a bit.
I hope you enjoy these images and it encourages you to venture out into the natural world and find moments like these for yourself. Bring a camera if you've got one, and ask someone to join you if you'd like, but above all else, GO. Time and life are our only real possessions.
Ray Mathis joined Pixels.com Licensing on December 9th, 2012.