Category Archives: Landscape

Mountains near Meo Vac

The mountains near Meo Vac are in an area untraveled until recently that abuts the Chinese-Vietnam border. These mountains are unusual and spectacular, with high and narrow roads. A permit is still required to visit the area, and there is no public transportation.

Mountains near Meo Vac © Harold Davis

Mountains near Meo Vac © Harold Davis

I have many impressions of this dream-like landscape, and will be posting more images as I can. Right now, our driver and our guide have been plying me with a clear, home-made corn liquor that is very potent, and a spicey dish made from goat, so one image is all I can manage before I head to bed and get ready for more adventures tomorrow!

Also posted in Vietnam

Rice Paddies with Reflected Tree

Rice Paddies with Tree Reflection, Vietnam © Harold Davis

Rice Paddies with Reflected Tree, Vietnam © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Vietnam

Tuscan Road

Wandering the fields and byways of southern Tuscany, I came across this tree-lined road, and settled in for a photography session, enjoying the action of the high-flying clouds. I processed the image to look intentionally anachronistic, essentially like a kind of illustration rather than a photo.

Tuscan Road © Harold Davis

Tuscan Road © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy, Monochrome

City on the Hill

I find when I am traveling that misadventures often bring unexpected photographic dividends. A case in point: getting stuck in a muddy field in my rental car in Tuscany got me into position as the sun was setting to make this image of a classic ancient hill town, Pienza. Somehow, a bright city on the hill persists as the metaphor for the shining society we could have, if we were a little nicer and tried for it a bit harder.

Pienza, Tuscany © Harold Davis

Pienza, Tuscany © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy

Last Light

As the last light of day touches the sea-kissed cliffs, it is important to keep in mind that although night may follow day, day also follows night. Be of good cheer, and Happy New Year! There is always light beyond.

Last Light © Harold Davis

Last Light © Harold Davis

There is always light beyond © Harold Davis

There is always light beyond © Harold Davis

Sunset beyond the Bridge © Harold Davis

Sunset beyond the Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography

Big Sur Coast from Bixby Bridge Overlook

As sunset turns to dusk, and dusk to night, colors linger on the towering westward-facing Pacific cliffs of the Big Sur peninsula. Long after the landscape is a murky, dark gray to human eyes, the camera explores, captures, and records these gorgeous colors.

Big Sur Coast from Bixby Bridge Overlook © Harold Davis

Big Sur Coast from Bixby Bridge Overlook © Harold Davis

Photographed looking south from the overlook at the north end of Bixby Bridge about an hour after sunset with my camera on the tripod. Three combined exposures at 78mm focal length: 90 seconds and f/8 at ISO 64; 90 seconds and f/8 at ISO 200; 30 seconds and f/8 at ISO 64. Exposures processed in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and Photoshop, using Nik and Topaz filters, and my own LAB color techniques.

Related stories: Bixby Bridge; Bixby Bridge Blues; Bixby Bridge by Starlight.

Also posted in Photography

Abbazia di Sant’Antimo

Nestled in a valley in the Tuscan Hills, the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo—Abbey of Saint Anthony—dates originally from the eighth century. If you arrive at the right time, you can hear the monks chanting—but mostly this is a peaceful and silent place. Back in the day, the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo was a secular powerhouse as well as a religious community, and owned farms and churches from here to Siena. But all things must pass, the material world is vanity, and today other than when there is chanting, the Abbazia di Sant’Antimo is notable for the quietness of its pristine location.

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo © Harold Davis

Abbazia di Sant’Antimo © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy

Romantic Landscapes

There’s nothing I like better than to capture romantic landscapes. Of course, any landscape can be romantic in the right light, and almost any landscape can be grim in harsh light. Still, when I am in the heart of the mountains, my thoughts turn towards romantic imagery—and the same when there is a sweetly pictaresque tower or two, or maybe an ancient castle rampart.

Towers of San Gimignano © Harold Davis

Towers of San Gimignano © Harold Davis

Fundamentally, this is an anti-post-modern aesthetic on my part. Maybe this is catchier as “post-post-modern” imagery (abbreviated as “post-squared modern”). In other words, I like the lushness of imagery that shows us a world that is partially fantasy. A world that takes a certain kind of eye to see, and the very real skills of a post-squared modern digital artist to capture without overdoing it. I am aware of the possibilities of irony, but prefer the policies of optimism.

Dolomite View © Harold Davis

Dolomite View © Harold Davis

About the images: (Top) With sunset coming on in a light rain, I hurried to find a high vantage point in the fabulous towered confection of San Gimignano, Italy. From the little tower on the Rocca I had a great view across to the towers, and to the rain passing in the sunset. (Above) View east from the mountains above Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (Below) This sunset view of Castelo Marvao in Portugal reminds me of the feeling in the San Gimignano image at the beginning of this story.

Castelo Marvao © Harold Davis

Castelo Marvao © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy, Photography, Portugal

Morning Blue

The special characteristics of light at sunset—first the “golden hour,” followed by the “blue hour”—are well known to all serious landscape photographers. Indeed, the quality of the light and the emotional resonance of the views of this good earth as sunset commences, and for a while post-sunset, is clear to all romantic observers of every persuasion.

Morning Blue © Harold Davis

Morning Blue © Harold Davis

What is less well-known is that sunrise duplicates the same wonderful sequence, but in reverse. So shortly after dawn there is a blue period, followed by a time of golden lighting, and then daytime commences. For astronomical reasons, morning blues and golden hues tend to be shorter in duration than those in the evening—but they are no less potent and emotionally heart warming.

Click here for a related image, Dawn on Lake Como, and here for workshop opportunities to explore different and exotic sunrises and sunsets with your camera and me!

Also posted in Italy, Photography

Autumn on the Slopes of Tuscany

Who knew you could ski in Tuscany (at least in the winter)? I photographed these beautiful autumn trees on the upper slopes of Monte Amiata. This is the dominate peak in southern Tuscany at about 5,700 feet (1,700 meters). Under the trees are chair lifts and dozens of hotels, chalets, and the appurtenances of the ski trade—all a little run down, as if skiing in Tuscany is like skiing in the Poconos. These days, it isn’t such a stretch to get to the Dolomites.

© Harold Davis

Autumn on the Slopes of Tuscany © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy

Tuscan Landscape

Rising not quite with the sun, on my way over to the breakfast room, I saw the landscape below with patches of fog, a veritable pattern of lights and darks, layers and counter-layers.

Tuscan Landscape © Harold Davis

Tuscan Landscape © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy, Photography

Heart of the Dolomites

The Dolomites, in northeastern Italy, are a spectacular range of pinnacles forming the southern reaches of the Alps. These mountains have characteristically grand rock formations, and if you like landscape scenery they should definitely be on your “bucket list.”

Heart of the Dolomites © Harold Davis

Heart of the Dolomites © Harold Davis

Yesterday, in the heart of these mountains, there was a fierce blue sky with traces of new snow on the peaks. It was cold on the peaks, and I was glad to have some layers with me—and could easily believe in the coming of winter!

Also posted in Italy, Photography

Rockland Breakwater

The Rockland, Maine breakwater is a loosely laid wall of large granite rocks that protects Rockland harbor, and stretches about a mile out to a lighthouse. The photo below shows the breakwater in its causeway aspect, while I used the motion of the waves on a float anchored to the causeway and a longish time exposure (two minutes) to create the still water effect in the image shown underneath.

Rockland Breakwater 1 © Harold Davis

Rockland Breakwater 1 © Harold Davis

Rockland Breakwater 2 © Harold Davis

Rockland Breakwater 2 © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography

Morning Mist

Morning Mist © Harold Davis

Morning Mist © Harold Davis

In the early morning in the Lot River Valley fog follows the course of the river, shown here behind a stand of trees and in front of the cliffs on the far side of the valley.

Also posted in France, Photography

Country Rainbow

To paraphrase Ansel Adams, if you don’t go out in the rain, you will never get to photograph the clearing storm. As I explored the ancient town of Cordes sur Ciel, it began to rain. I pulled out my rain gear and continued up to the highest battlement. From the top of the fortifications, a rainbow spread out over the countryside of southwest France below me.

Country Rainbow © Harold Davis

Country Rainbow © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, Photography