Archive for November, 2009

As the month of November goes on, the last of the leaves cling from the branches as the first snow flurries fall from the sky. This is a sometimes bleak transition that puts and end to the typical rush of activity that is autumn for the nature photographer. Now it is time to classify the images, to postproduce them, and maybe to catch flu (as I am writing this, I think this latter issue has become a reality for me). Here there is an image from last year. It is from last year because this one this situation did not take place… at least, not in this spectacular way. During the end of November in 2008 we had around the Jura mountains the first snow fall. At that moment, peak fall colour was found at the bottom of the mountains, while the trees nestling at the top where already bare and got full of snow. This is one of those images that talk about contrast and transition,… that tell a story. A contrast that is triple: deciduous forests and coniferous trees, autumn and winter, colour and muted reality…

Thanks for reading and great light to you all.


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I have just received some very nice news indeed! I have had five portfolios shortlisted for the final of the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2009 contest, in the categories “Natural Wonders” and “Your homeland”.  This is the most famous travel photography contest in the world, and as I happen to be in the final on both categories,  I might have chances to win the overall prize!

I will keep my fingers crossed and let’s see what happens…but I am already very happy being in the final!

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This week’s photo shows a colourful pattern. For those who like “tags to the real world” I could add that this image shows a little detail of a piece of rock from a valley in southern Switzerland. This is how a piece of rock looks, after several millions of years when some sedimentary rock was folded and suffered metamorphism under giant pressures and high temperatures, glaciers came and later on rivers eroded the rock leaving it naked to the eye of us, little human beings.

Very often I think about why Nature configurations are the way the are. My scientific background tells me that Nature always adopts configurations which minimize the quantity of energy needed. In fact, we human beings do the same. Nature is a big machine that, when left alone, will always reach that energetic optimum in all its displays and phenomena. However, as a photographer, I tend to think as equally often about the fact that normally, when Nature is left alone, the result is always beautiful. Is it because our ideal of beauty is as natural as the nature itself? Do we already come with an “in-built” beauty scheme that is in fact defined by how Nature looks when undisturbed? When you think about, the labour of a nature photographer is really tiny, we strive to compose succesful images that are strong as visual designs, but indeed the real merit comes from that “hidden artist” that plays with the elements and leaves art masterpieces all around us. In a way, this makes a necessity to be humble when dealing with nature photography. Whatever we might achieve in our work, ours will always be a tiny merit…

This week image reminded me of this. Without talking or avoiding religion issues, this is one of those things in Nature that push me to think: Who did this?

Technically speaking, this was made with the 617 camera, having to cheat as I needed to insert between the cone and the camera body some extra spacers to reduce the minimum focusing distance. Polarizer and made in the open shade, to maximize colour and detail.

Thanks for reading, and great light to you all.

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I am very happy to announce that I have included a major update of new material in my webpage. Photos corresponding to the last four months have been added in the “last additions ” gallery of my site, www.litlandscape.com  (or www.rafaelrojasphoto.com).

Thanks for taking a look, i hope you will enjoy seeing the new photos as much as I did making them! :)

Great light to you all,


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I know internet is not the best place for viewing panoramics (most of all when they come from huge files of almost 1 gb) but I cannot stand posting this one. I had been for a long time waiting for the perfect conditions with a perfect forest and a perfect peak autumn colour. The last week, the three things coincided in time and space, and i could spend some magical hours in the middle of some nearby woods. Very early in the morning, a thick fog invaded the place. No wind for some time, gave me the possibility of shooting with the panoramic 617 camera and its frequent long exposures of up to 3-4 minutes in this case.

As the fog levels were shifting in time an a little breeze moved the trees from time to time, I spent some three or four reels of velvia at the very same spot. It was interesting to see on the lightbox how every single image was totally different. I chose this one, with almost perfectly sharp leaves and just the right touch of fog to give mood and depth but without erasing the golden hues of the background.

Compositionally speaking, I was attracted by the juxtaposition of the two colourful beeches sticking out of the undergrowth. The horizontal branches of the left tree “tie together” the vertical trunks that cross the whole picture from left to right, giving a proper structure to the whole composition. Therefore, the eye movement from left to right (that normally we look for in panoramic images) is also spurred by the horizontal branches, leading the eye to the smaller but equally important coloured little tree at the right of the image. I can say this is one of those images i do not get tired of looking at…

Thanks for reading and great light to you all ;-)autumn panorama blog

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I am very proud to announce that one of my images has won a Nature’s Best 2009 “highly commended” prize in the landscape category. This photo contest is (along with the BBC and GDT photo contests) one of the most renowned nature photography contests in the world, receiving more than 25’000 photos from all over the world.

The winner images are displayed by the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington. This year, the exhibition will take place from November 10 till May 2 2010. So, if you are around dont forget to pay a visit to the exhibition, the quality of the photography displayed is really outstanding.

Thanks for reading and great light to you all,  

natures best 2009 winner

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I have featured the cover and a full interview over my photography on the photography magazine phototravel (www.phototravel.ro).

 You will find here attached the pdf file with the interview, where I talk about different aspects of photography, future projects and much more. Thanks for reading and great light to you!

To donwload the interview, click  Interview Phototravel Rafael Rojas  and then again over the pdf file icon

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As always, the most interesting photographic opportunities occur when aiming the lens at edges or “transitional” zones in time and/or space. Think of the dawn and dusk (where night and day meet), shores (where the sea meets the land), clearing storms (where bad weather leads to more stable one) and so on. This photograph illustrates this idea too. On the slopes of mountains like in this case (Jura range in Switzerland) there is a certain altitude where the deciduous forests begin to give the way to evergreens. At this point, it is possible to find situations like the one depicted here, making possible to reinforce even more the nature of deciduous trees, which dress in incredible colours during autumn, as they show themselves in the middle of a bare and grey cage of vertical evergreen trunks.

I spotted this place some time ago. Then, i just needed to wait till the perfect situation would arise: fog and peak colours of autumn. Then, i selected a view point and focal lenght that would show the beech tree in the middle of the vertical evergreens trunks, leaving him “enclosed in a natural cage”. The image is full of rythm given by the number of vertical trunks and the balance is obtained by means of some smaller concentration of coloured leaves at the right of the image. I specially liked the spacial ambiguity created by one of the branches of the main coloured tree crossing a couple of trunks which seem to be in the same place (as no separation has been left between them). An image that reminds me of the beautiful sound of leaves falling down, in the silence of the mist.

Thanks for reading and good light to you all.autumn cage

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