Ray Mathis

 
 
 

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Ray Mathis

Ray Mathis

McHenry, IL

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Most of the images you see here (at least so far) were done 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 just recently switched to using a Nikon D800, a 36 megapixel camera. 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.

Illinois Prairies and Wildflowers

Arches NP - Southern Section

Arches NP - Central Section

Arches NP - Northern End

Arches NP - Perimeter Areas

Book Cliffs

Book Cliffs - Winter Scenes

Bristlecone Pines

Bryce Canyon NP - Fairyland

Bryce Canyon NP - Queen's Garden

Bryce Canyon NP - Sunset Point

Bryce Canyon NP - Silent City

Bryce Canyon NP - Rim Trail N

Bryce Canyon NP - Inspiration Point

Bryce Canyon NP - Rim Trail S

Bryce Canyon NP - Bryce & Paria Points

Bryce Canyon NP - Rainbow Point & Park Road

Bryce Canyon NP - Mossy Creek Area

Canyonlands NP - Cane Creek

Canyonlands NP - Grand View Pt.

Canyonlands NP - Island in the Sky

Canyonlands NP - Potash Road

Canyonlands NP - Shafer Trail & Canyon

Canyonlands NP - White Rim Trail

Capitol Reef NP - Highway 24 West

Capitol Reef NP - The Castle

Capitol Reef NP - Highway 24 East

Capitol Reef NP - Cohab Canyon

Capitol Reef NP - Scenic Drive North

Capitol Reef NP - Grand Wash

Capitol Reef NP - Capitol Gorge

Capitol Reef NP - Scenic Drive South

Capitol Reef NP - Burr Trail

Capitol Reef NP - Cathedral Valley

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Clouds

Colorado

Colorado Fall Colors

CO Fall Color - Big Cimarron & Owl Creek Pass

CO Fall Color - Dallas Creek & Dallas Divide

CO Fall Color - Highway 145

CO Fall Color - Elk Mountains

CO Fall Color - Ohio Pass

CO Fall Color - Red Mt. Pass

CO Fall Color - Silverton & South

CO Fall Color - Telluride

CO Fall Color - Wilson Mesa

Colorado National Monument

Coyote Buttes