Ray Mathis







Ray Mathis

Ray Mathis

McHenry, IL


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.

Colorado National Monument

Coyote Buttes

Dead Horse Point State Park

Erin's pencil drawings

Factory Butte North

Factory Butte Mid

Factory Butte South

Fantasy Canyon

Goblin Valley State Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Boulder Rocks

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Boulder-Notom Rd W

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Boulder-Notom Rd - E

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Scenic Byway 12

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Devil's Garden

Grand Staircase Escalante NM - Highway 89

Grand Teton National Park

Great Basin National Park

Highway 128 Utah

Highway 191 Utah

Illinois Prairies and Wildflowers

Image Sales

Lake County Forest Preserves

Lake Powell

Las Vegas

Little Egypt

Little Finland

Luna Mesa - North of HWY 24

Luna Mesa - South of HWY 24


McHenry County

McHenry County - Glacial Park West

McHenry County - Glacial Park Lost Valley

McHenry County - Glacial Park East

McHenry County - Glacial Park Solon and Pioneer Roads

McHenry County - McHenry and Surrounding Areas

McHenry County - South

McHenry County - Southeast

McHenry County - West

Midwest Fall Colors

Midwest Landscapes


Mount Goliath Natural Area - Mt. Evans


Potash Road Utah

Red Canyon Utah

Slot Canyons of the Southwest

Twisted Forest of Utah

Valley of Fire - Rainbow Vista

Valley of Fire - Parking 1 W