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.

 

McHenry County Conservation District by Ray Mathis

 

McHenry County Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Prairie View Learning Center, McHenry County, IL by Ray Mathis

 

Native Prairie in McHenry County, IL by Ray Mathis

 

Native Illinois Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Silver Creek Conservation Area - McHenry County, IL by Ray Mathis

 

McHenry County Wild Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Beautiful Cloud Filled Sky over Illinois Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Clouds over Prairie Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Silver Creek Conservation Area by Ray Mathis

 

Moraine Hills Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Wild Mints at Sunset in Moraine Hills by Ray Mathis

 

Clouds Roll over Shelley Kelly Prairie in Moraine Hills by Ray Mathis

 

Clouds part over Moraine Hills by Ray Mathis

 

Coneflowers in Shelley Kelly Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Sun Breaks Through at Moraine Hills by Ray Mathis

 

Wildflowers in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

McHenry County Prairie Scene by Ray Mathis

 

Headwaters of the Kishwaukee River Conservation Area by Ray Mathis

 

Kishwaukee Headwaters Conservation Area by Ray Mathis

 

Wildflowers in Kishwaukee Headwaters Conservation Area by Ray Mathis

 

Legend Lakes Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Wildflowers at Sunrise by Ray Mathis

 

Keystone Prairie of Glacial Park - McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

Keystone Road Prairie in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Sunrise on Glacial Park Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Wildflower Prairie by Ray Mathis

 

Evening Comes in Glacial Park in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

Sunset at Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Chain-o-Lakes State Park Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Roadside Wildflowers in McHenry, Illinois by Ray Mathis

 

Roadside Coneflowers in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

Roadside Wildflowers in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

Black Eyed Susans and Coneflowers in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

McHenry County Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Wetland Reflection by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Reflection by Ray Mathis

 

Cloud Mirror Image in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Cloud Reflection by Ray Mathis

 

Wildflowers and Clouds in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Glacial Park Wildflowers by Ray Mathis

 

Clouds and Lace in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Queen Anne's Lace in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Wildflowers at Hidden Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Hidden Valley Wildflowers in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Afternoon Clouds over Glacial Park in McHenry County by Ray Mathis

 

Clouds Reflected in Glacial Park by Ray Mathis

 

Hills of Wildflowers in Chain-o-Lakes SP by Ray Mathis