Range of Light Photography

Range of Light Photography by Ben Dewell is dedicated to producing the finest, most beautiful photographic prints possible. This process begins and ends with light - direct, indirect, reflected, refracted, or transmitted. The search for the intricate balance of light and form starts with exposing the film with the greatest degree of tonal values possible given individual scene constraints. This is true both for the monochrome negative as well as color positive films used to record a scene.

Inherent in my approach is the personal vision shaped over many years within the steep ramparts of the Sierra Nevada Range of California - John Muir's Range of Light. By far and away, the subjects I choose to photograph feature, both literally and figuratively, the range of light imbued in these magnificent escarpments - indeed, images of such searing beauty they cut like a hot knife straight to the heart of the Sierra. My appreciation of the Sierra came naturally through a succession of wilderness experiences beginning in my earliest years, from the Sierra's wildest summits, thundering storms and rivers, to its most serenely sapphire lakes, verdant meadows and quieting brooks. Undoubtedly, my history in this most exquisite of mountain citadels shaped my understanding of the power and breadth of natural light and form.

The monochrome images I choose to print for classical gelatin silver prints not only convey a clear message of their subject matter through vast tonal range and color - the range of light - but also the synergistic effects of tone and form, resulting in "colors" of gray not interpreted by the eye alone, but ultimately by the experience held in the heart as well. Through the printing of a full tonal range spanning all the "grays" from deepest black to purest white, recently shed aspen leaves lying upon a weather-bleached log exhibit all the yellows and golds one remembers from the Indian Summer warmth of an early autumn sojourn. Freshly fallen snow holds not only the color of the photographic print's paper, but the winter chill one felt upon the crisp dawn of a hopeful New Year's Day. The inky blackness of stilled shore water may reflect the clarity of unencumbered thought while the silver scintillations of a high, wind-whipped lake, the cauldron of ideas yet resolved.

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Latitude: 37.8095 Longitude: -119.407 Elevation: 9468 ft
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Ben Dewell

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