The Story Behind The Images - Cutthroat Lakes Sunset (1998)

During the process of creating this webpage I had the opportunity to revisit old images that at one time were my “best”.  Over the next few weeks, I will post a story behind each image as I remember it.  Please enjoy and share. 

The first image was taken in the summer of 1998 shortly after I had finished my master’s thesis field work - three months of geologic mapping and fracture data collection in Durango, Colorado.  My camera, a Nikon N70s, had been stolen from my truck while I was examining an outcrop at a road cut in Dolores, Colorado, and I had replaced it with a manual Nikon FM with a few used lenses that I could afford on my graduate school stipend.  

My sister met me at our Aunt’s cabin in Bondurant, Wyoming where we planned our backpacking trip into the Wind River Range.  We had decided on a rather aggressive loop starting at the New Fork Lakes Trailhead (7,800 ft elev.)  After the first days climb of close to 3,000 ft, we quickly amended the plan to a simple out and back with a few days of fishing, day hikes, and avoiding mosquitos from a basecamp at Cutthroat Lakes. 

Cutthroat Lakes lies above treeline with a number of small lakes and ephemeral pools, probably the reason for the mosquitos, and a nice view of surrounding peaks. The lakes and pools made for made for some great opportunities for sunrise and sunset reflection photographs. I think this is the first trip that I started to use professional slide film - Fuji Velvia 50, which is no longer sold in the United States. Velvia is an amazing transparency film that has limited dynamic range but is high saturated in color. This photograph is one of the first photographs that I felt truly brought almost everything together - composition and a definitive style, but in missed on exposure. When I took this photograph, I didn’t have any graduated neutral density filters that help control the dynamic range in scenes like this and would have really helped bring out the detail in the foreground. A few months after taking this photograph, I replaced the Nikon FM camera with a Nikon N90s and discovered the work of Galen Rowell, which resulted in the purchase of some Sing Ray Graduated ND filters that I still have today. If you enjoyed this post please share and visit me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Flickr (links on the left). Thanks again. Jason C. Ruf

Transparencies on a Light Table

A few months ago I received an email from West Coast Imaging announcing their annual Thanksgiving Tango Drum Scan Sale.   It had been over a decade since I had last used my large format camera and maybe as long since I last looked at old transparencies.  I knew there were some images packed away in now obsolete ready-load film boxes stored with old tax returns.  Images that I should revisit and see if they were worthy of a very high resolution digital scan.  

It is amazing to me that so much time could pass without being behind the ground glass.  But a lot changes in life and a lot has changed in photography.  But there is still nothing like viewing transparencies on a light table, especially large format 4x5 inch Fuji Velvia.  

I sent a total of five new images to WCI for high resolution scanning using their Tango Drum Scanner, which gives a 600mb file with a resolution of roughly 12,000 by 9,000 pixels - simply amazing.  


Round Pond - On a light panel.

Round Pond - Cropped

Here is the first image - on the light panel (iPhone shot a little washed out not quite the same as in person) and the initial processed file in Lightroom.  

This is a photograph taken at Round Pond at sunrise on October 10th, 2004.  Round Pond is a short hike from the trailhead along Highway 73 in the Adirondacks.  The pond water was very still creating an amazing reflection of the birch trees which had lost their leaves and the surrounding trees which were at peak fall color. I used a 210 mm Nikon lens (~65 mm equivalent for 35mm cameras).  The exposure was 3 seconds at f/32 on Fuji Velvia with an ISO setting of 40.      

Using Format