Jenaya returns to the Smithsonian with “Ramscape” | The story behind the image
We couldn’t be more excited to share that Jenaya’s work is back on exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC! “Ramscape” is a favourite image of Jenaya’s both because of the story behind it and the fact it comes from her home stompin’ grounds (photographed less than an hour from her door!).
“Ramscape” was not one of those serendipitous moments captured when the photographer happens upon a great scene or opportunity, grabs their gear and gets the shot…the proverbial “right place at the right time” or “f/8 and be there” kind of situations.
Jenaya, Josiah and I (John) were actually looking for early-season black bears to photograph when we came across this handsome ram grazing on the first shoots of green grass along the slopes of the valley. While he was certainly enjoying the fresh greens, he was constantly swinging his head up to study the trees above and behind us. It didn’t take long to decide he was mighty concerned about something up there, but not quite concerned enough to leave the rich graze he had found! It certainly made for some fantastic photo opportunities, and we obliged, photographing him with our long telephotos for some striking portraits.
With this handsome ram posing for us like we were paying him modeling fees, you can imagine my surprise when Jenaya went over to her gear bag and removed her telephoto lens!
“You cannot possibly be tired of photographing this guy, are you?” I asked.
“Nope!” Jenaya replied. “I’m just putting on a landscape lens in case he heads over to that rock outcrop. I’d love to get an animalscape shot with the forest and mountains in the background!”
Sure, Josiah and I thought. He’s just going to leave all this grass and climb up on a rock for you.
About the time Jenaya framed up a shot that was not yet in existence, the ram casually looked back at her and as if on cue walked over and climbed up on top of the outcrop and struck just about every pose you can imagine while Jenaya happily squeezed off one masterpiece after another. :)
In the end, this particular frame ended up being our favourite. We love the pose he is giving, but also Jenaya’s choices in composition, adding some tension by breaking the rules of placing the animal so he would be looking into the picture and instead having him looking toward something unknown outside of the frame. This is a full frame image of the original shot, with no cropping applied. It’s also a great example of something I’ve wanted to forge in my young photographers: photography is art, and while we paint with light, we control the end result by choosing our perspective carefully and what we want included in the piece and what is best left out of the piece. We prefer to create these compositions in the field, just like a painter would with a portable easel sitting below a mountain peak or alongside a lake shore, rather than rely on cropping the image on the computer. Obviously sometimes there are certain considerations restricting us from capturing our vision exactly as we want it portrayed at the moment we take the picture, but we strive to make the decisions in the moment and then crop if necessary so the final image reflects the art we envisioned and created in the field. “Ramscape” is a carefully crafted example of that, and we are delighted it has received the recognition it has and will be shared with the over 8 million visitors to the museum alone, on top of those who enjoy it in our gallery, online and now in the pages of Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.
Speaking of Nature’s Best and the Smithsonian, be sure to read our post about Jenaya’s experience at the 2016 Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards and the opening of the exhibit which features “Ramscape.”