Jason Kaplan is an adventure photographer who creates unique images from his trips throughout the west. All his photographs are shot on location and are later processed using Photoshop but are not digital art! Jason layers multiple shots from the same scene to share his unique vision. Everything in the image was shot on site, often requiring multiple exposures, sometimes shot over several hours. Jason also makes many of his frames using beetle kill pine.
Below are descriptions of his photographs:
An Oasis in the Desert:
This image was shot in an area known as the North Wash which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere between Hanksville and Hite Utah. This “oasis” as I like to think of it is 3 miles up a wash in the heart of canyon country. The image was created on the way back out from a long day of canyoneering, and it is a composite. I created one image shooting a flash into the water to illuminate the green part in the front as well as creating the reflection of the surface of the water on the rock. I then created another image illuminating the rock and creating the reflection of the rock on the surface of the water, I then combined the two.
Burning the Midnight Oil:
This image is a self portrait created in Marble Colorado. I set my camera on a tripod with a remote trigger along with 2 flashes with a separate remote trigger. I hiked up and strapped into my snowboard then tripped the trigger on the camera for a 48 second exposure. I rode through the scene and popped the trigger for the wireless flashes that I held in my glove. The flashes were pointed in different directions and fired at slightly different times which is why I am solid on the right and ghosted in the middle. The green blur in the bottom left is my jacket illuminated by my headlamp (which is the white line streaking along my trajectory) and blurred from the movement of me riding. I then shot 50, 95 second exposures and combined the 51 images together, for an 80 minute exposure. The mountains in the background are illuminated by a full moon. The circular streaks in the sky are a result of the earth spinning, and the length of the startrails is a direct correlation to how much the earth turns in 80 minutes.
Climbing the Ethereal Pillar:
This image was a labor of love and a dangerous challenge to produce. The formation is called The Drool and it is a frozen pillar of ice near Redstone Colorado. In addition the the danger of falling ice the formation lived up to it’s name and was “drooling” water right where I wanted to put my camera. Also I had seen a mother Mountain Lion and 3 cubs within a few miles of the location less than a week before so that added some spice to the aspect of being in the woods alone all night long. I met with the Ice climbers an hour before the sun went down and set up for the shoot. I shot an underexposed series of images of the climber using my flash to spot-light the climber and black out the rest of the scene just like in a studio, essentially turning late dusk into full blown dark. Once I was sure I got a well lit shot of the climber they packed up and left and I settled in for shooting the startrails and properly lit foreground portion of the image. After back lighting the ice formation I let my camera run and decided to wait in my car. After a couple hours I went to make sure my camera was running and low and behold it had stopped so I had to start the startrail portion of the image over. I stayed long enough to create a series of images adding up to a 5 hour exposure, going back and forth to my car numerous times via a 10 minute hike each way. I arrived home at 4 am, then got up and went to class and processed the image. I worked to enhance the color of the stars as well as the ice, however the colors were all naturally occurring. The length of the startrails is a representation of how much the earth rotates in 5 hours.
Full Moon on Mt. Evans:
This image is a composite made of 9 images stitched together for a panorama. The image was created on a clear fall night at 1am at Summit Lake. The city lights of Denver can be seen in the background on the left.
Life Blood of the Colorado:
This image was created at Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, it is a well preserved lake that also happens to be one of the most popular destinations in the state. The pristine water makes its way down the canyon into the Colorado River which sustains the well being of 7 different states. After having lived in Glenwood Springs for 4 years this was the first and only time I went to hanging lake because I am not a big fan of the crowds and hype. I arrived at dusk and started shooting the image by creating a series of shots illuminating the lake with a flash, then the rock and Ice in the background. Once had the foreground I started shooting the startrail portion of the image. The startrails are created from 31 images equating to a 76 minute exposure. The sky was blue to start and went black as the night progressed because there was no moon. Because the white balance was set for a slightly warmed flash and the iso was raised the black sky had a red tint. When the blue and the red sky’s were stacked to create the long exposure the sky turned purple. The comet effect of the star trails is created by changing the exposure of each image in the stack incrementally to change the brightness of the of the stars as they traced across the sky.
The Walk of Life:
My friend who is a professional slack liner walks a 1” wide piece of webbing 193’ across a 500’ deep canyon at “The Fruit Bowl” which overlooks Mineral Bottom in Canyonlands just outside of Moab Utah. We had all taken part in doing one of the biggest rope swings in the world prior to this as we were out shooting an episode for a TV show we were trying to create.