About the Artist
Charlotte Gibb is an award-winning and renowned nature and landscape photographer based in Northern California. She is known for her mastery of "Intimate Landscapes" — small scenes derived from a large landscape.
The youngest of nine, she spent her early life playing and exploring the rural Northern California mountain area of her childhood home. Her father, an avid mountain climber and nature lover, made sure his kids shared his passion for the outdoors. After his death in a climbing accident, her mother continued to encourage an attachment to nature, ensuring that family vacations were spent outdoors camping, hiking, and exploring.
Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She cut her teeth in the advertising business as an art director in the 1990s, then operated her own graphic design firm in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades. Throughout her long career as an artist, her photography was constantly infused in her design work. Her darkroom has since been replaced with digital darkroom tools, and her style has evolved from a somewhat journalistic approach, to one that pays tribute to the natural world.
Charlotte writes and publishes on the subject of photography and creativity, has been a keynote speaker and educator for several national photography events, served as a judge for international and local photography competitions, and exhibits her work throughout California.
She can usually be found tromping with her camera bag in the wilderness areas around the Sierra Nevada range and Yosemite National Park in her home state.
Story Behind the Image
Trees are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Elegant, regal, and colorful — they are as individual as people. However, creating a portrait of a tree or grove of trees that communicates its essence can be a challenge. In reality, photographing trees is messy business, but it is the complexity itself that makes photographing them particularly rewarding. The photographer’s job is to take in all the visual information about the trees, then arrange it into a beautiful composition that reveals its character.
I spotted this cluster of Aspen trees within a larger scene that included a towering cliff behind the trees, dotted with Fall foliage. The greater scene was beautiful. There were groves of more colorful aspens higher up on the hill. And then there were these trees, completely bare of foliage.
Actually, I prefer to photograph bare trees rather than those plump with color. There’s a graphic quality to the bones of a tree that I seek out. They don’t rely on flashy color to be successful compositions, but on the photographer’s solid design and composition skills.
The repetitive simplicity of this smaller composition with a charming color palette struck me. I titled this composition “Sentinels” because the Aspens reminded me of soldiers, standing in a line at attention, with blood-red foliage at their feet.
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