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Photo Finds – Week of March 19, 2012

Jay and Varina Patel

Jay and Varina Patel

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web.

This week, we bring you a husband and wife team of landscape photographers whose work has been spreading like wildfire around the community on Google+. Meet Jay and Varina Patel.

Their work is equal parts inspirational and frustrating. Inspiring, because it’s quite simply fantastic in its scope and majesty, but frustrating because it makes you want to yell at your camera and ask why it won’t produce similar results.

The answer, however, is pretty obvious – these are photographers that have worked hard at their craft, and it shows.

Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, by Jay Patel

Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, by Jay Patel

To me, though their work is similar in some ways, it’s also quite distinctive in style. Jay’s images feel more punchy, with bolder, more sweeping themes and colors. Looking at his images like the ones from Beauty Creek in Jasper National park, there’s a powerful elegance to the overall visual that belies complexity of the landscape. It’s an impressive skill, being able to encompass so vast a vista with such clarity. His shot of Canon Beach in Oregon almost reverses that approach, injecting majesty and weight into what might otherwise be a very simple landscape.

By contrast, Varina’s work often has a more subtle undercurrent to it. Her image “Towers of the Virgin,” for example, pays attention to the shrubbery in the foreground, while most photographers would have cropped it out and focused on the looming peaks in the background. Ditto for her image, “The Rockies;” where many photographers would try and capture as much of the view as possible, Varina’s interpretation makes you focus on the wildflowers springing up between the rocks – but does so without sacrificing context. You still see and appreciate the grand mountain range in the background.

The Rockies - Varina Patel

The Rockies - Varina Patel

The cool thing about the couple is that they are incredibly open about their work and how they achieve it. From quick tips and tutorials to ebooks and videos posted to their sites and Google+ profiles (+Jay Patel and +Varina Patel), these two photographers have been sharing their knowledge and experience with photographers everywhere.

Bay Area photographers pay heed: Jay and Varina are doing a workshop in Sunnyvale in April, along with photographer Colby Brown. If you’re in the area, this is a great – and affordable – chance to learn from some awesome pros.

That’s it for this week’s Photo Finds. If you’ve got an idea for someone who should be featured here, please let us know. Leave a comment or reach out to us via Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

All images in this post are courtesy and Copyright © Jay and Varina Patel. All rights reserved.

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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  • Shannon says:

    The Beauty Creek photo is BEAUTIFUL , they both have amazing talent!!

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