Sunday, January 13, 2019

Colorful Ridges

Colorful Ridges - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 75mm, f/14, 1/6s, ISO 100.

I’ve been to Death Valley a few times the past but during those trips have opted for wide angle images.  Last week, I wanted to spend some time there focussing on picking out details in the interesting landscape rather than just wide images.  The conditions at Zabriskie Point the morning I made this image reminded me of the conditions on New Year’s Day 2010.  It looked fairly overcast but then at the last minute just before the sun came up, there was an epic colors in the cloud.  I was hoping for the same thing to happen, but alas it didn’t as the cloud cover to the east was just too thick.  Regardless, the overcast conditions made it ideal for the kind of tighter images I was seeking to make and this is one such example.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Canyon Wall

Canyon Wall - X1D, 21mm, f/12, 1/50s, ISO 800.

I got to spend the bulk of yesterday morning hiking and photographing Valley of Fire state park, about an hour north of Las Vegas.  The weather for me was ideal, as it was totally overcast meaning that as long as I didn’t include the sky in my frame, all the colors and textures of the brightly colored sandstone and rocks would easily come through.  I started at the north end at White Domes which is supposed to have brightly colored rocks perfect for photographing in flat light.  Unfortunately, with the rains over the last couple of days, when I got about 1/3 of the way through the trail and had to go through a narrow slot canyon, it was flooded.  If I had my NEOS overshoes with me, I would have easily walked through it, but just my regular hiking boots weren’t going to cut it.  So I made a few images with the water in the frame and focussed on capturing what parts of the canyon wall I could.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Desert Light

Desert Light - X1D, 21mm, f/12, 1/320s, ISO 100.

There was rain in Death Valley last night and looking at the weather forecast it seemed like the clouds would break up in the early morning.  So before I went to bed, my plan was to wake up and head to Bad Water I the hopes of sunrise color with water in the basin, something I hadn’t seen before.  However, getting into the car, I noticed that the valley was covered in fairly thick cloud, so figuring that I wouldn’t get a sunset, I changed plans at the last minute and went to Mesquite Dunes instead.  It stayed pretty cloudy and I had resigned myself to doing intimate landscapes and tight abstracts but suddenly around when the sun was supposed to come up the clouds started to break up and I got some color and beautiful filtered light for most of the early morning.  I suspect that Bad Water would have been spectacular photography, but this wasn’t so bad either.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Ubehebe under Cloud

Ubehebe under Cloud - X1D, 21mm, f/12, 1/50s, ISO 100.

I’ve always wanted to spend a day in Death Valley photographing when it was cloudy and today I got my wish.  It did mean not getting much of a sunrise, but then I got to spend hours just hiking and making intimate landscapes (unlike this image which was one of the very few wide angle images I made).

Friday, January 04, 2019

Salt & Earth

Salt & Earth - X1D, 21mm, f/14, 1/6s, ISO 100.

I knew looking at the weather forecast that there wouldn’t be much of a sunset, but I still had to get out and try something.  Given the timing, I kept it simple and just wandered around Bad Water.   One neat difference in my images today was that I stayed at the edges where the salt was primarily at the bottom leaving earth at the edges, which creates a contrast I like.  I think I have better images than this one that I captured as the evening went on, but those will have to wait until I get back to be worked on.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

First 2019 Sunset

First 2019 Sunset - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/22, 2.5s, ISO 100.
I got to spend New Year’s day doing the 3 things I love the most: playing with the kids, going for a run and of course being out photographing.  I saw that the weather forecast was calling for partial clouds in Santa Cruz and since it had been ages since I last went photographing the beaches there, it was a great choice.  The sunset didn’t disappoint, lasting a good while and with beautiful color.  What a great way to kick off 2019!


Litter - Phase One XF, IQ3 100, 40mm, f/14, 120s, ISO 100.

I only spotted the empty water bottle once I had started this exposure and it was pretty disappointing that some person had chosen this rock as the place to leave their trash rather than just taking it back with them.  This was at 8 AM and we were the first people on the beach, so it must have been there from the evening the previous day.  Unfortunately, this kind of minor abuse of these natural places is on the rise as the number of visitors to these places keep increasing every year.  This was in the morning at Garrapata beach and when I returned here in the evening on the same day I saw several people walking up the path back to their cars each having picked a Calla Lily from the gully.  Again, a minor thing, but with large numbers of people visiting, these things add up.  All this is even more disappointing given what I’m reading about how people are treating some national parks with the government shutdown.  So lets go out this year and enjoy everything nature has to offer us, but stick with the ‘leave nothing, take nothing’ philosophy!