Thursday, August 25, 2016

Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple
Backlit by Hot August Sun

I'm always looking for unique compositions of the Salt Lake Temple, and if it includes some sun flare, that's icing on the cake. Love how Angel Moroni looks like he's floating. Took this today while I was on Temple Square late this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Another Beautiful Summer Garden

Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point

It's hard to get excited about putting in the work and expense of cultivating my own garden when I can drive 5 minutes away and enjoy scenes like this!!!

P.S.  I have had several people ask if I add saturation to this image.  Here is a comment I made on facebook where I have lots more viewers than here on my blog:

Several people have asked if I 'photoshopped' my last post to make the colors so......well, colorful??? This is probably the most common question landscape and nature photographers get asked regularly! Read on to find out my answer..... Many die hard traditionalists feel that anything done to a photograph outside of the camera is cheating, (even though we know that early photographers also regularly manipulated their images, even the great Ansel Adams). But what if the manipulation comes in the camera before the shot is taken, such as using special filters or lenses or camera settings to create unique 'looks' that are not what the eye would normally see?? In the days before digital, even the film a photographer used would change the look of an image. Portrait and wedding photogs would often use Provia film which produced neutral, soft colors that would enhance skin tones, whereas landscape photographers would use Velvia film which produced vivid, saturated, bright colors. My current digital camera love, a mirrorless Fuji xt-1 has settings that simulate the 'look and feel' of those most popular films. So when I shoot colorful scenes, like the one here, I often set my camera to the Velvia setting to bring out the colors. So for you traditionalists out there, is this in-camera selection of a specific setting to achieve a specific look, cheating? Of course photography has always been about combining art and science into personal interpretation, (I'm not talking about journalistic photography in its strictest form). But today, because of modern technology, the lines between photography, graphic art, paintings, drawings, and other art forms continue to blend and overlap, and the traditionalists who try to keep those boundaries separate and apart are in a losing battle. For them, it sometimes becomes more important to base their opinion of the value of an image on how it was created, rather than whether the image itself is beautiful, meaningful, uplifting, informative, evocative, etc. I wonder how many people who love the work of Monet thought to ask what type of brushes he used, or the brand of paint he preferred!! (For those who missed my photo in question, here it is again.) P.S. I do have to say, when I compare my photos on my computer with how they appear here on FB, they often look more saturated. Not sure if this is a FB thing!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Grandson Finn!

My Adorable Grandson Finn!
I usually don't post family photos here, (I have a different blog for that), but sometimes I just can't help myself!!!

A 'behind the scenes' shot with Finn's father blowing bubbles.  We had so much FUN!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Golden Hour at Lilly Lake, Utah

Lilly Lake, Utah

This is why photographers call the time of day just before sunset, the "Golden Hour'. This is Lilly Lake in Utah's high Uintas. A beautiful time to be out fishing in a little red canoe, or on the shore enjoying the view with a camera!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Provo River Falls, Utah (2)

Near Provo River Falls

Here is another beautiful spot near the main falls.  I sat on this rock and enjoyed the view until it starting getting dark.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Provo River Falls, Utah

Provo River Falls

For you non photographers..... the soft, dreamy look in the water is created by using a tripod and slowing down the shutter speed in camera. Is that cheating or artistic impression?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Provo River, High Uintas, Utah

Provo River Falls

Twilight in the high Uintas. I took this last night in between vertical 'drops' of the Provo River Falls.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rudbeckia - Black eyed Susans


Often my 'happy place' is right in my own backyard!!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Old McPolin Farm

Old McPolin Farm

The tractor from the last post sits on the other side of this barn and farmhouse and is a familiar landmark on the drive from Salt Lake City to the ski resort of Park City. The homestead dates back to 1886 and is of historical significance in Utah and is a popular site for both wedding and landscape photographers. I took this photo after the one in the last post. The sun was lower in the sky but still adds to the feel and mood of mid summer heat.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

HOT Seat

HOT Seat

I took this photo on a day when the temperature was hovering around 100 degrees (F). It is a good thing this tractor and its owner are retired and not out on a day like this! (Come to think of it, why was I out on a day like this?)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Is it Photography or Photoshop!!

Is it Photography or Photoshop??

I was sitting on a bench on Park City's main street and snapped a 'point n shoot' photo of the street scene below:

But in my 'mind' eye' I saw something more artistic. It was dusk and the little lights in the background tree had just come on. I waited until it was darker and the lights were brighter and cast a warm glow. I set my camera to the largest aperture my lens would allow, f/4, and adjusted other settings for low light. I positioned my camera as close to the flowers as possible and zoomed in. This created a soft dreamy look, blurring the background and rendering the tree lights as big round light globes called 'bokeh'. The above photo is the result. Photography may or may not involve using Photoshop to enhance a photo, but it is always about using the variables of lighting, composition and camera settings to create a photo!

Wild Daisies

Wild Daisies

There is something so carefree and lighthearted about wildflowers growing where ever they choose with no apparent order and no concern that their closest neighbors are weeds!    I found these wild daisies near Sundance Ski Resort which is a short ride from my home.  (My grandmother cultivated this 'look' in her own flower garden and my Dad used to call it 'studied carelessness'.)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Cascade Springs, Utah

Cascade Springs, Utah

This beautiful little area is just a short drive from my home.  I feel so blessed to find beautiful scenes to photograph close by.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly

It is wonderful to be able to travel to 'far away places with strange sounding names' and capture the rare or exotic, but we can all enjoy the beauty in the seemingly simple, every day wonders of nature if we just slow down and take time to observe and appreciate.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tiny HIker

Tiny Hiker

Photography has taught me to appreciate the small and simple vignettes in nature. While hiking in the mountains behind my home, I sat on a boulder to rest and take in the grand view of rugged Mt. Timpanogos. But I soon became fascinated watching this tiny little hiker, who was about a 1/4 inch long. It took him quite awhile to figure out where he was going.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Milk Thistle

  Milk Thistle (I think)

I know these are considered obnoxious weeds, but they are just so darn photogenic!

Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle (I think)

I know these are considered obnoxious weeds, but they are just so darn photogenic!

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Grand View Near Mackay, Idaho

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Flower Dance

Flower Dance

Even a dead tree stump can be part of an interesting composition when surrounded by new life. This was taken in the same area as my last post.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Borah Peak, Idaho

 Borah Peak, Idaho
12,662 feet elevation

Still posting from our trip to Idaho, and this day we saw many beautiful and rugged Alpine like peaks, including Borah Peak, the highest mountain in Idaho.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Babbling Brook - Mackay, Idaho

This babbling little brook danced all the way down to join Wild horse Creek, near Mackay, Idaho.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wild horse Creek, Mackay Idaho

Here is another view of Wild horse Creek near Mackay, Idaho. For you nature lovers, there were beautiful camping spots along this crystal clear river/creek with views of rugged mountains including the highest peak in Idaho. (More photos to come.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wild horse Creek, Idaho

Wild horse Creek, Idaho

I usually don't take my camera when we are ATV riding with a group as no one has the patience to stop every few minutes for me to take photos. This time, however, I did take my camera on a group ride near Mackay, Idaho. We stopped to eat lunch in a beautiful wooded area by Wild horse Creek. I gulped down my lunch, then spent my time taking photos.

For you non photographers out there, sometimes it's all about luck!  in order to get moving water to look soft and dreamy, you need to set your camera for a slow shutter speed which usually requires using a tripod to avoid camera shake so the still objects won't be blurry. I had no tripod, but I must have had very steady hands that day! Photographers often call this technique 'veiling' because when used on a waterfall, the result looks like a wedding veil.

For you photographers out there, here are my camera settings:  1/6 sec, f/18, 200 ISO.  This was shot at midday. I used a polarizer filter and waited for the sun to go behind a cloud. I also bracketed 3 shots to get the best exposure.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With Gossamer Wings!

With Gossamer Wings!
I love how the light shows off his wings.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Independence Day - The 4th of July

Let Freedom Ring!!

The inscription on the Liberty Bell says, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof". Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Red Creek Reservoir, Utah

Just the Two of Us!

Actually there were lots of them socializing along the shore of this small reservoir located high in the southern Utah mountains. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Flower Petals

Nature and macro photographers are interested in the beauty found in simple things that others might miss, like the unfolding of of flower petals.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Petal Glow

Petal Glow!

Whenever I shoot flowers I try to find interesting light and interesting backgrounds. I found both yesterday during a quick walk through the gardens at Thanksgiving Point, about 5 minutes away from home.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ladybug Fantasy

Ladybug Fantasy

Ladybugs are so darn photogenic!! My favorite garden friends.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Spring in Southern Utah

Near Apple Valley, Utah

Both of these pictures were taken within a short distance of each other.  Southern Utah is truly a beautiful place this time of year!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tickle Me Softly

Tickle Me Softly

It's all about the light.  Another cactus bloom near our southern Utah home.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Joshua After Sunset

Joshua After Sunset

This was taken just a few minutes after my last post.  What a beautiful ending to our day of ATV riding.  By the time we made it back to the truck and loaded up, it was very dark.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chasing the Sun

Chasing the Sun

Took this going about 30 mph while we were trying to get back to the truck before dark. I liked the interesting lens effect when shooting directly into the setting sun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lake Mead Overlook

 Lake Mead Overlook

Organizing and uploading photos is always an ongoing challenge. This was in the throw away 'pile', but I changed my mind and decided to keep it as the first photo of the new RZR. (We have had so much fun and have traveled to so many places we would never have been able to see in these fun and comfortable little machines. This makes our third upgrade in about 7 years.)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I Can See For Miles and Miles!
Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I am so fortunate to live within a few hours driving distance from beautiful scenery like this found in Canyonlands National Park. Taken in early morning.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pincushion Flower

Pincushion Flower  
The Pincushion flower grows in the desert climate of southern Utah and also in the colder climate of northern Utah.  I love this backdrop of a southern Utah plant, with the curly strings.  (I think it might be a variety of yucca.)  Humm, pincushion, pins and thread.  Only thing missing are the needles!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cactus Blooms in my Southern Utah Garden

Cactus blooms in my southern Utah garden. 
I think that many desert cactus blooms are as beautiful and exotic looking as those found in tropical climates.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gold Butte Road, Nevada

Gold Butte Road, Nevada

Riding our RZR (atv) as fast as we dare to get back to our truck before dark. But when we rounded a bend I had to stop when I saw this scene.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gold Butte

Gold Butte, Nevada

This photo was taken in the late afternoon on the same day as my last post of Lake Mead.  We put about 50 miles on our RZR (atv), during this day trip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

One of our favorite ATV riding places is just across the Utah/Nevada border past Bunkerville. Here is a shot of Lake Mead, and at this northern viewpoint, is accessible by 40 miles of dirt roads and ATV trails. A few days ago, the closely controlled and measured lake shrunk to its lowest point since Hoover Dam was completed in 1936.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cactus Boom

Cactus bloom in my southern Utah Garden

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Snowballs After a Spring Shower

Snowballs After a Spring Shower

Sun rays breaking through the clouds create beautiful 'bokeh' balls of light on foliage raindrops when viewed through the lens of my camera.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Watchman & the Virgin River, Zion National Park, Utah

The Watchman & the Virgin River
Zion National Park, Utah

This is the most photographed scene in Zion and one that every southwestern landscape photographer has probably taken.  Around sunset when the western sun hits the face of Watchman and makes it glow, the photographers gather and line up their tripods along the main bridge located on the main road.  And yesterday was no exception.  But I've been there and done that, so I walked a little bit down river to a foot/bike bridge and had the whole place to myself, and still got a great view of this iconic scene.  The sky was not cooperating while the sun was up, but waiting paid off because around 8 pm, in between sunset and twilight, there was enough light to show off the red cliffs plus a little color in the sky as a bonus.  Another bonus was the bright blue sky was reflected in the river, which was more muddy brown than usual because of spring rains.  Often patience is the best skill for a landscape photographer to develop!

Here is some technical information for those who are interested:  Because the sun was down and there was great contrast between the dark foreground land, and the bright sky, I knew my camera couldn't 'see' the land details that I could see, without blowing out the sky, so this was a perfect situation for an HDR shot.  (I could have stacked a bunch of split level density filters as an alternative.)  I didn't have a tripod, but luckily the bridge railing was the perfect height to use as one.  I set my camera to take three consecutive shots at different exposures, and also used the camera timer so as not to jiggle the camera while pushing the shutter button.  My settings were:  1 sec, f/18, 200 iso, 27mm lens.  For post processing, I combined the three exposures using Aurora, then desaturated the colors until the overall 'look' was close to what I saw and was pleasing to me.  Yes, I said desaturated, not saturated.  My Fuji xt-1 has settings to simulate common film 'looks' and has a velvia setting which makes colors vibrant in-camera.  But still, combining exposures definitely gives the image a more painterly look.  Speaking of this camera, I continue to be impressed.  There was no noise, even though I was shooting in low light.  I did not crop or add sharpening or contrast.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lilacs by the Fence!

Lilacs by the Fence

I love to watch blooms awaken in my own backyard, and there is nothing that smells so heavenly during spring in northern Utah as the fragrance of lilacs!