Friday, June 24, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Friday, June 10, 2016
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
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
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Friday, May 27, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
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
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
This is a very famous arch to visit for both tourists and photographers. You can see why, as the direction of the arch sits so that the sunrise lights up the background scenery beautifully and bounces off the foreground rocks to create a brilliant glow on the underside of the arch.
Even though we go to Moab often, I have never taken the hour drive to Canyonlands to photograph this arch, but I was determined to do so this time. Not knowing exactly how long it would take to get there and hike to the arch, I drug Jeff out of bed at 4 am.
It was pitch black when we arrived at the parking lot, and we stumbled along the path with only the aid of our cell phone flashlights and the stars. Luckily, it is an easy and short hike. When we arrived, there were already several photographers who had staked out their spots and had set up their tripods in the dark. This is a rather small arch, and there is only a very small amount of prime 'real estate' area available where one can view the sunrise from under the arch.
Since I was traveling light as far as photography equipment, I carried only my small Fuji mirrorless camera, one lens and no tripod. I 'staked' out my spot in between the row of tripods. During the next hour or so waiting for sunrise, Jeff counted at least 75 other tourists and photographers who showed up, all trying to edge their way to a good vantage point.
Since we arrived very early, I had chosen a prime place to stand, but I found others pressing in and trying to edge me away from my spot. I received some irritated looks when I wouldn't budge or let aggressive photographers try to set up their tripods in front of me. I'm sure they thought an old lady with what they perceived as a little 'point and shoot' camera, had no business taking up that space.
I found I wanted to justify myself by saying, "You know, I have a big fancy camera, a ton of expensive lenses, a tripod and a backpack full of camera gadgets, too, but I'm traveling light this trip and left all my heavy gear at home because I'm testing out a new, lightweight compact mirrorless camera." Of course, I did not say any of that, but I wanted to!!
Quickly my thoughts turned to enjoying this beautiful spring morning. We all watched with anticipation as the sky gently lightened toward the east, followed by the first sun rays appearing on the horizon, and then finally, the full sun bursting into view and rewarding us with a spectacular sunrise! What a joy it was to witness this beautiful scene.......along with 75 strangers, all crammed together like sardines!!
We may have been strangers but we all had something in common at that moment, a love and reverence for nature and this beautiful world we live in. Why else would we all get up in the middle of the night, travel in the dark and gather in this remote area just to witness this scene!
All around me I heard shutters from expensive slr cameras, cheap point & shoot cameras, cell phones and tablets clicking, clicking, clicking, like an invasion of crickets. I remember a 'story' told in photography circles where someone asked a photographer his opinion about which camera would take the best pictures, and the photographer replied, "the one you have in your hands"! Well, this is my favorite image I took with the camera I had in my hands!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Turret Arch & South Window
Arches National Park, Utah
Another rare Selfie! Yes, I am tall, and yes, I do have long legs, but not like this. Actually, to get a good idea of the size of this arch, my shadow is about 2 times taller than I really am. This is Turret Arch framing South Window, in Arches National Park. The most famous view of Turret Arch is facing the other way, that is, looking at Turret Arch through North Window.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Friday, May 6, 2016
Moonrise Through North Window
Arches National Park, Utah
Moonrise Through North Window. I was standing in the 'window' with all the other photographers waiting for the moon to peek over the horizon for a great shot, but it turned out to be a pretty boring moonrise. Finally it got too dark to see well so I decided to call it a day. When I was only a few yards away from the car I came upon an elderly man waiting patiently by his tripod. My first thought was that he was not able to hike up to the 'window' because of age or health. Just as I stopped to say hello, he told me to turn around, and this was the scene I saw. This wise photographer knew where to be for the best shot that evening. It was the one time on this trip that I regretted not using a tripod. Handheld, my photo is not as sharp as it should be, but it will remind me that sometimes it pays to do the opposite of what all the other photographers are doing, and the best shot may be behind me!!
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Friday, April 29, 2016
Sunset Golden Hour with Moon in Arches National Park
(Caught Between Day and Night!)
(Caught Between Day and Night!)
When I finished taking the photo in my last post, and was walking back to the car, I looked east and saw this beautiful scene. The orange rocks and the La Sal Mountains in the background were brilliantly illuminated by the setting sun while the moon was announcing that nighttime was close at hand.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Skyline Arch (I think)
Just before sunset is the perfect time to capture the intense color of the red and orange rocks and cliffs in southern Utah. We spent a few fun days with our ATV group riding in Moab, and then a couple extra days to relax and take photos. Moab, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are all within a short distance from each other, and we enjoyed spending some time in each area. (Can you see the person who posed so nicely for my photo?)
Monday, April 25, 2016
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Sunbeams and Blossoms on Temple Square
Sunbeams and Blossoms! Temple Square is now filled with hundreds of varieties of spring blossoms and flowering trees. It is unbelievably beautiful. There is color everywhere. I really believe it is not possible to take a bad picture at this time in this place! (Well, maybe there is an exception or two!) The mixture of the scent of hyacinths and the other flowers is heavenly. There is nothing more peaceful, inspiring, or rejuvenating than strolling slowing among this beauty early in the morning and drinking it all in. It is natural to focus one's attention downward at the flowerbeds, but looking heavenward reveals new scenes of beauty as well.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Tack sharp exposure? Double vision? Blurred? Out of focus? In flower photography, anything is acceptable. One can purposely choose to create a 'soft focus' presentation..... or create an 'artistic' look to make the most out of of a bad exposure....or be pleasantly surprised when a shot just turns out weird!! All in the eye of the photographer.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Friday, April 8, 2016
Thursday, April 7, 2016
I was surprised to see these cream colored daffys in my garden......I don't remember planting any cream colored ones. I thought they were all a standard yellow variety. Can daffodils change color from year to year?? I photographed these daffodils in front of a neutral background to create a mono color look.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016
Valley of Fire Sunset
So last week when I was in Valley of Fire State Park, it was a beautiful day with lots of blue sky and a few puffy clouds. But by late afternoon the sky had totally clouded over and my hopes for some great sunset photos were gone. I finally decided to leave for home. I was just about out of the Park when I glanced at the western sky and saw just a sliver of blue, and I thought what the heck, why not stay a little longer and see what happens. Within just a short time, just before sunset, the sky cleared, and the sunset was amazing and lasted long enough for me to take my photos. I've taken lots of photos of cactus blooms and lots of photos of sunsets, but I think this is my favorite photo of cactus blooms and a sunset in the same scene!
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Monday, March 21, 2016
On the way home from a weekend car show in Las Vegas with the family, I took a detour to spend a late afternoon and evening in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. The weather was perfect and this is just a few miles off the freeway. Pretty nice place to relax and enjoy the view for a few minutes!
Friday, March 18, 2016
Snow Canyon Blossoms
I typically take pictures of red cliffs, wildflowers or cactus blooms in Snow Canyon, but when I was there a couple of days ago, I saw this one lone tree next to a parking lot that was just bursting with beautiful blossoms. Hundreds of bees had found the tree as well, and I risked being stung getting this close for a macro shot. I soon learned that they were much too busy with their work, (busy as bee!), to bother with me.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Wildflowers in Snow Canyon
Yesterday I shot these tiny wildflowers, measuring about 1/4 inch across, on a sunny day in Snow Canyon, about 10 minutes from our home. I'm always looking for interesting backgrounds for macro shots. I liked the contrast of these bright flowers in front of a large, black volcanic rock spotted with yellow and orange lichen. I have a photographer friend who knows the name of every flower I have ever asked him about, and he tells me this is called Woolly Daisy, AKA, Wallace's Woolly Daisy. I'll take his word since he's an expert in naming western wild flowers!
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016
Cholla Basking in Sunlight
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Monday, March 7, 2016
I think this is called Notch-leaf Phacelia
I have a really demanding ( his own word) blogging friend who wanted to see a close up of the flower in my last post. Well, Mr. Author R. Mac Wheeler, this is the best I can do. I didn't have a macro lens with me so this is the best close-up I have. I liked this composition because of the contrast of the dark/solid and light/textured background dividing the frame diagonally.
Below is a different composition with the same flower: