Friday, September 27, 2019

Mesa Arch

 Mesa Arch
Canyonlands, Utah
Tourists and other photographers crowd around me in front of this smallish arch and wait quietly in the dark, some of us for many hours. Finally, we notice a faint glow on the horizon, and then the rim of the sun peaks up from behind the distant mountains.  Immediately the underside of Mesa Arch turns a brilliant fiery red.  Within a few minutes a slice of sun creeps far enough over the mountains to cast a soft hazy light that silhouettes the canyon and pinnacles below.   And finally, the sun makes a grand entrance and bursts into view, its light rays revealing the beautiful hues of oranges, corals, reds, rusts and browns in this awesome landscape.  I love living in Utah!  

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Better Butterfly Photos

A few days ago I spent a couple of peaceful hours at the new Butterfly Biosphere at Thanksgiving Point.  Butterflies are often hard to photograph for the obvious reasons.  They move quickly, they blend in with flowers and foliage, they're small and have tiny patterns, etc.  Below I've posted some of my favorite shots from the day along with some tips about taking better photos of these beautiful creatures.

1.  First and foremost, be patient and plan to spend a lot of time just observing and waiting.  
2.  Plan on taking hundreds, if not thousands of photos to get a few that you like and are in focus.
3.  Use any lens you have, however, for the photos below, I used a telephoto lens.  



4.  Look for a monochromatic background that coordinates and/or contrasts with the colors in the butterfly to make an interesting composition. 

5.  Fill the frame with the butterfly, (zoom or crop),  to show intricate shapes, colors and textures.

6.  Try to isolate the butterfly a good distance from the background and surrounding foliage to make it stand out.

7.  Coordinate the colors of the butterfly with a color in the background for a pleasing composition.

8.  Create a small depth of field that blurs the background so the butterfly is not competing with other objects surrounding it or behind it.  (Small f number.)

9.  Often we view butterflies from above, looking down as they sit on flowers or foliage.  Find different points of view, like this one that shows antennae and profile of head.





10.  Look for unique compositions that will be eye catching and interesting.

My goal was to make the butterfly in each of the above photos the focal point and subject of the images.  Below is an example of a photo that is alright but did not meet my goal  This is more of an environmental nature shot where the scene is as important as the butterfly.  It is not as impactful if the subject is the butterfly.

   

Rainbow Over St. George Temple

Rainbow Over St. George Temple

I was in front of the temple waiting and hoping for a pretty sunset, and looked behind me and saw this amazing rainbow. I was disappointed it wasn't over the temple. Then I realized if I hurried around to take a shot in the opposite direction from the back of the temple, I might see the rainbow. Sure enough, it was even more intense and beautiful! I don't think I've ever taken a photo of a temple with a rainbow.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Summer Beauties

I love flowers! 

And I love to find interesting ways to photograph and present them to show off their beauty, color and unique qualities. This time of year I have to get my 'flower fix' in before they disappear until next year.....at least in my little corner of the world.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

BUG and BOKEH

BUG and BOKEH

Bokeh: In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality, size, shape, and intensity, of the blur in out-of-focus parts of an image, that is produced by the lens hitting a light source. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". Avoiding compositions that will include bokeh, or looking for compositions that will purposely create bokeh, depends on the personal preference of the photographer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cedar Breaks Wildflowers - 2

Cedar Breaks, Utah

I'm sure landscape and nature photography lowers my blood pressure, as well as being a respite from the desert heat, in this case! Another image taken at Cedar Breaks, Utah.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

Yesterday I needed a break from the desert heat of summer, and I knew just where to go. When we left St. George, the temperature was 105 degrees, (elevation around 2800 feet), and we ended up in Cedar Breaks National Monument where the temperature was 65 degrees (elevation over 10,000 feet). A 40 degree temperature change in a little over an hour's drive! Plus I get to see beautiful scenes like this! I love this little corner of Utah!!
Modern cameras and sophisticated editing programs make it possible to take photos in harsh, afternoon sunshine like this. Soft focus, contrast and shadows adjustments needed on these bright, backlit flowers.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hibiscus Memory

My mom loved flowers and our backyard in California was always overflowing with many varieties of them. Usually Mom liked to keep flowers alive and growing outside, with one exception. At dinnertime, when we would always sit down and eat together as a family, she would pick one flower, usually a hibiscus, camellia or gardenia, and float it in a small bowl of water for a simple, yet lovely, table decoration. Sometimes the little things a mother does become a wonderful family memory!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sunshine & Sunflowers

Sunshine & Sunflowers

Seriously, will anyone admit they don't like sunflowers!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sego Lily



Utah Sego Lily


The sego lily was chosen as the official state flower of Utah because of its natural beauty and historic significance. The soft, bulbous root was collected and eaten in the mid 1800's by early Mormon pioneers during a crop-devouring plague of crickets.

Friday, July 5, 2019

4th of July, 2019

Happy 4th of July From Tuacahn Utah
For those not familiar with Tuacahn, it is an outside amphitheater tucked in this beautiful canyon where they present live performances all summer.  Tonight's production was 'The Little Mermaid'

"And I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I'd gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
'Cause there ain't no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
--Lee Greenwood

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Finding Beauty in Simple Things

Finding Beauty in Simple Things ....
like wild rhubarb surrounded by a sea of delicate desert wildflowers

Nature/landscape photographers are always searching for that knock-your-socks-off epic scene with stunning sunsets, towering cliffs or magnificent waterfalls. I am too! Images like that attract lots of attention, especially on social media. But I also try hard not to lose my personal perspective and the joy I feel in appreciating the beauty of the small and less dramatic vignettes in nature that I look for and often find.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Lavender Fields

Lavender Fields
Young Family Farm
Mona, Utah

At this time of year, one can see these beautiful fields right from the freeway.  A few years ago, when I took this photo, it was possible to wander through the fields for free, but now you have to pay a fee.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Color Clash!

COLOR CLASH!
(Kinda hurts my eyes!)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Beauty Hiding in Plain Sight!

Beauty Hiding in Plain Sight

Taken at an exotic tropical island??? Actually, a motel parking lot near Disneyland! Another example of finding beauty hidden in plain sight. Bird of Paradise flowers were everywhere, but I happened to notice a shaft of soft morning light spotlighting this one flower, turning it into something beautiful.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Poppies and Snow

Poppies and Snow

NOTES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:
It is interesting for me as a photographer, to note that our eyes take in so many details when we look at a scene.  From side to side and top to bottom, there is usally a lot to look at and process.  Sometimes a scene is glorious everywhere I look.  Often, however, I see both pleasent and distracting objects in a scene that all vie for my attention.  But when I look through the lens of a camera, point it in one direction or another, zoom in or out, I can narrow down to what I really want to focus on and enjoy looking at, without distraction.  In this case, I can ignore the trampled poppies next to me, (not caused by me!), the bikes laying on the ground just out of the frame to the right, the painter and his easel to the left, and the new houses being built on the hill that would be in my photo if I had pointed my camera in a different direction.

Sometimes we have to readjust our viewpoint in some way, to really see the beauty hiding in plain sight!



Thursday, June 13, 2019

Poppies in Alpine

 Poppy Field in Alpine

NOTES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.  Learn to be flexible!  Expectations can change when you are 'in the field', (in this case, literally)!  I left early to capture soft morning light, but by the time I found this location the sun was above the mountain and the light was harsh.  Plus, there were already photographers, painters, hikers and bikers roaming around this small area.  I was not going to leave without a few shots, so I opted to shoot into the sun to back light the poppies and create an interesting sunflare.  I had to take my shots in between people walking into the scene and in front of my camera!

Kayenta Spring

Kayenta
Ivins, Utah

I took this just a few minutes before 9:00 pm.  Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE living in Utah, I LOVE spring in the desert, and I LOVE daylight savings time!!!  (It is about 5 minutes away from home.)

Gunlock Reservoir - Spring 2019

Gunlock Reservoir

NOTES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Color is critical in landscape and nature photography if your goal is to capture what you really see.  One of many ways to make your photos more interesting with color in mind, is to find scenes that attract attention because they are "color coordinated".  In other words, find compositions that have similar color shades and tones in different elements and positions in the frame.

Salt Lake Temple - The Blue Hour

Salt Lake Temple - The Blue Hour
This photo of the Salt Lake Temple was taken during what is known as the 'blue hour', or twilight, occurring just before sunrise (or after sunset). The dots in the water reflections are coins.)
 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Argentine Cactus

Giant Argentine Cactus
One of the largest and most beautiful cactus blossoms I've photographed.

Spring Blossoms

Dreamy Spring Blossoms

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bleeding Hearts


Bleeding Hearts 
Lamprocapnos spectabilis or Dicentra spectabilis


"I know a bleeding-heart plant that has thrived
for sixty years if not more, and has never
missed a spring without rising and spreading
itself into a grassy bush, with many small red
hearts dangling. Don't you think that deserves
a little thought? The woman who planted it
has been gone for a long time, and everyone
who saw it in that time has also died or moved
away and so, like so many stories, this one can't
get finished properly. Most things that are
important, have you noticed, lack a certain
neatness. More delicious, anyway is to
remember my grandmother's pleasure when
the dissolve of winter was over and the green
knobs appeared and began to rise, and to cre-
ate their many hearts. One would say she was
a simple woman, made happy by simple
things. I think this was true. And more than
once, in my long life, I have wished to be her."
                             ---Mary Oliver

I will miss these beautiful spring flowers in my garden!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Spring on Temple Square 2019 - 1

Spring on Temple Square - 2019

It was a beautiful morning on Temple Square. I never get tired of my annual Spring visit!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Desert Primrose


Desert Primrose

One of my favorite challenges when I take photos of flowers in nature is to find the smaller and often overlooked little gems, and then try to show off their modest beauty in the best possible way I can. When I saw this tiny Desert Primrose plant beside the dusty dirt road we were on, I knew it had potential!!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Joshua Blooms 2019

Hello!  I haven't been around for the past several months.  (Thanks to those who inquired if everything was alright.)  Just too much going on, (travel, Disneyland with the grands, purchase of new house, and preparing another house to sell), that I had to put my camera away for awhile.  But a couple of weeks ago I stole a few minutes just before sunset to drive into Snow Canyon for a shot of my favorite Joshua Tree.  It's my favorite because of the beautiful background to show it off.  This year was a Joshua Tree super bloom.  A few bloom every year but most do not, then some years they have a super bloom when most all the trees in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California bloom during the same season.  The experts don't know exactly how they all know which year to bloom!  P.S.  Our new home is right behind the red cliffs in the distance.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Quail Creek State Park, Utah

Quail Creek State Park, Utah

I bet there are a few fishermen out there who would be jealous of these two enjoying a sunny winter day out on the lake!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Watchman Peak, Zion National Park




Watchman Peak
Zion National Park

This is a magical place! It surprises and delights me every time I'm there. Having a bit of cabin fever yesterday, and needing to get away for a few hours, I grabbed my camera and took off. Without having a specific place to go, I found myself heading toward Zion, as I often do. It was just about sunset when I arrived at this iconic photo op. Every time I cross this bridge I tell myself I can't shoot this scene one more time, yet I always do, and rarely have I been disappointed. This time the bridge was full of photogs and visitors, as it always is, waiting for a beautiful sunset that never happened. The sun was hidden behind a sky full of clouds and the landscape was dark and dull. A man visiting the park for the first time walked over to where I was standing with my camera and tripod set up, looked at the scene, and asked what was everyone looking at. About this time most of the photographers were packing up to leave. Finally everyone was gone except for four other photographers and myself. We waited and waited and waited, and finally two gave up and left. The rest of us waited some more as it got darker and colder. Then finally the magic happened! It was like Mother Nature was going to reward us for our patience with a beautiful show. Slowly Watchman Peak appeared to have a very faint warm glow that slowly spread to the surrounding red cliffs and then began to grow more intense. As the clouds continued to disperse revealing blue sky, a few lingering sun rays directly hit the cliffs turning them instantly into a neon shade of orange which lit up the whole scene. It was lovely to behold! Another bit of magic that happens in this place is that the Virgin river, normally a muddy river with a dull green tinge, seems to take on the color of the sky at sunset. I have photos where the river is green, turquoise, rosy pink, and various shades of blue, depending on the color of the sky.Below is a photo I took of this scene before the magic happened:

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Winter Scene in Springdale, Utah



  A drab, colorless winter scene is transformed with golden sunset light. 
(Taken near Springdale, Utah on the way to Zion.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Snow Canyon Rainbow

Just outside Snow Canyon State Park, Utah

NOTES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:  A polarizing filter on your camera lens will make rainbow colors pop!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Snow Canyon - January 2019

A break in the storm over Snow Canyon, Utah.
Have I mentioned that I love Utah!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ivins, Utah - January Rainstorm

Ivins, Utah - January Rainstorm

.....and the much needed rains came to the deserts of southern Utah, creating seasonal waterfalls and a misty, magical scene to enjoy and photograph. This is 5 minutes from our southern Utah home but just out of the frame are beautiful homes in Kayenta that have this view every day.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Gunlock Reservoir, Utah

Gunlock Reservoir
 January 2019

I think watching sunsets must be a natural remedy to lower blood pressure and stress! This is what I saw last evening at Gunlock Reservoir.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Grand Canyon Overlook





Here's a few more photos I initially ignored, taken in March of 2018, but rethinking that they deserve a little love, if only to remember one of our RZR (ATV) trips last year. We rode from St. George to this remote Grand Canyon overlook. I don't remember if it had a name, but we were in Whitmore Canyon.