|Sunflowers and Monsoon Clouds Before the Storm|| |
|Sunflowers and Monsoon Clouds Before the Storm|| |
|Smokey Sunrise from Pine Mountain Fire|| |
Just the Paddle Boarder and the Photographer Enjoying a Peaceful Sunrise
Story: I drug myself out of bed early and drove to Fire Lake, hoping
for a beautiful sunrise. I was disappointed because the sky was boring,
the wind was blowing, and the colors were dull. I decided to stick
around anyway, found a composition, set up my tripod, and waited...and
waited, and waited. I was the only one there. After waiting longer, a
few clouds drifted by, and then the landscape started to slowly warm up
just before the sun peaked over the cliffs. Just when I thought I might
actually get a decent photo, this paddle boarder floated out from
behind the trees. He saw me and knew he was being photographed. About
an hour later, after the magic was gone, and people started arriving, I
was walking back to my car and noticed this same paddle boarder who was
loading up his car. I decided to stop and introduce myself and tell him
I was the photographer taking his picture. I told him I would send him
the photo if it turned out well. He grinned and said he would love
that. He'd never had a photo of himself on his board. I told him not
to get too excited because he would not be big enough in the frame to be
recognizable, but it might make a great computer screen saver. I just
now texted this image to him, and he texted back immediately, to thank
me again and said it looked 'amazing'. This little experience reminded
me that with just a little bit of effort we can brighten someone's day!
|Water Lily in the Desert|
|Sunset at Bryce National Park|| |
We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset after a lovely afternoon drive to Bryce National Park. As we stopped at various look out points off the main road, tourists visiting for the first time would turn to whoever was standing next to them and comment almost reverently, about how this was the most amazing landscape they had ever seen. Of course there are many, many beautiful landscapes on this amazing Earth, but I was reminded yet again, how fortunate I am to live where I can witness views like this in just a short drive from home.
It was so nice to meet and visit with your family in Bryce last night. We hope the rest of your vacation is wonderful and wish the best to Vighnesh at Berkeley. Here are a few of my photos of the places we talked about that are on your way to California:Zion
Snow Canyon - This is a short drive, but very pretty and close to where we live. Be sure to enter from the north end.
Valley of Fire - Exit off of I-15 before you get to Las Vegas.
|Smokey Sunrise in Ivins|
Last Saturday we woke up to a very dark, smoke filled sky that blanketed most of Utah. I was sure there must be a local fire nearby; however, I was amazed to learn we could receive such dense smoke blowing over this far from the devastating fires in California and Oregon. So heartbreaking for people living in those areas. (This looks like a sunset, but it was taken just after sunrise. I was surprised to see how my camera captured the sun with the circle of orange. I didn't see this until I downloaded to the computer.)
I was up every morning at 5am hoping for a beautiful sunrise, which is usually the norm at Lake Powell. On this trip, however, it only happened one day. With everyone still asleep, It was peaceful and still, a brief moment in time before the excitement, activity and laughter of children would commence and last for the next 14 hours of the day. I was standing on the back deck of the houseboat, camera in hand, hopefully waiting for a photo worthy moment, when my son-in-law quietly paddled around the back of the houseboat in his kayak and headed easterly. A few seconds later he was just in the right spot when the magic happened.
Our Lake Powell family reunion was awesome! The kids were in the water almost 12 hours every day and there were plenty of activities to keep them all busy.......water skiing, wake boarding, tubing, jet skiing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, jumping off the top deck of the houseboat, or sliding down the water slide, building sand castles, having water gun fights or relaxing on a very large, floating 'lily pad' that held about 5 adults or multitudes of kids. Our last day ended with an epic water balloon fight (about 900 balloon bombs). To those activities we add night games, fabulous food, tons of junk food and cases of soda, (stuff their parents would never let them eat at home). Last thing we do every night is called 'My Day In Six Words'. Everyone writes their favorite memory of the day, but must only use one 6 word sentence. We read them out loud and love hearing the best part of everyone's day. Then family prayer, and after a few hours of sleep it's time to do it all over again. Jeff and I are exhausted when the week is over, but it is ABSOLUTELY worth every single minute! We feel so blessed that our children and grandchildren not only love each other but like each other and have great times together. After the fun ends, everyone sends me the photos they took. I add mine and I make a hard cover book of our vacation and give each family a copy as a Christmas present. The parents tell me their kids look at those books all through the year as they anticipate their next Lake Powell adventure. (The one thing that was not great this year was night photography. Most days and nights there was a thick, dull haze that must have been caused by wild fires nearby. It cleared one day only to be replaced by cloud cover. On the last day, I kept watching the sky, and finally there was a break in the clouds and I could see the stars and Milky Way for a brief time. This year we anchored the houseboat where I could not get a shot of the lake and the Milky Way. I was standing in front of the houseboat with the lake at my back to have this view. I took one shot to expose for the foreground and cliffs, and another shot tho expose for the sky, and combined them. Enlarge to see more detail.)
I think this could be my favorite photo I've ever taken at Cedar Breaks, Utah
PHOTOGRAPHY PEP TALK:
This is for landscape and nature photographers who USED to chase the light by hiking up mountains, enduring adverse conditions and traveling around the world, in order to find and capture that perfect photo. But now those days are only memories, either because of physical limitations, advancing age, or other barriers limiting mobility and endurance. But I say, DON'T GIVE UP WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO. There are still beautiful photos to be taken in your current situation. You just need to look harder and recognize what is in 'your own backyard' or at least nearby. This photo and spectacular scene was taken at over 10,000 ft. elevation and I started at 2800 ft. to get there. But I didn't have to hike, I drove in a nice air conditioned car, and this view is seen from a parking lot. I walked about 8 steps from my car to find this composition and take my photo. So dust off your camera and find a way to keep doing what you love!