Test

Today I got a note from go doggy, er Go Daddy, the company that hosts my site. They told me that the credit card I had listed for automatic renewal had expired and I needed to update it. So I did. Then I went in and paid my bill.

 

In the mean time, go doggy killed my account. Imagine: I’m being punished because I didn’t sit in the admin section of go doggy and watch my credit card expiration dates. And when I immediately correct the issue, my website has disappeared.

Fail, go doggy, fail!

Valley of Fire 2

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada has a lot of great geology. The Earth was particularly tortured long ago in this area and the combination of multiple levels of sedimentation and twisting have made this a place of stunning geology. But geology isn’t the only attraction. There’s anthropology, too. There are petroglyphs in several places in the park. I visited some of them and will share them here.

 

First, a little more geology. The forces of nature must have been tremendous to cause this sort of fracturing and twisting:

Click the images to see them full size and in proper color (at least the ones that have color):

 

Fun with Geology

Fun with Geology

 

Yes, it’s interesting in color, but I think this monochrome view shows a lot more.

The rock art is as good as any I’ve seen. Atlatl Rock has some petroglyphs high up. So high that the park management built a steel staircase to bring visitors close enough to see the glyphs well. Here’s what they look like:

 

Atlatl Rock Petroglyphs

Atlatl Rock Petroglyphs

 

Some of the themes are familiar, being pretty common among many rock art sites in the Southwest Desert, but some are a little different, bringing a lot of interest and speculation to the scene.

As I left the rock, I noticed the sun was in a position to play hide-and-seek as I walked in and out of the rock’s shadow. That rang a bell in my head that said, “Starburst.” When the sun just peeks over a rock or tree and with the right lens and f/stop, you can catch a starburst in an image. Here’s one I saw at Atlatl Rock:

 

Atlatl rock starburst

Atlatl rock starburst

 

As a bonus, you can follow the stairs and see where the petroglyph panel was.

 

I was impressed with Valley of Fire and will go back!

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Valley of Fire

I’ve heard about Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada for decades. I’ve always wanted to go there, but never seemed to find the time to head that way.

A couple weeks ago, I had to go to two conferences in Las Vegas (yes, had to go is the right term. I really don’t like Vegas for more than about two hours). I decided to go out a day early and visit Valley of Fire. I made the right choice.

I was only able to spend a few hours there, but what I saw confirms for me that I’ll be going back and spending some time there. It’s a beautiful place with so much to see that one day simply isn’t enough. I’ve got some images I’ll share with you over two posts, so check back next Wednesday for more.

There’s an area in Valley of Fire called The Wave. It’s photographed often and for good reason. I hiked into The Wave to check it out and came back with some images I rather like.

 

Here they are:

 

The first is a sort of establishing view. A desert garden with some very interesting geology. (Don’t forget to click on the images to see them full size and with proper color.)

It’s a beautiful area, I think you’ll agree.

The Wave #1

The Wave #1

 

But if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know that I love Black-and-White photos, probably more than I like color, so I converted the above scene:

The Wave Monochrome

The Wave Monochrome

 

I really like this view. For some reason, the lack of color accents the scene far better; to my eye, at least. As long as I was doing B&W, I decided to move up a little and capture the heart of the scene with a little desert garden:

 

The Hear to the Wave

The Heart of the Wave

 

Check back Wednesday to see what else I found at Valley of Fire!

 

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

More from the Desert

Our recent expedition into the desert was only a week long, but, man did we take pictures. The total for the five of us was a little over 8,000 images and I actually did more than 1,000. Back in the day, I would have likely done twenty or thirty, but digital photography offers a lot of options that require a lot of exposures. You might remember a couple weeks back I posted a panorama from the Totem Pole. That was made of about seven separate images. I’ve posted some High Dynamic Range images that take somewhere between four and seven exposures to blend into the final product. So it’s not all promiscuous shooting, sometimes the multiples are there for a reason.

Sometimes it’s necessary to do a lot of images just to get the one right shot. That’s the situation at Horseshoe Bend. The light is constantly changing, the framing always seems to be a challenge, so the photographer has the choice of either figuring out the exact right shot and being in the exact right position at the time the light is exactly right or finding a good frame and waiting, taking several images until the right one is there. (click on the images to see them full size and in the right color space.)

 

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

 

Or one might be driving up the road to Monument Valley and see a stunning sky outlining El Capitan. If you’ve watched the John Ford/John Wayne movies filmed in Monument Valley, you’ve seen El Capitan off in the distance. If you’ve driven by it, you’ve undoubtedly been impressed. I had to stop in two different places to make images. Again, if it had been in the old view camera days, I’d have carefully composed, metered the scene and waited for the clouds to be perfect and the light on El Capitan to be just right. With digital, we have the option of shifting our composition, our exposure and our zoom to capture the right image. It’s tempting to just blast away, but I hope that I’m thoughtful enough only to capture good scenes and only blast away when the light is constantly changing as it was in this situation.

 

El Capitan Navajo Nation

El Capitan Navajo Nation

 

I kind of like what I found in both circumstances.

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Little Side Trip

After the trip to the desert, I had about 14 hours to wash the sand out of my clothes, repack and head for Virginia. The National Telehealth Resource Center Coalition (my colleagues from around the country) held a meeting in Richmond for a couple days. During lunch one day, a friend suggested I join him in Washington, DC, to do a little photography. Didn’t take more than one suggestion and I had a train ticket in hand.

Whenever I’m near DC, I feel the need to do a pilgrimage to The Wall to pay my respects to a few old shipmates and Teammates. A foto trip was as good a reason as any to go and the visit to The Wall was an added benefit.

I don’t do much street photography. I always feel like I’m violating someone’s privacy when I photograph them, even if it’s a well-established concept that if they’re in public they really have no expectation of privacy. At The Wall, I found an interesting scene I felt compelled to record. A family stood reflected in the monument. I made up a story that went along with the scene. The family was with a young boy, about ten or so. I had a feeling that they were explaining to the young man why he never knew his grandfather, but where he could always come to find him.

 

Reflections at the Wall

Reflections at the Wall

 

There’s another story, too. Above The Wall is a sculpture of three soldiers. They’re in battle gear and looking at The Wall in the distance. Kind of like they were wondering where all 58,000 of the men and women whose names were etched in the black granite are. Maybe if they look again, they’ll find the lost ones. As I zoomed in on the faces of the soldiers, the usual sense of grief struck. I’d held it off for quite a while. But like last summer, when I visited and an old veteran (you know, my age) started playing taps on his bugle, it came on in a wave. Maybe we’ll find them someday.

 

Three Soldiers at the Wall

Three Soldiers at the Wall

 

RIP, Erwin Harder, Captain Pitzen, Mr. Pender, Mr. Greeleaf and Mr. McKinney. And thank you for enriching my life when I was with you.

 

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , ,

Totem Pole Pano

I’m sitting in the Minneapolis airport waiting for a plane that’s four hours late and getting later by the minute. Luckily I brought my laptop along on this trip. Usually, on business trips I bring only my iPad because it checks mail and takes notes just fine.

But this time, there’s a chance of seeing some autumn color in Virginia, so I figured I’d bring the whole shebang along again.

On my birthday, our guide, Harry (the best guide in Monument Valley) took us into the backcountry and we stopped at the totem pole. There’s a sweeping landscape in that area, so I took seven images and stitched them together to give a sense of the open vista.

Here it is (click on the thumbnail to see it full size and color-correct):

 

Totem Pole Pano

Totem Pole Pano

 

More to follow,

Bob

The Frameup

It’s been a busy week. Lots of time in the field making photographs, not much time to process and post before doing a nose plant into the pillow to be ready for the next day’s adventure. On a very auspicious day we hooked up with a guide. He asked us what we wanted to see and we told him.

That started a long day of traveling the back roads of Monument Valley Tribal Park. Harry, our guide, often made suggestions about where to find good photos and he was seldom wrong. Harry suggested the framing below and it turns out it was a good idea. We all stood in line to get the right position and framing for the West Mitten.

Here’s what I found:

West mitten framed

West mitten framed

 

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunrise Silhouette

It’s easy to get up before sunrise as the year wears on. I was up and fiddling around yesterday so decided I should take advantage of our great room at the View and set up the camera on the balcony.

Here’s what I saw:

Monument Valley Sunrise Silhouette

Monument Valley Sunrise Silhouette

 

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Down in the Valley

We made it to Monument Valley. I think I saw the ghost of John Wayne talking to the ghost of John Ford. At least I figure this is where they’d be if they had their druthers.

Monument Valley is a special place and I’m looking forward to exploring it in more detail tomorrow. But just because we got in late in the afternoon doesn’t mean we couldn’t do some photography. Here are a couple images I took this afternoon and after supper. I kind of like them and hope you do, too. You really need to click on the images. The color in the thumbnail isn’t anywhere near what’s really there.

 

Sunset, Monument Valley

Sunset, Monument Valley

 

Monument Valley starlight

Monument Valley starlight

 

 

More to Follow

Bob

That’s a lot of slot

Those of you who know me know that I love slot canyons. We found this one and spent several hours oohing, aaahing and making photographs. The canyon ranged from a couple feet wide to a wide open canyon and the colors were spectacular.

Of course, if you know me at all, you know I prefer black-and-white as an image. Henri Cartier-Breson once said that our first 10,000 photographs are our worst. In pursuit of a black-and-white I can be happy with, I may have to go to 15,000. But, luckily, the canyon provided some excellent opportunities and I’ll share them with you today.

First, the color image. After all, this is color country (click for full size and color).

Slot canyon Overhead

Slot canyon Overhead

 

But then I just had to make some monochrome images. Remember that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sang words that I will always agree with in their Central Park concert. They correctly updated the words to Kodachrome to say, “Everything looks better in black-and-white.” No truer words have been spoken.

 

Slot canyon 1

Slot canyon 1

 

Still life in a slot canyon

Still life in a slot canyon

More to follow,

Bob

Tags: , , , , , ,