Posts Tagged Autumn

Kinsee to Kaintsee

Well, you know photographers are supposed to get up in the middle of the night to find sunrise, then stay up till after dark to capture sunset. Makes sense, it’s when the best light occurs. Generally speaking I’m not a very good early riser. I figure if I get up in the morning the whole world owes me something. Here’s an example of how it pays off (click on the images to view them):

Dead Horse Point, Sunrise

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

 

And here’s an example of why you should hang around for the afternoon light:

Fisher Towers, Sunset

Fisher Towers Susnet

Fisher Towers Susnet

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Desert Whirlwind 5

The desert is a region that’s so arid that you can die from dehydration and become a mummy in a fairly short time. There’s simply no water to be found, except for a few rivers, which become major waterways if they contain water year ’round.

It’s interesting that so much (all?) of the stunning landscapes we marvel at in the desert have been made by water. Oceans draining started the process. Rivers running at levels beyond modern imagination cut the canyons. Prehistoric lakes allowed different minerals to settle out, creating a colorful landscape that sometimes boggles the mind.

When one is in the desert, water is never far form one’s mind. Hoping to find some if you don’t have any with you (a foolish–perhaps deadly–choice). Hoping it doesn’t rain if you’re in a slot canyon. Standing next to one of the existing streams (if you can find one) and contemplating what water has done.

We went into Zion park and took the shuttle bus to the end of the line. Then we walked with about a million other people up the trail, getting a tantalizing glimpse of the river now and then. We finally couldn’t stand it any more and went down to the shore. And made some photographs.

Water in the desert: what a treat!

Virgin River 1

Virgin River 1

Virgin River 2

Virgin River 2

Hard to believe that in a land where you could die of thirst in a matter of days you can find such lush, moist surroundings. It’s magic!

Further magic happened that night and the next day. It rained pretty constantly for several hours and the river changed. There was a lot more water in it and it was red as the sand and mud it was carrying.

Fascinating.

More to follow.

Bob

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Desert Whirlwind 4

After we got to Zion National Park, we spent a lot of time in Zion Canyon. Hiking from the end of the bus line to the start of the narrows, then up to the Emerald Pools, and other stops.

At one point, we came across a Sacred Datura with one lone blossom on it. The flowers are beautiful, but the plant is pretty dangerous if ingested. If you don’t die of heart failure, you’ll have some serious hallucinations. (I’ve been told.) This is the plant that Carlos Castañeda wrote about in The Teachings of Don Juan among others in his series of Don Juan books. Pretty poison, I guess. Of course, I had to get out the macro lens and get in tight. I think it worked out pretty well.

Datura1

Datura1

Datura 2

Datura 2

Not bad for a weed, huh?

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Desert Whirlwind 3

I love aspen trees.

I love them when they’re young, when they’re old, when they’re green and, especially, when they’re decked out in Autumn colors. Generally, aspen leaves turn yellow. On rare occasions, they turn orange or red or coral pink. That’s a real treat.

As we drove over Boulder mountain on our race back to Zion NP, we came across some red aspen leaves. Of course we had to stop and photograph them. I did a kind of general landscape shot, then a closeup of some of those great red leaves. I hope you like them as much as I do. (Remember to click on the images to see them full size and with decent color.)

Aspen Forest

Aspen Forest

Aspen Leaves

Aspen Leaves

Then we made it to Zion. I haven’t been here for a long time. Passed through a couple years ago, but I was in a hurry to get somewhere, so I barely stopped to look around. On the way in, I remembered that it was about 35 years ago to the month that I took a photo workshop with my friend Duck. That workshop was with photographer John Telford, who pretty much owned the desert in those days. We came to Zion and did some amazing photography, and that’s when I got hooked. Hooked on both the desert and on photography. So I guess this is a sort of pilgrimage for me.

Stopped in the upper park and I got this photo of one of the spires Zion is so famous for.

Zion Scenic

Zion Scenic

More to follow,

Bob

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Ain’t it Grand!

Spent most of the day exploring in the Grand Staircase National Monument. Really, one road, 15 miles, 4hours. Yes,  a few fotos and a conversation with a very nice BLM Ranger. Jeff stopped as we were goofing around with my GPS (no, we weren’t lost, the mesa we were trying to find was) and chatted for a few minutes. When he was sure we weren’t up to any skullduggery, he gave us a couple ideas of what to look for down the road, reminded us not to “collect” anything and wished us a nice day (actually he said, “Check six,” but it’s the same thing. I’ll explain it to you if necessary).

It was nice in there. First, the only other human we saw was Jeff, and second we ran into dozens of spectacular junipers (my favorite tree), and managed to catch a fair sunset again. Best of all, the closest we came to turkey was a flock of about 20 wild ones. I tried a few fotos, but the ones that had the best poses were a little blurry and the ones that were in focus were mostly turkey backsides. Oh, well.

The Juniper:

The Sunset:

More to follow,

Bob

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What I’m thankful for

I’m thankful to be here in my favorite place on Earth. There’s every kind of desert image available within a few miles of ‘camp,’ and I take full advantage of it.

This morning we went to Hanksville to check out some new roads we found a nice lady who knew the familly that built the Wolverton Mill. Then we headed for the bentonite country to see what we could see. It was spectacular and I have a lot of images from the area. This may not be the best, but it shows some nice formations and gives a hint to the Spring Break crowd what they can expect. Assuming it doesn’t rain within the week before we get there. This stuff is murder when it’s wet.

Bentonite hills

Bentonite hills

Then there was sunset. This tree grabbed my attention from the start and most of the images I did of the sunset included it. It’s a pine tree, but I don’t discriminate. While I love junipers, I have equal feelings for pines. Especially the ones that look so interesting as this one.

Sunset Tree

Sunset Tree

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Oh, and another thing I’m thankful for: I don’t have to eat turkey or watch football today! Life is good!

More to follow,

Bob

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Oh, deer!

I don’t shoot much wildlife, with either a camera or a gun, but when I saw the desert bighorns today, I had to give it a try. I had heard that they hang out around Capitol Reef, but had never seen one here. That changed this morning, when I slammed on the brakes and pulled over, making Nick wonder just what I was up to. Grabbed the camera and strolled toward the sheep, who strolled away from me, but I got a few shots. Here’s one that isn’t awful.

We’ve been driving through the campground area in the evenings trying to find a good place for sunset photography. Each night there would be a nice buck mule deer and a dozen or so does and fawns. I figured that if today was wildlife day, I’d photograph the deer. Drove down the campground road and not one deer was to be found. We drove through the eerily empty campground and saw nothing. On the final loop, we saw some deer. Here’s one that posed for me. I think it’s a yearling, but won’t bet on it.

There were some wild turkeys on the road yesterday, but I guess they’re hiding out in fear of tomorrow. Oh, well.

More to follow,

Bob

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No, I really can’t help it!

OK, so here we are, looking at all sorts of cool stuff and I just had to go back to Factory Butte. As you’ll see, the sky was spectacular in the Park, so I figured it would be equally good out at the Butte. Besides, we had a couple hours to sunset, so what the heck. Nick knows I’m a pretty whiney goof if I don’t get my way, so off we went. I’m glad we did. Another couple hundred images and something I think I might like.

How did I know we should go to the Butte? Just look at the sky in this image of the west side of the Reef and figure if it will be good to the East.

Capitol Reef Skyline

Capitol Reef Skyline

Then see what the sky had in store for us at the Butte.

Factory Butte #3

Factory Butte #3

Oh, and I also love juniper trees. This one had a nice little desert garden waiting to be discovered, so I had to photograph it. The pale green-leaved plant on the right side of the garden is the Roundleaf Buffalo Berry. According to an interpretive sign at another national park, the Buffaloberry is the only plant that Native Americans couldn’t figure out a use for. It’s kinda nice in this garden, though.

Desert Garden

Desert Garden

More to follow,

Bob

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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Fall, Winter, Fall, Winter, Winter, Winter, Winter

The title of today’s blog is a sort of recap of Wyoming’s seasons. At least what we’ve had so far. It’s snowing again, and I think Winter is going to set in for good now.

Between the two or three snowstorms in September and October, the cotoneasters in the front yard got all autumny. I went out several times to do some close-up photography (most photographers, including me, generally call this macro photography, but as I understand it, that’s wrong. It’s really micro photography. But if you’re in the .1% of people who insist on being right no matter what, one can sound kind of goofy. So what I’m about to show you are macro shots). (Oh, man, I love parenthetical phrases. They’re so confusing and cool. And they make even me lose my train of thought. Here’s what I was going to say before I so rudely interrupted myself.) Every time I went to make images, Ma Nature turned on the wind machine so I couldn’t get a good image. I finally sort of snuck up on here and got these shots.

Anyway, here are a couple new autumn cotoneaster shots and one you’ve seen before, but one that is something of a victory for me. I’ll tell you more later.

I’d say fall is my favorite season, followed by winter, then spring. I hate summer with its heat, bugs and heat and humidity (in some places) and heat. No, I can’t explain why I’m drawn to the desert, which invented heat. Here is why I like autumn best:

Autumn Cotoneaster 1

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s another example.

Autumn Contoneaster 2

Click on image to enlarge

This fern has driven me nuts. I photographed it in Alaska and put it on the blog as an hommage to Ansel. After all, when I saw this image, I instantly recalled his fern and horsetail shot in, I think, Glacier National Park. I had a poster of that image until life happened and in the transition I managed to damage it. But I always liked that image. I had to emulate Ansel with this scene. When I got home I started to get the photo ready to print. I still can’t explain why, but I can tell you what went wrong. No matter what kind of B&W conversion I used, I got a color cast to the image. Kind of green. Something I hated, but that people who looked at the print said they kind of liked. Well, being the potential-customer-oriented salesman I am I ignored their comments and continued to try to get the stupid thing black-and-white. I finally got there, although I can’t tell you how and probably can’t ever replicate the process, but here is the image I came up with.

Another fernBW

Click to enlarge

Ansel did it right, starting with black-and-white film. Cheers!

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Denali Mountains

We traveled alongside the Alaska Range from Anchorage to Denali. In the park we saw some beautiful landscape. One of the first stops was at Polychrome Pass, where I did a quick HDR of the scene. I think it worked out pretty well.

Polychrome Pass, Denali NP, Alaska

Polychrome Pass, Denali NP, Alaska

Our guide said that on average, only 30% of visitors get to see Mt. McKinley (what the native Alaskans call Denali and what the European-descended folks call “The Mountain,” or just “it,” as in, “Did you see it?”

We saw it. I posted an HDR of Denali last week, here’s a non-HDR view from a different angle.

Mt. McKinley, Denali NP, Alaska

Mt. McKinley, Denali NP, Alaska

More to follow,

Bob

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