Posts Tagged Sunset

Home for the Holidays

I’ve mentioned before that several years ago, after having lost my muse because I stayed away from the desert far too long, I had to take a trip back to this beautiful country. As I dropped into Capitol Reef from the west, I burst into tears and said to no-one in particular, “Mother, I’m home.” To no-one? No, to the desert itself.

The mother desert? Yes, why not? It’s part of Mother Nature (or, as I often refer to her when the weather is bad, Ma Nature), and it’s the best part, I’ll warrant. There’s something about the desert that attracts me and nurtures me.

That’s hard to believe when one gives a cursory look around. There’s really not much there to offer physical sustenance (while I haven’t tried it, I’d guess it’s hard to eat cactus spines or juniper bark). If it’s not physical sustenance the desert offers it must be something else. Sustenance for the soul, perhaps. A deeper look confirms that.

I decided on that trip so long ago that this desert is my soul’s home. And home is where I need to be.

So I went down to the desert this past Thanksgiving. That means a couple things:

  • First, no turkey for thanksgiving dinner. In fact, if I didn’t stash some food in my motel room, no dinner at all. Everything closes for the holiday in the small towns that border the area I love. And that’s a good thing. I hate turkey anyway
  • Second, it reminds me to be truly thankful for this incredible landscape, my family and friends. You know, all the good things

But what is it that is so attractive in this land of harsh, dry rock and clay? Clearly there’s something. Perhaps it’s just the glee one feels when yet another stunning piece of land presents itself. And in that presentation challenges the photographer to record it with sensitivity and love.

Along with the discovery and recording comes the opportunity to share this experience with others. That’s key: the opportunity to share my experiences. When I stumble across natural beauty, I want to share it. And the best way for me to share is through my photography. So here are a couple looks at what I was thankful for last week.

 

As you know, I’m fascinated by Factory Butte. I walked in closer to the landform to see what it looked like up close.

 

Factory Butte

Factory Butte

 

The ‘badlands’ around the Butte are equally worth taking a look at.

 

Clay Hills, Caineville, Utah

Clay Hills, Caineville, Utah

 

And, of course, what’s a photography trip without a sunset?

 

Sunset, Capitol Reef National Park

Sunset, Capitol Reef National Park

 

Or a sunrise, for that matter?

 

Sunset, Capitol Reef National Park

Sunset, Capitol Reef National Park

 

 

 

More to follow,

Bob

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You CAN go home, I guess

I’ve been pretty inactive with my blog and I guess I could claim that it was work that was getting in my way.

OK, so I’ll make that claim.

But now that I’ve retired from my ‘day job,’ I’ve got time on my hands and I can’t think of a better way to use that time than to revisit old images to see if I was right in hanging on to them ‘just in case’ I learned a little more in Photoshop or if Lightroom ever advanced to the point that I’d like to use it most of the time. And if my ability with the processing software has indeed improved, the resulting images would be no good if they’re not shared, so I’ll try to post at least weekly.

The best way to start is to go through old files and see what I can find. I’ll share the results with you and tell you a few stories along the way. (I’ve always thought I should put more into the blog posts, so here is my first attempt.)

The best way, I think, to go through a project like this is to go in a somewhat chronological order, so I’ve started with a file that’s appropriately labeled “Soul Search 2006.” That was really the first serious attempt I made to capture images with a digital camera and not knowing the medium and not being particularly familiar with the processing software left me with a lot of captures to finish today in ways I could not have a decade ago.

For the fotos included with this post, however, the images aren’t as important as the reason I went.

It had been at least 20years since I’d been in the desert. I missed it, but I didn’t realize quite how much. Knowing that I had to go, I made plans for a two-week trip, visiting Arches, Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks and in the interim, Hovenweep and Navajo National Monuments and a few state parks to boot.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but everything worked out just fine in the long run.

I finally realized how much I missed the desert when I dropped into my last stop, Capitol Reef National Park. As I entered from the west, I saw the cliffs and domes and burst into tears, saying to no one in particular, “I’m home.” It was that stop that made me realize that the desert, and especially Capitol Reef is my soul’s home. I had abandoned it for two decades, but it called me back and I answered that call. I’m glad I did, because that put me in a mind to move back to Utah in order to have more access to the desert and upon retirement I have done so.

What came out of that soul search? Quite a bit, actually. Most important is the knowledge that the desert is my home, of course. The images are of secondary importance to the self-knowledge  I gained, but I’ll share a couple fotos from that trip today and from subsequent visits home as I process them. For today’s post,  I’ve got a couple that rather frame the trip (first stop and last stop) and I’m ready to share, so take a look (As always, click on the images to see the whole thing):

 

First stop: Arches National Park

Delicate Arch and the Lasalle Mountains, Arches National Park

Delicate Arch and the Lasalle Mountains, Arches National Park

 

Final stop: Capitol Reef National Park (luckily in bad weather)

 

Storm, Capitol Reef National Park

Storm, Capitol Reef National Park

 

More to follow,

 

Bob

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Can he make a comeback?

Wow, has it been that long? I’ve been thinking that it’s been too long since I posted to my blog, but the reality is shocking. Since the last post was a couple years ago following a trip to the Oregon Coast, I figured a good re-start would be to post an image of a Lighthouse from the Maine Coast. You know, coast-to-coast vacation or some such thing.

In addition, I thought I had let my domain lapse, but apparently I misread a communication from my host about that. In fact, I just got another renewal notice from them after a very long time, so I figured, ‘what the heck’ I may as well see if I can get back at this.

A lot has happened since that Oregon trip and I’ve got a lot more miles on me, but as I contemplate retirement in the next year, maybe blogging will be my way of assuring that I stay active.

We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s my take on an image that you’ve undoubtedly seen by other photographers before. It’s the Bass Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park. My friend Gary and I and about 100 other people (some were nice, some were jerks) stopped by for a sunset look at the lighthouse and the bay. Not bad, even for a cliché shot. (click on the image for a full-screen view)

 

Bass Head Lighthouse

Bass Head Lighthouse, Acadia National Park, sunset

 

More to follow?

Bob

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The Oregon Coast 4

It’s interesting to watch people with cameras at sunset. When the sky gets all pretty and the sun hangs on the horizon they snap away. Rightly so, of course, because that nice, soft, colorful sunset light makes for some interesting compositions. But as soon as the sun drops below the horizon, most people put their cameras away and disappear. I’m always glad to see that happen because I know I’ll get the better photographs. The light continues to get interesting and colorful after the sun goes down, but most people think that when the sun sets it’s all over.

I showed you some pre-sunset images the other day. After I made them, I moved on along the beach to see what else was there and to see what would happen after the sun went down. Sure enough, there was some good photography left in the day. Here are a couple post-sunset images. See what you think.

Click to see them full size and properly colored.

Post sunset Seal Rock Beach

Post-sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

Post-sunset Seal Rock Beach

 

In the waning light, the sky took on a very dramatic appearance.

Post sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

Post-sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

Post-sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

 

Yes, it’s always a good idea to wait just a little longer to see what happens.

More to follow,

Bob

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The Oregon Coast 3

Our trip along the Oregon coast was easy to take because we didn’t have to get up early for sunrise. And sunsets were easy to stay awake for. I like shooting sunsets because you can find all sorts of colors and tones in the light. The problem sometimes is that there’s a lot of haze in the sky at sunset. Daytime warming by the sun stirs things up, the wind blows and stirs more, so sometimes sunset shots just don’t look right. Add to that the fact that most of our sunset photography tries were ‘clouded out’ and you get a limited choice in exposures to make.

We went to Seal Rock Beach for our first ocean-facing sunset images. While my friends were out photographing seals and pups, I was fiddling around, trying to catch some color and some mood. I think I got there. These two images show how a photographer can capture some nice colors and silhouettes just before the sun goes down.

Of course, it helps to have a very active ocean to provide some sense of movement and some nice reflections. The cormorants and gulls flying out for supper make some nice points of interest in the sky, too.

Click on the images for full resolution and proper color.

Seal Rock Beach Before Sunset

Pre-sunset Seal Rock Beach

Pre-sunset Seal Rock Beach

 

Seal Rock Beach Before Sunset #2

Pre-sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

Pre-sunset Seal Rock Beach 2

 

There’s a little bit of Photoshop magic going on here, of course, but I don’t mind ‘fiddling’ with an image if I get decent results. I think this worked.

More to follow,

Bob

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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 2

OK, still trying to get to the site of our Board meeting, we pressed onward. From Bryce we traveled up over Boulder Mountain and went across Hell’s Backbone. Hell’s backbone was an interesting engineering feat, but all-in-all, we were disappointed in it.

Of course, we weren’t disappointed by our trip to Capitol Reef, undoubtedly my favorite place in the world.

First we met some of the local fauna while photographing in the Boneyard.

Lizard

Lizard

Then we went to see if we could find a decent sunset spot. The tree you see below is my favorite sunset silhouette.

Sunset Tree 1

Sunset Tree 1

And

Sunset Tree 2

Sunset Tree 2

It’s great to be back!

More to follow,

 

Bob

 

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Back in Monument Valley

It’s great to be back here. We have a good group of photographers and a beautiful location to work with, so I’m looking forward to another three days of spectacular scenics and with luck good images.

I’ve been here before, taking a daylong tour in the open bed of a truck. This time we’re traveling in comfort in a van, densely packed so we can’t bounce too far and with a guide who can take us to the nicest places.

Here are a few shots from today. Don’t forget to click on the images to see them full size and with the right color.

 

John Ford used to sit here and watch the scenes unfold. What a place to work!

John Ford Point, Monument Valley

John Ford Point, Monument Valley

The Mittens are prominent in all of Ford’s movies. Here they are just after the sun sank below the horizon:

Mittens, Sunset

Mittens, Sunset

It’s a rule for photographers that they should turn around when they’re photographing something. Moose reminded us of that and we found this shot:

Sunset, Monument Valley

Sunset, Monument Valley

That’s it for today.

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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