Exploring a State Park

Photo ops are everywhere!

Over the past week, I enjoyed the pleasure of a photo tour of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, which was led by Joseph Rossbach; it was a great way to learn more about this park, as well as picking up some new (for me) processing techniques.

Of course, being in this part of the country, there are the majestic landscape photo opportunities, some of which I will definitely share with you. One of the fun things to also explore are some of the details of the rock structures and formations.

Rock Structure 1

The structure of this rock gives a sense of an almost living entity or possibly the remains of what once was a living being, possibly a skull fragment of an ancient and wise dragon; or our mind might take us further, as if we’re looking at the landscape of a distant, alien planet.

One of the aspects of this rock is that the color appears to be there in myriad micro-dots, creating a fuzzy, almost unfocused feeling to the image.

This image was captured using a Canon EOS R5 and EOS RF 24-105mm F4/L lens. I used focus bracketing to increases the fine focus on this fuzzy-looking image.

iPhone Friday

Joshua trees all aglow!

Just because I was on a photography trip doesn’t mean that I don’t take some iPhone shots. Here’s one from this week…

Joshua Trees at Gold Butte

On Wednesday afternoon we took a detour from Valley of Fire State Park to go to Gold Butte National Monument in Mesquite, Nevada. Due to recent rainfall the Joshua trees in this area look phenomenal and these here were among the tallest and healthiest of the bunch!

Captured with the iPhone 14 Pro Max in Raw mode. Thus far, I’m really pleased with the image quality of this phone.

Thursday Teaser

A taste of more to come!

As I’m spending this week in the amazingly beautiful Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, I thought it might be interesting to share a teaser of the images that I will be working on when I return home…

Swoosh Rock

This shot is from early in the morning, as first light comes in and the sun is still hidden by the buttes behind us. This image is pretty raw and still needs work, but it gives you an idea of the beauty that we get to see here.

Spring’s Return

Spring refills us with hope.

As we encounter the first day of February, we’re closing in on six more weeks before the seasonal renaissance: Spring! Tomorrow is Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil will emerge and, hopefully, not see his shadow.

While we await Phil’s prognostication, let’s lift our spirits…

Spring’s Return

In this shot from May of 2014, Yoga Tree is almost back to full strength, demonstrating her power of recovery from everything that a New England Winter might throw at her. Let’s look forward to a gentle, warm Spring to arrive soon!

Travel Tuesday – Ep. 3

A lovely view and place for some birds!

Another Tuesday, so let’s grab another one from the travel photography closet and dust it off…

A Lovely View

Another gorgeous day from our travels. I expect that someone might recognize this vista, but be forewarned that it’s not a top destination!

That’s all the hint, as there are many eagle eyes among you!

Monochrome Monday

As a soul passes through the ephemeral plane…

It would be more accurate to call this image almost monochrome, as I left a bit of color in this shot from 2011…

Transition

This is another example of using movement to alter an image; in this case, I loosened the lens ring just enough to all the entire barrel to rotate without zooming in or out. Additionally, this is a long exposure (>30 s) allowing the taillights of cars to create a dance of strings moving through the image.

Silent Sunday

Against the forces of the wind…

Going through my back catalog…an image from 2008 for a photography class…

Solitude

This image is inspired by one of the early works by Piet Mondrian that I saw in a museum in Den Haag many years ago. It featured trees bent by the wind and immediately gave me a sense of the eternal battle with solitude.

I created the shot by building a stand from a paperclip and hot gluing it to the bent for. The paperclip was fed through a hole in the continuous paper and I lit it with a single 60 watt lightbulb to cast the specific shadow.

C.P. #6: In-Camera Abstraction

Dance of the Gwragedd Annwn

One of the approaches to changing up my photography game over the years is to experiment in lots of different directions. These experiments have always been more about finding out if there was something that connected for me rather than having a very precise target.

With this approach, I have found that there have been numerous blind alleys that didn’t resonate and a few paths that I keep returning to, as there’s just something that keeps pulling me in their direction. One such path is using the camera to create more abstract images, such as this…

Dance of the Gwragedd Annwn

This image from 2012 is an example of the abstract path that I called an exploration of kryptomorphaics; yes, I made the word up from the concepts of hidden (krypto) and changing the shape (morph) of what I saw in front of me. A lot of these images are whimsical, such as this one, where the bright bits of light among leaves allowed me to create a completely new form for them. Thus the title of this shot, as Gwragedd Annwn are beautiful water faeries.

The technique on this image is rather straightforward, as I did a simple tight, imperfect round motion with the barrel of the lens to create a more circular form during the 0.3 second exposure. This created the more dance-like movement of the light across a darker landscape, giving the illusion of water sprites flittering in front of us.

During my exploration I found many ways to create abstractions directly in my shots, and every once in a while I think of a new thing to try to see how it connects for me. As I used these various techniques there did come a point that I started ‘seeing’ the possibilities in various scenes that allowed me to create something interesting.

I’d love to hear of what your photographic explorations have created for you!

iPhone Friday

Is there a dark side of the moon!

A special post this week as I took the plunge to the latest and greatest iPhone released and acquired an iPhone 14 Pro Max (in Deep Purple). If you’re a frequent mobile phone photographer, like me, it’s always nice to verify that the restore part of the backup/restore process works.

When I checked my albums, I came across this fun shot…

Brit Floyd at the Hanover in Worcester, MA

This photo was from the last concert that I attended pre-pandemic; it was Brit Floyd at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA, on March 11, 2020. Brit Floyd shows are always amazing and you can see that the experience is both sound and vision!

Throwback Thursday

A bit of color and curve!

In this week’s edition, I’m taking us back to a photo from 2014…

Graffiti Anatomy

The fun here was to juxtapose the supremely creative Graffiti Anatomy art toy by Crew Design of Perth, UK, with another object that would balance the image. Luckily, I had this little blue vase that offset the predominant orange of the art toy and allowed for the curves to work together as well.

This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens. Studio lights were used and a product table to manage the reflection and background.

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