iPhone Friday

A mosquito that I don’t mind at all!

Happy Friday to everyone! For this week’s installment, I opted for one of the images from my recent trip to Valley of Fire state park in Nevada…

Mosquito Arch

Even though I was predominantly shooting with my main camera on a tripod, I like using my iPhone to get a sense of the composition that I want, particularly to determine the height from which I want to capture the scene; it’s a lot easier to go low with your iPhone than adjust a tripod 5 times.

As the sun was getting very low behind us, the light became really saturated, so I actually reduced the overall saturation quite a bit in this shot.

Monochrome Monday

The majesty of nature on display

Valley of Fire State Park definitely merits a return journey at some point in the future, as there are so many more vistas to capture!

For today’s monochrome image, I’m going for a thoroughly modern approach…

Sunrise on Striped Rocks

These glorious rocks were just getting lit up by the sun in our backs, as the tips of the buttes in the foreground are just getting a bit of light, while in the background light is bathing those formations already.

To explain the modern approach of this image. This is a focus stacked set of 5 images to get the greater depth of field and overall sharpness. There was a bit of processing to get them together and properly adjusted. There’s one more aspect to account for; the sky was a lovely, bland shade of blue, so with the help of Luminar AI, I created something a bit more interesting.

I’ll share the color version of this image later this week, so you can compare notes!

Valley of Fire – ep. 1

Sand and minerals turned to butterfly wings; now that’s geology!

During the week of January 30, 2023, I had the pleasure of spending 4 days in a stunning state park in Nevada: Valley of Fire. This first of Nevada’s state parks lies in the Mojave Desert and is known for its red Aztec sandstone formations that appear on fire when lit up by the sun.

My visit was part of a photo tour organized by Joseph Rosbach Photography and was a wonderful experience, as Joe really knows the park and area. Joe organized our day to be in the park by sunrise to catch locations that set up great for that time of day and spend 3-4 hours shooting until the light was not ideal. A break and time for some quick editing tips and lessons (I learned some cool techniques), and then back to the park by 2:30-3pm to shoot until after sunset.

The park has many features and lots of color in the rock, so as I start my editing, I’ll kick off with one of my favorites so far…

Rainbow Vista Butterfly Wing

The rock formations in the Rainbow Vista area of the park present a stunning array of colors, as seen in the image above. As the dunes turned to sandstone during the Early Jurassic period, various minerals were captured in the sand lending vibrant colors. The continued erosion and geological forces created exposures that are dramatic in their appearance and form.

As there is still a lot of editing to do, keep an eye open for future posts, featuring a variety of colors, arches and stunning landscape features, even including bacon strips!

Throwback Thursday

Do they float or are they submerged?

As I just went through a forced reconfiguration of all my storage, I poked around a bit in my back catalog to find something that for one reason or another never caught my eye.

Here’s a little bit of amusement that I came up with from an image captured in 2012…

Floating Pool of Mystery

As I used to have a sizable backroads commute to work back then, I made sure to always have a camera with me and frequently found something to catch my eye. In this case, I noticed a bit of marshy pond with a bit of nice light on the trees in be background. The result was a rather mundane image with not so wonderful composition; when that happens, I never throw away (aka delete) these images.

With a square crop and a bit of imaginative processing, it becomes more difficult to place the various components in the image and a bit of mystery appears in the image, as the marshy outcroppings might be floating, or are they lifeforms of an even stranger variety? Let your mind wander!

Sweeping Clouds

Velocity in the upper clouds

Some Winter mornings present us with beautiful, sweeping views that allow us to take a moment out of our busy days and breathe in the wonder that is Nature. Whenever we get one of these opportunities, we should simply stop whatever we are doing and allow the moment to embrace us.

On one such December morning in 2014, I was allowed to capture the following moment in the universe…

Sweeping Clouds

The higher velocity winds in the upper layers of the clouds create a magnificent vista, giving us the sense of motion blur. Our beloved Yoga Tree is very much stripped down for the season, conserving her energies for that change into Spring.

Shot with an iPhone 5S and cleaned up a bit in Luminar AI and Photoshop.

Monochrome Monday

Connecting to a monochrome past

Photographing in Valley of Fire State Park over the past week gave me a sense of connection to all those well-known landscape images from photographers in the early part of the 20th century. While definitely not comparing my work with theirs, I did draw some inspiration from them for this week’s monochrome image.

Pancakes in Fire Wave

The Fire Wave trail leads to an amazing area of multi-colored red and white formations. Right next to the ‘bacon strips’ formation, I found this lovely view against a cloudy sky; it reminded me of a stack of pancakes that would go well with the bacon just over to the right of this image.

This image was captured using a Canon EOS R5 and Canon RF 14-35mm F4/L IS USM lens; as I shot at 14mm focal length, I used f/8 for an aperture at 400 ISO. This was a series of 3 shots to generate the HDR using Aurora HDR; B&W conversion was done in Photoshop.

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.

Autumn Livery

Ever-changing, Nature adapts

In New England there are few more sights spectacular than the color of the trees during the Autumn season; during a good year, vibrant red, yellow and orange hues contrast the remaining green leaves and evergreens across the landscape.

Autumn’s Colors

Yoga Tree is no stranger to the changing seasons and is adapting nicely from the vibrant greens of Spring and Summer to Autumn’s more earthly color palette.

This image was taken in October of 2014 with an iPhone 5s (many generations since then!). I did a re-edit of the image in Luminar AI using a template that I developed for some of the Kinderdijk images. Final touch-ups were done in Adobe Photoshop.

Autumnal Gold at Dawn

Gold remains as Autumn persists.

Getting great light early in the morning is always a blessing and leads to beautiful images. Getting a gorgeous cloud cover to go with that light puts a great big smile on my face…

Autumnal Gold at Dawn

Some stubborn leaves remain attached to Yoga Tree on this chilly November morning in 2013; she is getting prepared for Winter’s cold grip and looks striking against a magnificent cloud cover.

The Early Bird…

Sometimes, the early bird gets the shot!

Sunrise and sunsets are always fun to photograph, and for the reason of not having to get up early, I prefer sunsets or winter sunrises. I’m sure that many of you agree that the end of a good night’s sleep includes waking up when you can see the Sun’s warming rays.

On the East coast of the United States, there is one place where capturing the sunrise is almost a ritual, as it boasts being the first point of the continental states to see the sun rise. Cadillac Mountain in Maine sits on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. As it rises to 1,530 feet (466 meters), the sunrise view from the top is pretty early…

Watching the Sun rise

This shot was captured about 30 minutes past sunrise, as I caught these sun worshippers admiring the copper orb. The sun rose around 4:46 a.m. on that day, and provided some magic…

First Glimpse

We were the early birds on that June day, as we found a spot around 4 a.m., and it was worth experiencing this bit of magic!

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