In my limited experience so far, I have found that the morning after a snow storm always offers up some of the most impressive light. This time around I got some amazing pink hues to balance out the blue sky in the background. The pre-dawn clouds were illuminated with pink light, and that light was reflected onto the new snowfall. It’s so hard to plan to be a part of something like this because of the variables involved, but once you see this once, it makes you keep coming back. Let me know what you think!
I try to get to a couple of National Parks a year to just escape the rush of the life in the city. This year we chose to head to Grand Teton National Park in the Northwest corner of Wyoming. The park itself stretches for miles along the base of the mountain range, and sitting right at the foot of the mountains are a few lakes that provide a beautiful experience unlike any park I have been to yet. The lakes feed the Snake River which winds its way through the park. We spent a week at the park, and feel like that was barely enough time to scratch the surface of the entire park. This is definitely a spot I plan on returning to in the future.
One of the most serene landscapes can be seen at schwabachers landing where beaver dams have slowed the flow of the river, and allowed for gorgeous, uninterrupted reflections of the Grand Tetons.
Mormon Row is an old settlement that has been maintained throughout the years, and offers a very unique perspective of the jagged peaks. As with most parts of the park this is best seen in the morning hours.
Oxbow Bend at sunrise with a swan swimming towards Mount Moran.
First, I know its been a while….I have been busy with the holidays and we were out of the country for about 3 weeks. I figured I needed to start posting some of the amazing things I was able to see while in Australia before I start posting anything else from more recent history. This first post is devoted solely to the place that inspired Katy and I to plan a return trip to the Australia. In 2006 Katy and I were both part of a study abroad program, seperately, near the city of Melbourne. In April of that year Katy returned home to a friend who coaxed her into joining myspace, and while she was looking for old friends she came across a photo of me in front of the Twelve Apostles rock formation, and decided to contact me. I was still in Australia so we began to email each other back and forth to get to know one another (again), and this continued even after I returned to the states. After about a year of talking over email or the phone we had an opportunity to have our first date, and the rest is history, but we both still hold a special place in our hearts for the place that was ultimately responsible for getting us back in touch with each other. I don’t believe that either one of us anticipated the beauty that was in store for us when we rolled up in our “hired car” to revisit these natural wonders, but I can tell you that even through this lens, it does not begin to describe the serenity of the location. You stand out on a raised peninsula jetting out into the ocean. The wind brushes against your face, and the sun sends a wave of warmth over your face while you stand 300 feet above the thunder of waves crashing into the shear cliff face. It is almost senses overload as you stand in awe of the wonders of nature. I hope that these images inspire the same emotions from you.
Lying at the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, is a giant, lush green meadow formed thousands of years ago by glaciers. Small boulders area scattered throughout the meadow as a reminder of the ice giant responsible for sculpting the landscape into what it remains today. Wildlife runs rampant in the park, and Moraine Park seems to attract everything from Chipmunks and Marmots all the way up to Elk, Deer, and Moose. Finding out early in our stay that the park is best viewed in the early morning hours, we spent one of our mornings taking in a sunrise in Moraine Park. A river snakes its way through the lush meadow grass and marsh at the beginning of its journey away from the Continental Divide. This was one of my favorite locations to shoot in the park, and I hope it shows!
My wife and I just recently celebrated our 1-year anniversary by taking a trip out to Colorado and visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. I know that everyone has seen photographs of the Rocky Mountains, and that most of the time they are impressive on any camera. What I set out to do with this trip was to capture the raw emotion and power that can be evoked by witnessing these fleeting moments. After doing my research I found out that most images of the mountains in this particular National Park, are best captured in the morning hours. During the next few days I will be sharing multiple series of these photographs based on the location at which I shot them. Todays post is on Sprague Lake. As with most lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, this lake has the ability to give amazing reflection shots, but you have to catch the wind while its away. I was lucky enough to get a calm morning for one of the two days we shot here. Enjoy looking at Sprague Lake through my lens.
Katy and I recently went out to Utah to visit Zion National Park. Even though we had read the park’s guide and gained a little background information on the park, neither one of us had any idea what laid ahead. The park is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The sandstone cliffs jump straight out of the ground and ascend to the heavens. I can now understand why there are names like “Angels Landing” in the park. Standing next to these giant walls is almost as forboding as it is awe inspiring. One can’t help but lean his neck as far back as he can and stay locked in that position until your head is dizzy. The trails vary from the pedestrian trails reminiscent paved suburban walkways, all the way to “you better have a compass, map, and three days supplies.” The sandstone walls, and gorgeous blue skies provided us with some of the most impressive sunrises and sunsets we have ever seen!
We were lucky enough to have found an outfitting company in nearby Springdale so that we could take what is called the “Narrows” hike. This hike requires that you walk 5 miles up a river, and most of that time will be spent wading. Given that it is October, the water was pretty chilly so we rented neoprene socks, canyoneering shoes, walking sticks, and gortex pants. The hike takes you up the Virgin river into the canyon, and the reason it is called the narrows becomes obvious…..the only thing between the vertical faces of sandstone rising hundreds of feet above you is a narrow river that has slowly carved its path and created this beautiful wonder. It took us more than 5 hours to hike in and hike out, but it is one of the best experiences I have ever had, and would recommend that anyone capable try this. We stayed for 4 days, and still feel like there is a lot we missed out on seeing and doing. We will go back at some point and enjoy the rest of the park, but for now here are some images to set your daydreaming on.
Mirror Lake is not the most active location in Yosemite Valley, but at this time of the year it certainly has a very powerful serenity. This was taken just off of the trail with my tripod extended as tall as possible in live view mode and a cable release. I really liked how the ice broke up the perfect symmetry of the reflection in this image, and because it was a morning shot a lot of the foreground is dark giving Mt. Watkins a spotlight type of feel.
Yosemite falls is one of the biggest attractions in the valley, and at this time of the year it usually has a lot less water flowing over the edge. Since the temperatures were in the 60’s all weekend, the snow was melting and giving us a show.
Tunnel View Star Trails
Anyone who knows photography is aware that sometimes the best sunset shot, does not include the sun at all. This was taken about an hour after sunset from Tunnel View, and is a twenty minute exposure. Make sure that when you are shooting this type of shot you have enough battery to last the entire time. Another tip is if you turn your in-camera noise reduction off, you can write the data to the card a whole lot faster. You learn a lot with trial and error on this type of shot. The best way to get a good one is to get far away from any light pollution(i.e., any city lights), and the most movement will always be on the horizon (everything rotates around Polaris, the “north star”). Also, not pictured above, but the best foreground shots with star trails happen on moonlit nights. Have fun with it, bring a flashlight and something to keep you entertained.
This is an enormous rock face that was carved into by a glacier thousands of years ago. The first image was taken at sunrise in El Capitan Meadow while the fog was slowly rising off of the Merced River. The second image was taken just above Tunnel View at sunset. I love how the two perspectives show an entirely different face of the rock. The depth is better in the sunset image, but there is something dramatic about the very first light peeking through the valley and striking the vertical granite face.