While On My Way to Sunset Sometimes in landscape photography you're almost to your intended destination when you realize that the sunset may be better where you already are. In this case I was headed to Mono Lake when I saw great clouds over the entire basin as I approached. Knowing that the light of the setting sun would catch the Western (right) edge of the clouds but might not get much further, I decided to hang back on a ridge overlooking the basin and catch as much as I could in an ultra-wide lens. You can see the result.
If the color looks a little unreal to you here, then the image is a success... it looked completely unreal in person as well! Read post in Google+
Steel Wool Spinning Under the Stars Insert steel wool into a metal wisk attached to a short length of light metal chain, light the steel wool on fire and spin it around, and this is what you get! Be careful: anything within 50 or 60 feet may catch on fire! This was done on the clay surface of a dry lake bed, where nothing could catch on fire.
Belt of Venus The shadow of the earth follows the sunset light into the sky as darkness creeps over the landscape below. The planet Venus is often visible close to the horizon at sunrise and sunset when this colorful effect can be seen, so it's often referred to as the "Belt of Venus".
These conditions at Mono Lake, the ultra-calm lake and intense sunset color, most frequently in the late fall and winter, when the sun is low in the sky and the heat, convection and winds of summer are practically nonexistent.
Meteor Reflection! When I was catching star trails around Polaris, the North Star, and playing with their reflections during the Orionid meteor shower last weekend, I also caught a meteor and its reflection. This was taken at an ultra-wide 14mm focal length, and the reflection is at best about 1/8th as bright as the direct view of the meteor, so that's one very long, bright meteor to show up!
Sunset Moon Rise at Mono Lake Last Night Here's the result of my quick trip to Mono Lake last night. When I arrived there were 4-5 carloads of photographers capturing the sunset, but none of them were there for the moon rise. Having planned the shto in advance using +The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE), I told them to stick around for another 10 minutes.
I captured about 400 images, enough for about 13 seconds of time-lapse video. I'll get that conversion started while I go check out this morning's sunrise.
As I mentioned last night, here's my blog post on planning to shoot sunset moon rise events using TPE:
Wow, 150+ shares! Thanks everyone so much for your great response to this post! Read post in Google+
Look for the Geminid Meteor Shower Dec 13 & 14 One of the most active meteor showers of the year, the Geminid meteor shower has a broad peak, so you can catch the peak action in the early morning hours of December 13 and 14, and the nights on either side of those dates may have a decent quantity of meteors as well. I'm going to catch it from the warmest, driest, darkest, clearest place I can find: Death Valley!
Sierra Nevada Fall Colors Fall colors arrive in California's Sierra Nevada at different times at different elevations. The timing also varies from year to year with weather. Conditions even vary from valley to valley given local microclimates and the passage of smaller storms. But over the course of chasing Fall colors here for weeks each year across many years, you can get a good feel for which distributed areas tend to turn color at the same time, and you can follow the progression of color from day to day and week to week and remain productive, with more time shooting and less time driving.
This was taken during a workshop in 2010. I'll offer two workshops this year; September 29/30 and October 13/14. I'll announce more details as soon as the permit approval comes through from the Inyo National Forest.
Night Rainbows in the Mist, Lower Yosemite Fall A double lunar rainbow, or "moonbow", appears in the mist of Lower Yosemite Fall during the G+ Yosemite Photowalk on the night of Sunday, May 6.
+Lori Hibbett and I had over 65 photographers RSVP to receive the suggested four day itinerary earlier this month, and we ran into other folks from G+ once we arrived as well. We planned our schedule around full moon rise and set times and the moonbows appearing in Lower and Upper Yosemite Fall. It was exhausting shooting well in to the night each night, but as always, it was loads of fun meeting and shooting with other photographers on Google+! The first 4 photos in this album are from the photowalk (as well as 50+ of the later photos), the rest are mostly from my other visits to the park in the past year or so, images which were handy since I joined Google+.
Leaf Trails in Yosemite at Night I've captured long exposures of leaves floating down streams in the past, but the concept of combining them with star trails only occurred to me this Fall. When I arrived in Yosemite last week to find clear, starry skies, I had a lot of fun capturing leaves drifting down the Merced River. Conditions couldn't have been more perfect. There was wind upon arrival to knock the leaves out of the trees, but then it calmed down for nice sky reflections as I shot.
I'll be leading a workshop to pursue these types of shots in Yosemite in 2013... contact me for details! Read post in Google+
Twilight at Mono Lake No matter how many times I visit Mono Lake, I never get tired of it, because the conditions are always changing. Last Saturday we saw clouds forming on the Web cam, so we made the quick trip down to the lake. When we arrived, we enjoyed spectacular clouds, columns of rain, a double rainbow, occasional thunder and lightning on the horizon, and subtle shading of sunset and blue hour color. You can be sure I'll be back many times as I run up and down the Eastern Sierra chasing Fall colors over the next 6 weeks!
G+ Photowalk May 4-7: Yosemite National Park - A World Heritage Site, one of the world's most incredible landscapes - Lunar rainbows ("moonbows") - waterfalls at peak flow - dogwood trees blooming by the Merced River - Spring wildflowers - reflections in Spring pools & the Merced River - full moon night landscapes
The second photowalk in my series this Spring, again coinciding with the full moon to maximize shooting opportunities, will be to Yosemite National Park. This is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, and with lunar rainbows and night, full waterfalls, and wildflowers and trees blooming, this is arguably the best weekend of the year to visit.
Golden Hour During the Storm Here's another shot from last night. The clouds were forming just a few miles west, so as the sun set, it shot golden light under and through the clouds for a few minutes. Read post in Google+
June Lake Loop Fall Reflection The aspen trees should be really colorful here by now if the storms this week haven't blown the leaves off of the trees. I hope to stop by here later today on my way to Yosemite Valley, since Tioga Pass has re-opened. Read post in Google+
Great Photography Weather in Yosemite Last Weekend It's hard to have a bad day for photography in Yosemite National Park, but some days are better than others. Saturday featured broken clouds to decorate the sky and reflections, as in this image of El Capitan reflecting in the Merced River.
My next workshop in Yosemite will be April 24 - 27 to catch Spring wildflowers, waterfalls at peak Spring flow, moonbows (lunar rainbows) and more. Contact me for details. Read post in Google+
Joshua Tree National Park, California I'm working through photos I need for my guidebook to California landscape photography locations, so I'm looking at some of my photos from past trips. This morning I'm enjoying some photos form Joshua Tree National Park, so I've added over 40 photos to my Joshua Tree album here on G+. Enjoy!
High Sierra Season July is a great time to explore California's Sierra Nevada. Trails and passes are clearing of snow, but the peaks still hold a few decorative patches of white to catch the morning and evening alpenglow.
These photos are from July 2010, a fairly normal year for snowpack, so the snow levels are greater than you'd encounter in a light year like this one (2012). Read post in Google+
Perseid Meteor Shower: Two More Nights! Here's one of the Perseid meteors I caught last night. You still have time to catch the action this year. The meteor shower has two more nights to increase in intensity, then it will taper off dramatically on the nights after that.
The exposure was 30 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 6400 on a Canon 5D Mark III. To capture meteors I simply shoot another 30 second shot every 1 second.
Storms Building in the Eastern Sierra Taken at Mono Lake in April 2009 while scouting conditions for an upcoming workshop. The main exposure was 1/6 second at f/22, ISO 400, 24mm), but I combined darker and lighter exposures in Photomatix to highlight the texture in the clouds.
The skies are looking great for storm chasing in the Eastern Sierra tonight, so I'm heading out!
Another Image Rescued by Lightroom 4 Here's another image from early 2011 which never quite grabbed me until I went back to the folder yesterday and applied some quick Lightroom 4 settings to it.
I can't wait to bring more folders into Lightroom 4, but it's bogging down pretty badly on my new Windows laptop running Windows 8. I may have to downgrade to Windows 7 or build a desktop with far more than the current 8GB RAM (unfortunately the laptop came maxed out in RAM and can't expand).
Edits: For something interesting, take a look at this time-lapse video capturing about an hour of the exact same sunset event from a different angle: https://vimeo.com/18626912 and stop it right when it first reaches 17 seconds. There are actually 30 photos used to make every second of video so you'll probably stop on a different one, but I think I happened to find the same moment and splash... blue sky, orange sun and sunlight, blue sky light illuminating waves and white foam in the shade. What I find really interesting is that like in the image above, the splash has a mixture of direct faint orange light from the last bit of the sun, and the blue light from the sky, and the result is a more pink-magenta shade of orange.
This is a fairly unique case where nearly all of the sun's evolving influence is shooting through the narrow cave. A previous splash I caught just two photos earlier is much more orange. It's amazing how lighting from all different directions can affect parts of an image, and for how short I time some of these effects can be!
Winter in the Eastern Sierra The first 8 photos are new to the album, and those new ones were taken during past 24 hours. We've gotten a lot of snow in 3 waves of storms over the past 3 days, but we had enough of a break this morning to let some nice sunrise light through.
So how did Saturday's moon rise at Mono Lake turn out? You tell me! It was fun hanging out with +Amy Heiden+Tran Mai and +Lori Hibbett in the Mono Basin for the day. There was fog on the lake all the way through 3 pm, but fortunately it cleared just in time for the moon rise. When we arrived at the Old Marina site +Blair Pountney joined us. He had seen my notes on the coming moon rise last week and drove up from Bishop. Then we ran into +Travis Theune and +Schmoo Theune of Smugmug, so we had a fun little group of photographers gathered, from various parts of the state!
I created a time-lapse video from this moon rise, but I had problems with a light tripod in the intermittent gusty wind which developed, so the result is pretty funny... I'll post it later so you can have a few laughs. After the moon rise, Amy, Tran, Lori and I went on to shoot into the night by the light of the full moon, so check their streams in the coming days for night snowy landscape shots.
Sunset Over the Sweetwater Range Sunset last night on the backside of the mountains across from us. Just to the north of here there was lightning, sun rays and rainbows. This nice show of light and color was a great way to finish the evening off! Shot at 1/5 second at f/16, ISO 200, 24mm focal length.
I wanted to share the photo, but my Internet is so slow tonight I couldn't get to it; only share the album.
So I've been posting photos of Mono Lake tufa limestone formations, to talk about calcium carbonate. That's also what's in antacid tablets, and now I have a tufa that has grown in my kidney! Jokes aside, kidney stones are nasty. After a couple of days of excruciating pain I went to the emergency room at 2:30 Sunday night when the pain reached 11 on a scale of 10. Fortunately they had an intravenous pain killer 9X stronger than morphine, took the edge right off it! Sure enough, I had a 2mm kidney stone, my own little pet tufa, which could take a week or two more to resolve itself. I have some serious pain meds now, so I should be able to get back online in short sessions.
Barker Dam, Joshua Tree National Park I was lucky on this trip to encounter great light and weather for the entire 1500-2000 mile lap around the Sierra Nevada range. I was particularly lucky here to find water at Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. I heard that it was dry only a couple of weeks earlier.
Fallen Giant The Milky Way rises behind a fallen bristlecone pine tree. I love night photography...
"You may be a little cold some nights, on the mountain tops above the timber-line, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed, or at least in your grave." -John Muir
I illumined the tree briefly with a flashlight during a 30 second exposure at f/2.8 and ISO 6400.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
Lake Tahoe Sunset near Sand Harbor State Park< Nevada Last night I tried a photo cropped to a 1:2 shape to see how it would work, this one is 1:3: 300 pixels by 900 pixels. Let's see how it looks with the #NewLook G+ layout... Read post in Google+