Monthly Archives

August 2010

Monument Valley Panoramic Photo

Arizona, Landscape

I just received an inquiry about my Monument Valley panoramic photo. I had forgotten about this image, and when I saw it again I was reminded of the beautiful, warm light that fell on the buttes when I last visited there. I was on my way south from Arches National Park in Utah to Page, Arizona. I had about 45 minutes to stop and admire the sunset, and then had to keep moving on down the road. I got this one image. You can click to see it larger (although the full size image in print spans about 8′). This was taken in January, and there is a slight dusting of snow on the ground:

Monument Valley panorama

Monument Valley panorama.
Image ID: 19531
Location: Monument Valley, Arizona, USA

Vogelsang Reflections – Yosemite National Park

Sierra Nevada, Time Lapse, Video, Yosemite

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and Tuolumne Meadows

My dad and I spent a great several days hiking around Tuolumne Meadows and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. Vogelsang is one of my favorite areas of the Sierra Nevada, a series of 10,000′ basins filled with beautiful lakes and boasting many 11,000′ and 12,000′ peaks. We had spectacular weather, no mosquitoes, and bagged a new peak and at least a half dozen lakes. I shot this video with a Canon 5D Mark II and the time lapse was shot with a Canon 1Ds Mark III camera, 1300+ frames over two hours to produce about 25 seconds of time lapse video. The video was an exercise to test the function of the Sennheiser MKE 400 mic in an outdoor setting. It worked reasonably well. You can tell I did not get my video perfectly level on some shots — live and learn. Life is good!

Redwood National Park Video

Elk, National Parks, Redwood, Video

Redwood National Park Video

We spent a few days relaxing in Orick, California, in the heart of Redwood National Park. We enjoyed some great hikes among the towering coastal redwood trees, a little horseback riding, some uncrowded and beautiful beaches, and lots of Roosevelt elk that reside in the meadows just outside the window of the little cabin we stayed in. Here is a short film I made to test out a couple aspects of how the Canon 5D Mark II and Panasonic Lumix LX3 cameras record video. I was trying a variety of methods for panning a dSLR while recording video, some of them more successful that others. These passages are basically straight out of the camera, with only minimal assembly and processing in iMovie. I did shoot some “serious photos” but it will take me a while to get them processed and on this website. I was surprised at how simple and fast it can be to shoot video and edit it into a little film, this took just an hour or so to make. What did I learn? I learned that I need a proper external microphone if I want to have any hope of recording decent audio, and that I should turn image stabilization off when I record video since the stabilizer can be heard whirring on the audio track. I also can tell that Youtube uses some heavy compression (not surprising), since the Youtube version of this film below has some jerkiness and compression artifacts that do not appear in the original.

Bailey Head, Deception Island, Antarctica

Antarctica, Penguin, Southern Ocean

Bailey Head, Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula

Chinstrap penguins at Bailey Head, Deception Island.  Chinstrap penguins enter and exit the surf on the black sand beach at Bailey Head on Deception Island.  Bailey Head is home to one of the largest colonies of chinstrap penguins in the world, Pygoscelis antarcticus

Chinstrap penguins at Bailey Head, Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins enter and exit the surf on the black sand beach at Bailey Head on Deception Island. Bailey Head is home to one of the largest colonies of chinstrap penguins in the world.
Image ID: 25455
Species: Chinstrap Penguin, Pygoscelis antarcticus
Location: Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

The forecast for this morning was not encouraging: winds up to 35 knots which would generate waves large enough to shut down our ability to land on this steep, exposed, black-sand beach. However, at 6am we found relatively calm seas and little wind at Deception Island, with a smallish swell that caused a little anxiety and some minor mishaps with the zodiacs due to the very steep beach but was not enough to keep us from landing ashore. Bailey Head is a large volcanic plug towering over a long, beautiful black sand beach. Cliffs run the length of the beach. Penguins occupy the edge of the beach for several hundred yards, a mass of black-and-white specks on a black expanse of sand. Seemingly endless columns of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) waddle back and forth between the beach and the rim of the volcano that comprises the island.

Sunrise in the South Shetland Islands, near Deception Island

Sunrise in the South Shetland Islands, near Deception Island.
Image ID: 25459
Location: Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Distant icebergs, mountains, clouds, ocean at dawn, in the South Shetland Islands, near Deception Island

Distant icebergs, mountains, clouds, ocean at dawn, in the South Shetland Islands, near Deception Island.
Image ID: 25460
Location: Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

On the beach, chinstraps nervously gather together waiting for a moment when they can rush en masse down the slope to plunge into the water, swimming rapidly through the shallows to avoid a leopard seal that patrols the shore. What I am seeing is a fascinating spectacle. The sheer number of chinstrap penguins and the constant flow of animals between the heights above and the surf below is impressive. Light rain and some wind comes and goes during our four hours ashore. The light is flat, making for difficult photography. I shoot a few time lapse series, hoping to illustrate the nature of the movement of the many penguins, but it is not easy since we are constrained from going up on the hills above the penguin highway for a better look for fear of displacing the animals from their route. I also shoot some video which will probably be more appealing than the photos, since the video captures the cacophony of the birds and the sounds of the surf. By 11am I am back in a zodiac headed for the boat. I skipped the novelty visit to the hot springs after lunch due to the declining weather. Instead, we watched the hardier folks swimming in the mix of hot springs and icy ocean water, under falling snow and blowing wind. Hard core.

Chinstrap penguins at Bailey Head, Deception Island.  Chinstrap penguins enter and exit the surf on the black sand beach at Bailey Head on Deception Island.  Bailey Head is home to one of the largest colonies of chinstrap penguins in the world, Pygoscelis antarcticus

Chinstrap penguins at Bailey Head, Deception Island. Chinstrap penguins enter and exit the surf on the black sand beach at Bailey Head on Deception Island. Bailey Head is home to one of the largest colonies of chinstrap penguins in the world.
Image ID: 25456
Species: Chinstrap Penguin, Pygoscelis antarcticus
Location: Deception Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Next: Cierva Cove, Antarctica
Previous: Brown Bluff, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Skip Stubbs at Guadalupe Island 2010

Skip's Trips

My good friend and diving partner Skip Stubbs recently returned another trip to Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Skip shot some nice still photographs in addition to his usual video footage. They make me long to be back down at the island again. Skip comments:

After an unfortunate 4 year hiatus, we got back to my favorite place for 7 more days of exploration of the underwater scenery and creatures around this fantastic island on the San Diego dive boat Horizon. We had a very nice group of folks from California, Washington state and Illinois, including the three top officers of Alacosta divers, the oldest dive club in the bay area, but we missed having Phil along. We had good looks at bottlenose, tuna, and the ever present wonderful Guadalupe furseals during our diving.

I spent most of my time concentrating on video, but did manage a few acceptable still photographs while underwater. This was the first time I took my topside camera and I really had a great time attempting to capture topside images. It was great to get back and see all my furred and other friends, and we plan to return in July next year. Can’t wait.

Skip’s images from the July 2010 Guadalupe Island diving trip are here.