Monthly Archives

August 2013

New Work – August 2013

New Work

I made a series of very short trips to photograph Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Crater Lake National Park and Mount Rainier National Park, along with a brief visit to the Alabama Hills. Here is a small sampling of the images I made over the last couple months; click any one of them to see a larger gallery of just the good stuff! Cheers and thanks for looking!

Panoramic photo of Crater Lake National Park

Panoramic photo of Crater Lake National Park
Image ID: 28675
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning
Image ID: 28703
Location: Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Milky Way and stars over Crater Lake at night. Panorama of Crater Lake and Wizard Island at night, Crater Lake National Park

Milky Way and stars over Crater Lake at night. Panorama of Crater Lake and Wizard Island at night, Crater Lake National Park.
Image ID: 28641
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak over the Alabama Hills

Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak over the Alabama Hills
Image ID: 28691

Venus sets over Manley Beacon and the Panamint Mountains, viewed from Zabriskie Point, landscape lit by a full moon, evening, stars, Death Valley National Park, California

Venus sets over Manley Beacon and the Panamint Mountains, viewed from Zabriskie Point, landscape lit by a full moon, evening, stars
Image ID: 28677
Location: Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

El Capitan and clouds lit by full moon, stars, evening, Yosemite National Park, California

El Capitan and clouds lit by full moon, stars, evening.
Image ID: 28695
Location: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Crater Lake and Wizard Island at sunrise, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake and Wizard Island at sunrise.
Image ID: 28668
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Full moon over Zabriskie Point landscape, Death Valley National Park, California

Full moon over Zabriskie Point landscape
Image ID: 28676
Location: Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Mesquite Dunes sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes, Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Park, California

Mesquite Dunes sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes.
Image ID: 28688
Location: Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Paradise Meadows, wildflowers and Mount Rainier, summer, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Paradise Meadows, wildflowers and Mount Rainier, summer
Image ID: 28715
Location: Paradise Meadows, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier, Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier.
Image ID: 28731
Location: Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

New Work – June 2013

New Work

To go straight to the good stuff and skip the verbiage: New Work June 2013.

I released some really strong images in June 2013, including some from what is perhaps the most photographically productive southwest trip I’ve ever made. I froze my ass off during cold May weather high in the White Mountains and soon after sweated my ass off hiking through the parching heat of Utah desert to reach the Wave – fun! This is an eclectic group of images, starting with an image of iconic Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier with the setting sun perfectly aligned within its pillars. I also produced new astrophotography images (night-time star photos) from Zion National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument (including the Wave), Yosemite National Park, the ancient Bristlecone Forest in the White Mountains, Mono Lake and my own backyard of Torrey Pines State Reserve. Here is only a small sampling; click any image to see a richer gallery of the good stuff! Cheers and thanks for looking!

Scripps Pier solstice, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

Scripps Pier solstice, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier.
Image ID: 28475
Location: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, USA

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon.  Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below, Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona

Light Beam in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon. Thin shafts of light briefly penetrate the convoluted narrows of Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, sending piercing beams through the sandstone maze to the sand floor below.
Image ID: 28570
Location: Navajo Tribal Lands, Page, Arizona, USA

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars.  Photographer is illuminating the striated rocks with a small handheld light. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only

The Wave at Night, under a clear night sky full of stars. Photographer is illuminating the striated rocks with a small handheld light. The Wave, an area of fantastic eroded sandstone featuring beautiful swirls, wild colors, countless striations, and bizarre shapes set amidst the dramatic surrounding North Coyote Buttes of Arizona and Utah. The sandstone formations of the North Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, date from the Jurassic period. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Wave is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and is accessible on foot by permit only.
Image ID: 28620
Location: North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona, USA

Owachomo Bridge and Milky Way.  Owachomo Bridge, a natural stone bridge standing 106' high and spanning 130' wide,stretches across a canyon with the Milky Way crossing the night sky, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Owachomo Bridge and Milky Way. Owachomo Bridge, a natural stone bridge standing 106′ high and spanning 130′ wide,stretches across a canyon with the Milky Way crossing the night sky.
Image ID: 28541
Location: Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, USA

The Virgin River Narrows, where the Virgin River has carved deep, narrow canyons through the Zion National Park sandstone, creating one of the finest hikes in the world

The Virgin River Narrows, where the Virgin River has carved deep, narrow canyons through the Zion National Park sandstone, creating one of the finest hikes in the world.
Image ID: 28575
Location: Virgin River Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah, USA

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 28521
Location: Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Broken Hill and view to La Jolla, panoramic photograph, from Torrey Pines State Reserve, sunrise, San Diego, California

Broken Hill and view to La Jolla, panoramic photograph, from Torrey Pines State Reserve, sunrise.
Image ID: 28464
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA

God Beams, clouds and afternoon light over the Pacific Ocean, Del Mar, California

God Beams, clouds and afternoon light over the Pacific Ocean.
Image ID: 28479
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

Mammoth Peak over Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park

Mammoth Peak over Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 28514
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Panoramic Photographs of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake, Landscape, Oregon, Panoramas

Crater Lake National Park is the most panorama-ready national park I have ever visited. The vistas are sweeping from the rim of the extinct volcano’s caldera, encompassing a six-mile wide lake. I have made two short visits to Crater Lake National Park, and spent most of my time composing panoramic photographs of the lake, the caldera rim and Wizard Island jutting up from the middle of Crater Lake. All of these panoramas will reproduce well to enormous sizes in case you see something you would like to have hanging in your office lobby and in the living room of your home. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Panoramic photo of Crater Lake National Park

Panoramic photo of Crater Lake National Park
Image ID: 28675
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Milky Way and stars over Crater Lake at night. Panorama of Crater Lake and Wizard Island at night, Crater Lake National Park

Milky Way and stars over Crater Lake at night. Panorama of Crater Lake and Wizard Island at night, Crater Lake National Park.
Image ID: 28641
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Self portrait at sunrise, panorama of Crater Lake.  Crater Lake is the six-mile wide lake inside the collapsed caldera of volcanic Mount Mazama. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh-deepest in the world. Its maximum recorded depth is 1996 feet (608m). It lies at an altitude of 6178 feet (1880m), Crater Lake National Park

Self portrait at sunrise, panorama of Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the six-mile wide lake inside the collapsed caldera of volcanic Mount Mazama. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh-deepest in the world. Its maximum recorded depth is 1996 feet (608m). It lies at an altitude of 6178 feet (1880m).
Image ID: 19130
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Panorama of Crater Lake from Watchman Lookout Station, panoramic picture. The Watchman Lookout Station No. 168 is one of two fire lookout towers in Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. For many years, National Park Service personnel used the lookout to watch for wildfires during the summer months. It is also a popular hiking destination because it offers an excellent view of Crater Lake and the surrounding area

Panorama of Crater Lake from Watchman Lookout Station, panoramic picture. The Watchman Lookout Station No. 168 is one of two fire lookout towers in Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. For many years, National Park Service personnel used the lookout to watch for wildfires during the summer months. It is also a popular hiking destination because it offers an excellent view of Crater Lake and the surrounding area.
Image ID: 28633
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Crater Lake panoramic photograph.  Panorama picture of Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake panoramic photograph. Panorama picture of Crater Lake National Park.
Image ID: 28663
Location: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

Mount Rainier, the Milky Way galaxy, Star Trails and Climbers’ Lights at Night

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Mount Rainier

On my recent trip to Mount Rainier National Park, I had one particular image in mind, and I managed to achieve something very close to what I envisioned with this photograph. Seen here is the northeast side of Mount Rainier, with star trails in the sky and climbers’ lights tracing their paths over Rainier’s snow-covered slopes. The colorful area of the sky to the left of Rainier is the Milky Way moving through the sky from left to right as the Earth rotates, intentionally blurred in a time exposure but still recognizable. I’ve used this technique a number of times this summer to good effect, to make Milky Way images somewhat different than the norm. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Moutain climbers light see upon Mount Rainier, Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier, Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Moutain climbers light see upon Mount Rainier, Milky Way and stars at night above Mount Rainier.
Image ID: 28726
Location: Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA

Blue Moon over San Diego City Skyline

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, San Diego

San Diego City Skyline at Sunset with a Rare Blue Moon

Tonight I was fortunate to photograph a rare “blue moon” rising at sunset over San Diego’s beautiful city skyline. This view is from Harbor Island looking across San Diego Bay toward the downtown waterfront. Tonight’s full moon is indeed a “blue moon”. What is a “blue moon” you ask? Typically a season, such as summer, will have only three full moons. On those occasions when four full moons occur during a given season, the third full moon is called a “blue moon”. (Note the oft-quoted “second full moon in a single month” is actually incorrect!) Remarkably, a jet plane on approach to San Diego airport flew right in front of the full moon, and the light of the setting sun just balanced that of the rising blue moon allowing a photograph to be made showing the jet with its headlights on against the sharp detail of the moon, with San Diego’s beautiful skyline set below. No photoshop trickery here. The jet is a tiny black spot on the moon in the first image below, but since this photograph will print beautifully up to 24″ x 36″ you’ll be able to see the jet clearly set against the moon in the print hanging in your living room or office lobby! Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Blue Moon, Full Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline, approaching jet with headlights appearing in front of the moon

Blue Moon, Full Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline, approaching jet with headlights appearing in front of the moon
Image ID: 28753
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Blue Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline.  The third full moon in a season, this rare "blue moon" rises over San Diego just after sundown

Blue Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline. The third full moon in a season, this rare “blue moon” rises over San Diego just after sundown.
Image ID: 28754
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Blue Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline.  The third full moon in a season, this rare "blue moon" rises over San Diego just after sundown

Blue Moon at Sunset over San Diego City Skyline. The third full moon in a season, this rare “blue moon” rises over San Diego just after sundown.
Image ID: 28756
Location: San Diego, California, USA

If you like this, please check out more of my San Diego City Skyline photos.

For you photographers that might wonder: this is a single raw image, with no local processing applied (only global adjustments for white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness), and the moon is not composited. There are a few minutes each day when the exposure of for the moon is within a stop or two of the correct exposure for the landscape, and at those times a balanced moonrise or moonset photo can be taken with a natural, honest-looking moon that requires no photoshop compositing. Personally I have never composited the moon (or the sun for that matter) into a composition, it never looks natural to my eye. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Perseid Meteor Shower, Milky Way, Half Dome and Yosemite National Park

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Yosemite

Perseid Meteor Shower, Milky Way, Half Dome and Yosemite National Park

I spent two evenings at Glacier Point during the peak of the 2013 Perseid Meteor Shower, hoping to capture my first photographs of meteors. I have a few landscape astrophotography images that have chance meteors recorded in them, but this was to be my first attempt at photographing meteors as the principal subject. Conditions were nearly ideal. There were virtually no clouds on either night, little wind, and the air was dry and clear, perfect for astrophotography. This image is the result of those efforts, showing the Milky Way galaxy, about 16 meteors, Half Dome and Tenaya Valley and some of the Yosemite High Country in the distance, and the amphitheater at Glacier Point with a few people (and lights) enjoying the evening’s show.

Perseid Meteor Shower and Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleides Cluster, over Half Dome and Yosemite National Park, Glacier Point

Perseid Meteor Shower and Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleides Cluster, over Half Dome and Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 28746
Location: Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

As you might imagine, this image is a composite. The Milky Way was aligned above Half Dome in just this way during the mid-evening. Note that the Andromeda Galaxy can be seen as a oval blurry object just above and to the left of Half Dome and to the right of the Milky Way, and the Pleides star cluster is seen at the lower right of the sky, just above the horizon. The individual meteorites, however, came from separate images taken over the course of 12 hours of continuous photography. I selected the best exposed and brightest of the meteorites that I photographed, rotated them about Polaris (the North Star) as necessary to account for the fact that the night sky “rotates” above us all night long, and composited them with the baseline image of Half Dome and the Milky Way. A little green “air glow” is seen near the horizon, and some distant smog or haze is also seen as a brown horizontal layer just above the horizon in the distance.

The Perseid Meteor shower, which is considered to have the brightest meteors of all annual meteor showers, is named for the constellation Perseus from which they appear to emanate. Note that most of the meteors in this image appear to radiate from the lower portion of the Milky Way in this photograph — that’s where the constellation Perseus lies.

Zodiacal Light, Milky Way and Jupiter over Yosemite National Park

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Yosemite

Photographing Zodiacal Light over Yosemite National Park

August 11-12 was near peak viewing for the 2013 Perseid meteor shower, and many people including myself were viewing the show from Yosemite’s Glacier Point all evening long. However, because the moon was nearly new and it was late summer, I knew there was an opportunity to see the faint, remarkable Zodiacal Light the following morning. My plan was to let my cameras run all night capturing Perseid meteors until about 90 minutes before sunrise, when I would reset them to photograph the (hoped for) Zodiacal Light. I managed to get a couple nice images of Zodiacal Light, better than my one previous attempt!

Zodiacal Light and planet Jupiter in the northeastern horizon, above Half Dome and the Yosemite high country, Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California

Zodiacal Light and planet Jupiter in the northeastern horizon, above Half Dome and the Yosemite high country.
Image ID: 28745
Location: Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Zodiacal Light arises from sunlight that reflects off a disk of space dust that orbits our inner solar system. Zodiacal Light is purely a solar system phenomenon (relatively local to our planet) and is not associated with stars that are observed alongside (behind) it. The aforementioned “space dust” is thought to arise primarily from asteroid and meteor collisions (Nesvorny and Jenniskens, 2010), and resides on the plane of the ecliptic. (The plane of the ecliptic is the plane in which planets orbit around our Sun.) While aligned with the plane of the ecliptic, this dust cloud is not thin. Because it extends outward from the sun to the vicinity of Jupiter (with its strong gravitational field), the dust cloud is disturbed in such a way to give it a thickness, explaining the width of the Zodiacal Light that we observe. The Poynting-Robertson effect causes this space dust to slowly spiral inward toward the sun (where it is consumed), so a constant supply of new dust from colliding comets and asteroids is required to maintain the dust cloud. Sunlight reflecting off this dust can be seen in our night sky when there is little or no competing moonlight and/or light pollution from nearby cities. Zodiacal Light appears as a faint pyramid or triangle glowing on the horizon, with the apex of the pyramid tilted in line with the path of the Sun and the plane of the ecliptic. In these photos, planet Jupiter (which lies in the same plane of the ecliptic as our Eath and follows the Sun’s path through the sky) is clearly seen as the brightest object within the triangle of Zodiacal Light. This view is roughly northeast, looking past Half Dome from Glacier Point with the Yosemite High Country in the distance and Little Yosemite Valley at bottom middle.

The faint northern arm of the Milky Way is also discerned in these photos, crossing from upper left to lower right.

Mount Rainier and Reflection Lake Panorama, Sunrise

Mount Rainier, Panoramas

Mount Rainier is reflected in the perfectly still, calm waters of Reflection Lake, in the southern part of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. This enormous panoramic photo will print up to 6′ tall by 15′ wide at full resolution. If you think this image would look good on the wall of your office lobby or in your home, please contact me. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is reflected in the calm waters of Reflection Lake, early morning
Image ID: 28705
Location: Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, USA