Posts

Horseshoe Bend

This has been a roller coaster week of emotions, lack of sleep and total exhaustion. From Phoenix to Texas and then to northern Arizona for two photoshoots. Feelings of helplessness and pain as a friend left this earth way too early, to a day later witnessing two people promise to share their lives together at one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. A day later spending time with another couple celebrating a 30th birthday at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.

It was stormy up there last night…incredibly windy and rain was coming. Our session ended before it got dark, which allowed me some time to myself. The sky was gorgeous, the clouds beautiful. This photos has what looks like a raggedy shelf cloud approaching my position.

I stayed there awhile, soaking it up, enjoying the spot with only a few people around. I even took a few portraits of two random couples and texted them the images just because after this week, I am inspired to try and be a better person and love people as much as I can.

Stormy sunset at Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Sunset
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 17-40mm f/4 l, 17mm, f/16, iso 100, blend // buy print)

I’d been to the Oregon coast about three times before our vacation to Cannon Beach and then four nights during our recent stay. In all that time this is the best sky I’ve had. It’s always been overcast and murky, which I love most other times, but I’ve been dying for color and stormy looking skies at sunset.

Even this one didn’t end up with the color you might hope for when the sun hit the horizon, but I dug it anyways because…well I love storms as you may know. The cloud on the left above the two little pillars of rock kept moving towards me and as the sun went down and I left the beach, I got hit with some pellet-size hail. It was cold and windy…even the surf blew up a few times into my lens and I had to clean it off. A beautiful, beautiful evening.

You may even be able to spot the first floating around the top of Haystack Rock.

I processed this image by manually blending with luminosity masks, which is a tough, tough system to understand and perfect. I’ve been using LM’s for awhile now, but mainly on single images. This was a four exposure blend to get the detail in Haystack, but also the clouds and sunset off in the distance. The blending is tough. But if you get it right, I think it looks amazing.

I love LM’s for this kind of thing because I feel it’s a way more natural result than HDR processing that I used way back in the day. Still learning and perfecting, but digging the results.

 

Snowy Saguaro

Snowy Saguaro
(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark iii, canon 70-200 f/2.8 is l, 200mm , iso 100, f/2.8, 1/1250th // buy print)

Took a nice drive up the Beeline Highway today and ran into snow falling well before I thought we would. The level had dropped crazy low and it was amazing to see some of these Saguaro with snow on their needles all all around the desert floor.

I’ve been wanting a shot like this for awhile and I’m sure you’ve seen these dozens of times, but for me it was awesome to finally get some snow on a cactus like this. A wonderfully fun day driving around and playing in the snow with the family!

Gorge | Seal Rock, Oregon Coast

Gorge - Seal Rock Oregon Coast

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 17mm, f/10, iso 50, 258 seconds, b+w 10 stop nd // buy print)

One of the hardest things for me when I get a chance to visit Oregon is that usually I don’t have a lot of time to take pictures. I end up running to the coast with only an hour or two maybe to find cool spots and setup shots around sunset. The last few times there I’ve felt like I walked away with only a single good image because of just not knowing the terrain very well and having zero time to explore.

This last trip was kind of the same way. I had picked out Seal Rock from Google Maps because it had easy parking access and was around the area I wanted to be in for sunset. When I got there I hiked down the trail to the beach, but before I got there, I noticed another path veering off towards some cliffs and I decided to skip the beach and check it out.

And I’m glad I did. The rock on the left is what I believe is the actual “Seal Rock”, because the “beach” side of it is pretty crazy. But on this side, it helps create a gorge with this other giant rock/cliff on the right.

The tide was way out, so I hiked down pretty low to take this. The water actually came right up under the tripod a few times during this 4.3 minute exposure.

A cool little spot, totally dug all the creepy rocks.

 

Reaching for the stars

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 20mm, f/4, iso 5000, 30 sec // buy print)

Since I know you skipped the italics above, PLEASE click on the image to see it fit your monitor with a sexy black border.

One of the more exciting opportunities in Joshua Tree National Park was the chance to shoot some nighttime star shots, including the Milky Way. I’ve never really done that before and have always wanted to give it a shot.

Props again go to my buddy Heath O’Fee for inviting me to meet him out there (along with some other peeps), and also for finding this tree. Sure, we all probably would have found the tree eventually, but like Christopher Columbus, Heath gets the credit.

I’ve posted another shot of this tree from an angle further away, so this was one up close, almost underneath it. In fact, I took this one first…wandered around a bit elsewhere and then saw the second composition that I posted earlier.

This shot wasn’t a solo effort. The entire group of us…Chris DeAngelis, Chris Frailey, Doug Wise, Heath and Rick Young were all shooting this same scene. We had Rick firing off his strobe while we all sat in various spots with different compositions. Was a heck of a fun time yelling at everyone to get their exposures ready so we could FRAKKING take the picture already!

As hella cold it was that night, it was also a ton of fun. Loved hanging with these guys who have all become amazing friends over the last year.

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life - Joshua Tree National Park

(please click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 17-40 f/4 l, 20mm, f/4, iso 5000, 30 sec // buy print)

It’s funny. We were freezing cold at Joshua Tree National Park when the sun went down, but then the stars came out and none of that mattered.

My buddy Heath O’Fee found this tree. Earlier the lot of us had been right under it, shooting upwards at the stars while someone light-painted the rocks. We were all having so much fun taking pictures of things we normally do not. The night sky. It’s fairly new to me and I want to explore it more.

But then we all kind of dispersed to find our own compositions in and around the rocks. And I found this one. I thought the sky would light up nicely on the horizon because of the far off cities and the sun having gone down earlier. The tree growing between the rocks was pure awesome.

The real treat though…was one of my cohorts doing his own light-painting on the far side of that tree. I decided to take advantage and so I waited for him to take another shot and then I took mine.

No idea who it was, but thank you.

Four Peaks

Evening at Four Peaks

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 70-200 2.8 is l, 115mm, f/14, iso 100, 0.5 sec // buy print)

It’s been awhile since I posted a landscape or weather photo on the blog, and even longer since I’ve actually been out shooting that stuff.

But an early winter storm woke me up a bit and the reports of snow on the outlying areas of town Monday morning kicked me into gear. I picked up Lyla from the sitter just after 3pm and we made our way towards Horseshoe Lake, where I had seen snow earlier on the news. But it seemed to have mostly melted by the time we made it up to Scottsdale. At the same time, I could see the Four Peaks standing mightily, covered in snow…so we braved rush hour traffic to get all the way to the Beeline Highway.

There were some incredible clouds around before sunset, but sadly they moved off too quickly for me to get into this composition. But we were still left with those gorgeous peaks, a nice dusting of snow and of course, those stoic saguaro cacti.

I’m vowing to drive up to the top of those peaks the next time we get a good winter storm. Never been there, but I’ve heard it’s awesome.

Cape Fear

Cape Fear - Devil's Gulch Oregon Coast

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.4 L, f/16, iso 400, 58 sec // buy print)

As this Movie Title Series continues on an on for over a year now…it feels like I’m running thin on movies I’ve seen that have titles which work well enough for images.  Hence you may start seeing films that I’ve actually never viewed before. Or perhaps I may have seen portions of it, but have no clue what it was about, nor remember anything.

Sort of like Cape Fear.

I am certain I saw this movie, or at least the majority of it. But aside from knowing it was on the water, kind of scary and called Cape Fear, that’s all I remember. Now that I look it up on IMDB, I find out the plot was about “A convicted rapist, released from prison after serving a 14 year sentence, stalks the family of the lawyer who originally defended him.” Creepy. I believe people liked it…I remember all this talk about how freaky it was. Robert DeNiro…Nick Nolte…Jessica Lange. May need to watch this one again. Lange is now on American Horror Story and is downright creepy in that as well.

This image is from Devil’s Gulch along the Oregon coast. When I stood there, it was kind of freaking me out a bit. You probably don’t know it, but the road around that mountain on the horizon isn’t down by the water. It’s about  1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the mountain. That’s how far you have to hike to get down to this point. The sun was going down, it was getting dark, kind of foggy, the waves were crashing around me, the low-tide exposed rocks were black as night…and I have to say…I was nervous.

Cape Fear.

But I loved this scene. I hung in there for a few exposures to get it right. The silhouette of that mountain was just too beautiful to pass up. I definitely would love a week driving up the coast of Oregon, and that probably still wouldn’t be enough time.

A road less traveled

A road less traveled - Arizona dirt road clouds

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100, 1/60 // buy print)

A random dirt road off I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff. The day was supposed to be epic up north, but it turned out to be mostly a bust. Still, my daughter and I drove down this road looking for something interesting to shoot against the puffy clouds and desert-y terrain.

I climbed a low hill to shoot the giant rocks up there, but ended up seeing this instead and liked it a whole lot better. Love me some roads and love seeing them curve and bend as they disappear.

Those dark skies

Amidst the Rocks - Monsoon Sedona Arizona

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100, 1/15th // buy print)

I was hoping to post a timelapse tutorial today, but I’m on the road and have to get up very, very early Tuesday morning, so I didn’t have time to get all the information together like I wanted.

So instead, you get another stormchasing image! I highly suggest you click on the image today, it seems the WordPress-resized version makes the tree really, really dark, whereas the full-sized shows you a bit more detail.

This was shot back on July 11th west of Sedona. I made the wife and daughter go on a drive with me through Red Rock State Park during some monsoon thunderstorms to see what we might see. I loved all these trees out there, and I don’t know their name or type, but they have some evergreen properties despite being short and stubby.

Of course, you wont know the color of the wood or the leaves because I stole that from you with the monochrome conversion. That’s how I roll these days!

I loved this scene. An awesome tree, some cool rocky terrain, gorgeous, textured clouds and that fantastic monsoon downpour off on the left horizon. What more could this guy ask for?

Lightning. Yes. Wish there was a lightning strike in there somewhere. But ah well…can’t have everything.