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Mist and Water

Every year my buddies Jay, Jason, Andrew, Aaron and I go on a road trip somewhere. The previous two have been in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. We call these little excursions “Lost//Discovered.” The name implies a feeling of getting lost from our normal lives and discovering something about ourselves. Be it passion, direction or literally anything. It’s one of my favorite times of year and this past trip was another fantastic time!

This time we decided to fly to Oregon and rent our RV there, and just explore whatever seemed fun to us. The coast, waterfalls, mountains, anything we could get to. It’s a time of year when we all have a lot less going on in our businesses photographing weddings, and it’s the perfect time to get away, explore and hang out.

These trips are often tough for me. Often at this point in the year, I just need a break and while I want to time-lapse and drone everything I see, I’ll also wish I could just carry a single camera and lens, and just stand there quietly capturing the scenes around me. It’s a battle within. Sometimes I didn’t do anything and other times I made a choice between droning or time-lapsing. I love that I didn’t do a whole lot but walked away with some scenes I’m super pumped to have photographed.

This film is short, barely three minutes, and doesn’t have a ton of scenes. I love this song “No Place on Earth” but Tony Anderson, and so I just let the notes dictate the number of clips I used. It’s a mix of drone and time-lapse of random spots in Oregon. But every shot contains either mist or water, which is pretty much why I was craving Oregon in the first place. We were hoping for foggy conditions, waterfalls, waves, the ocean and anything akin to that. Even frozen Trillium Lake covered in snow had a low fog slightly obscuring Mt. Hood. The light was amazing the morning of our second day from Ecola State Park, and I gobbled that up.

Equipment included two Canon 5DSR’s and a Phantom 3 Pro. Time-lapse clips rendered in After Effects, and the final film edited in Premiere Pro. I used the Lumetri Color effect to do simple editing of the drone footage.

Hope you enjoy!

Grand Falls: A short little video

(Make sure to watch the video in 1080p glory!)

As promised, I put together a short little video on Grand Falls from our trip this past Saturday. If you watch it on YouTube, you’ll see a lot of links to other Grand Falls videos, some of which really show the power of the Falls when they are at peak flow. I think this is probably the only HD video of Grand Falls out there, but I really hope to someday capture them going nuts like in some of those others.

The Falls are just amazing. I hope the video gives you a better impression as to the scale of them, because it’s not always easy to tell from a simple photograph. My daughter did her best impression of a foreground object and I think it helps a lot *grin*

Next year I plan on doing a lot more video and also hopefully a long time-lapse. This was the first time using my 5D Mark II for video and sadly there’s a nice dust spot on the lens (My Tamron 17-35mm 2.8), plus some herky-jerky movements. Hopefully it doesn’t induce any motion sickness for you all.

I have to say…I do love the quality of the HD video though…pretty remarkable. Can’t wait to dig into it more. Will be using it to document some of my stormchasing adventures this summer.

Revisiting the Grand Falls in northern Arizona

Some of you may remember a photo or two I posted from my trip to Grand Falls in May…I posted a few shots of it…one here and one here.  I think I processed this one as a black and white first and posted it in a few  random places, like Flickr and JPG Mag. But I was looking back through my photos the other day and realized I’d always wanted to see this one as an HDR and just forgot about it.

I love the scope and details that you can see in the shot. Clicking on the photos for the larger version takes away some of the sharpness, but the details are still there.

What’s interesting about the falls is all the junk that is collected in the lower left portion of the photo. Most of what you can see are from trees and dead foliage captured along the way, but there are definitely some “man-made” objects down there as well.

This is definitely a place I plan on revisiting next March, hopefully after a nice, snowy season for the high country. The flow over the Falls when it’s peak is pretty amazing from what I’ve seen in photos. I need to see that in person.

Sunset from below Grand Falls

(click on the photo for a larger view)

I’ve seen pictures where Grand Falls is flowing with so much water it almost looks like a western version of Niagara Falls. In fact, the 184-drop of Grand Falls is higher than Niagara.

March of this year was probably the best time to actually see the water roaring over the edge, so I missed it by a few months. However, if I’d been there back in March, this shot wouldn’t have been possible. I’d likely be standing in at least 2-4 feet of raging water, if not more.

The shadows on the right side of the photo kind of reveal that the sun was going down behind me and it really cast a wonderful light on the waterfall itself. And those that follow my work know how much I love clouds in my shots, so I was extremely lucky and blessed to have some of the stormy stuff make it into the photo.

Technical jargon: I finally purchased some ND filters just for this very trip and this shot was created with five manually bracketed shots using an external shutter trigger, a 3 stop ND filter and a CPL filter.

Welcome to Grand Falls, Arizona

One of my “bucket list” items if you will was to visit this amazing place called Grand Falls. It’s in northern Arizona about 30 miles or so northeast of Flagstaff. The falls are located on Indian land and the last leg is a 10 mile drive on a bumpy dirt road, which in my little Toyota Solara, took about 45 minutes to traverse.

I have a ton more photos to post over the week, but this is the first one, it even may be my favorite of the bunch. So far.

While not a ton of people know about this place, it has been photographed a number of times. I was hoping to find my own view of it, my own angle and perhaps something different. I don’t think any HDR shots of it have been done before either, that was my other goal. Those are yet to come.

This shot is a simple black and white, and looks at the falls as scene through one of the covered viewing areas. I liked how the wood pillars and stone roof sort of framed the scene in front of me.

Much more to come…click on the above picture for a larger look!

The Fountain at Mission Palms in Tempe

My tour around downtown Tempe took me through the Mission Palms Hotel and right by this fountain. It’s located in the middle of a round-a-about that serves as the hotel’s main entrance. I plopped down on a curb and grabbed a bunch of brackets ranging from 1-30 seconds.

What struck me most about the shot was just the way the palm trees were lit up from spotlights and the way they served as a pretty sweet background to the fountain. My only wish was that the water spilling over the edges had a stronger flow, because the blur is a little more subtle that I was hoping.

Still, the light catching where the water lands in the basin is kind of cool.

Definitely click on the photo for the larger version, there is a lot more detail in the full-sized view.

A few more photos from the Mormon Temple

Last week I posted a few shots from the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple, but still had a few more I processed over the weekend. Whereas those were black and whites (which I love!), these are all HDR photos.

The fountain in the first shot appears there and the bottom photo. It was somewhat dusky out when I took the fountain shot, so I could do a longer exposure than if it was high-noon, hence the water has a smoother look.