Howl: Some full moon photography

One of the things that drives me when it comes to photography is trying new things. I may be especially good at something, but I definitely would love to give it a shot. Doing that gives me an opportunity to expand my skills, learn a different way of doing something and enhancing my abilities to provide quality work.

For example, I’ve never been able to really photograph the moon very well. Mostly because I didn’t have a really good zoom lens to get up close and personal with it, which are the kind of moon photos I tend to enjoy. So I borrowed my friend Tyler’s 55-250mm lens and watched the moon rise last night.

I definitely learned a few things. The first was to never leave home without my main tripod. The snaky one I have in my bag just couldn’t handle the weight of the zoom lens, so this first picture below didn’t get as crystal clear as I wanted.

The second thing I learned is that my old lens CAN actually take some shots of the moon with detail, I obviously didn’t realize how to do it correctly. So all in all, a good night of work.

The first shot below is from the moon rising over the San Tan Mountains.  The second shot I took around 11pm last night on a drive down Highway 87 looking for something interesting to shoot.

This full moon shot DID earn me an Approver’s Choice over on Wunderground last night, so that’s cool!

This church above is called St. Ana’s and is on the way to Coolidge. I’ve seen it during the day and have always wanted to take a picture of it. The moon casting an amazing glow down affording me the chance to just snap it at night instead.

It’s not exactly my style of photography…but it was fun to do it. The moon cast some shadows under the tree and buildings, which made it almost look like it was day out. There were a few lights on in the back of the church grounds.

The Spring Wildflowers of the Arizona Desert

A good friend of ours named Ryann had been traveling along the US 60 through Superior in the last week and made sure to point out to me all the wildflowers blooming along the highways and mountains. Plus I’d been keeping up with DesertUSA.com and all their reader wildflower reports.

They mentioned how the flowers had been going nuts on Silver King Mine road just west of Superior, so I packed the wife and kid in the car Sunday afternoon and we took off.

The first thing we noticed was the highway. From when you leave the Apache Junction area until you get to Superior, the sides of the road, some of the hilltops…were just blooming flowers everywhere. Yellow, purple, orange, pink…it was one of the most beautiful drives I’ve been on in Arizona.

Now sadly…the Silver King Mine road was not made for Passat station wagons and we were only able to go about a mile. We didn’t get too close to the flowers up there, but this first shot shows the hill off in the distance and the layers of orange, yellow and purple flowers that cover the hillside. Wish I had a truck!

The rest of the shots below were taken on the way back…we stopped off the side of the road a few times.

This one above goes with the one below…the foreground is clear in the top photo, while the background is clear in the photo below.

This one above is my favorite…I love the placement of the dead tree and the field of yellow poppies surrounding it.

An obligatory shot of the road as I ran back to the car. You can’t see the flowers great here, but both sides have some yellow on them. Love the cliffs in the waaay background, I may have to get out there again one day.

A few more shots of that building

A reader named Kathy asked for more shots of this abandoned building I found in the Wasatch National Park, so here are three more, non-HDR versions of the shot. I really loved the whole setting of this thing…the cliffs behind it was just fantastic.

This is just a standard black and white of the building. After looking at these shots yesterday, it makes me want to go back and sneak a little closer!

This is a two-shot “panoramic” stitch in Photoshop. I added quotes because to me a panoramic means wide, but this scene was so TALL, I had to use two shots to capture the vertical nature of the building and the cliffs behind it.

This is one of the two shots I used for the above panoramic.

Some graffiti on the Gila River Indian Reservation

Back in February my wife, my daughter and little ol’ me went for a short drive south of Chandler along State Route 87 and then took a turn into a road in the Gila River Indian Reservation. We found a very cool bridge (which is the first picture below) that was covered in graffiti. Coupled with the storm clouds, I was just loving this shot.

But after we crossed it, we found this water diversion structure adorned in graffiti, and while to some it may be vandalism and a crime (which it probably is), I found it beautiful in the setting we were in.

This isn’t some fence in a neighborhood, or an overpass on a freeway…this was a little used road, a little seen structure that is suddenly a very cool visual art display. I wont say it’s the greatest graffiti art I’ve ever seen, but it’s still kind of awesome.

There are some HDR shots in here as well as some standard shots.


The above is an HDR shot of the bridge and the storm clouds. Yummy.

A shot of the diversion structure and some building that is a part of it.

This is a decent view of the building, the structure  and the bridge behind it…graffiti everywhere.

A wider shot…this is over a second, smaller bridge that spanned this little water flow. HDR.

An HDR photo looking down the stairs into the structure. HDR.

A shot inside the building, looking in from one of the doorways. HDR.

This is looking back out the way I walked in. HDR.

This was actually shot elsewhere, on a different day, but it was on the same Indian reservation.

An old, abandoned building

This old building/small factory sits just off the north side of highway 210 east of Salt Lake City. I found it whilst exploring a few weeks ago. I posted a series of photos from that trip already, but there are still a few I haven’t gone through yet.

This is actually two HDR photos stitched together in Photoshop. I loved the rocks and snow, the cliffs behind it. My only sadness was not being able to get inside. Probably some great shots in there.

Something different: Urban photography with Brian

Brian is starting a church down in central Phoenix, a place where God has led him and his family to reach the urban crowd. Downtown Phoenix isn’t like your normal big city downtown, at least those like San Francisco, New York, Boston, etc. It’s more spread out, there are wider spaces, houses and random sprawl.

But it still has a central corridor and some high rise buildings. Brian wanted some photos of himself down there to use on his blog, or in other things that may come up. The goal was to capture not only photos of him, but also of downtown Phoenix itself in the background and perhaps the people living there.

This was a challenge for me personally, and while I liked some of these shots, I think I could do much better with more practice. I’ve been successful at photoshoots  of people, but the focus was mainly on THEM, not as much to show the place the photo was being taken. So the challenge of getting something good of Brian while showcasing urban Phoenix was a big one.

Some of the results of the shoot are below. I also just took a few random photos of the light rail tracks which are after the shots of Brian. I’d love to shoot down there more often and really scour Phoenix urban scene. The possibilities are endless.

Also, if interested in the church he’s starting, you can visit www.Day12.org.

Clouds and Light

Clouds always fascinate me and I love catching them in cool displays of light, darkness and nature. The other morning we had a little storm system move through, so I ran out south of my house to see if there was anything awesome to shoot.

The sun was still rising and it cast some great rays behind these clouds.

I enjoy capturing clouds like this and enhancing their beauty through HDR and processing, or even just through simple black and white.  These above are HDR with some color adjustments added to give it a fun look and really bring out the rays.

Saguaro Sunset in the San Tan Mountains

A shot of a tall Saguaro cactus with the sun setting behind it. I drove out to the southeast side of the San Tan Mountains on Friday afternoon, hoping to find some flowers to photography at sunset. I didn’t find much, but I did like this shot.

Beautiful, stunning mountains on that side of those mountains.

Dusk over the Wasatch National Park (HDR)

This is an HDR photo of the Wasatch National Park at sunset. I had been sitting on the side of this mountain watching the sun go down, watching a little weather blow through Salt Lake City…and just waited to see how the sun would light up these mountains.

The sky proved fairly awesome with the clouds and some color, but a couple of airplanes decided to cross overhead at the same time, which really gave it a cool look.

A tour of Wasatch, Utah: Part 3

Part 3 of my little series of photos of the Wasatch National Park east of Salt Lake City. I visited there last week for work and got a chance to escape and explore the mountains a bit. Needless to say, I loved the snow and the trees and the roads…such a great time.