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Spring

(Looks a bit nicer in a lightbox…just click on it for a larger version)

I took another drive Wednesday afternoon, this time I was on the hunt for an old ghost town called Nelson that was south of Boulder City. I found it, but I wasn’t loving it and the big one that they talk about is kind of a man-made deal…not my cup of tea.

But the desert mountains and surrounding scenery was breathtaking. The road goes on past Nelson and winds through what is known as El Dorado Canyon. The pavement ends at the Colorado River which was something I definitely wanted to check out.

On the hike back from the river, I walked up a wash that flows to the Colorado. This wash has signs EVERYWHERE about how the flash flood potential is extremely high. Made me want to be up about 50 feet along the edges to witness an awesome flash flood someday *grin*

The wash was bordered on each side by cliffs and the sun was basically on the horizon shining straight towards me on my walk back. I spotted this desert bloom in the sunlight and had to snatch a shot of it. I love the shot, I had the camera basically resting on the ground, but I do wish I had been able to just lay there to get the shot perfectly focused…I think it’s slightly soft. Still, I dig the bokeh.

It’s mid-March already and with all the rain the deserts got this winter, I expect the wildflowers are going to be amazing. This little guy is just the sign of things to come.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/1.8, iso 100, 1/800 sec)

The road through Red Rock Canyon

(enjoy a better view by clicking on the image and seeing it in a lightbox)

I’ve been to Las Vegas countless times for my day job. Even after picking up photography only about 18 months ago…I still have been here at least 5-6 different times since then. Never during any of those times did I make a trip out to Red Rock Canyon. It’s not always easy…like in the middle of winter when the sunset in Las Vegas is 4:30 in the afternoon. That’s just silly. Those of us working normal hours don’t have a chance.

But finally on this trip the sun wouldn’t set until 6:45 and I had a couple of hours to spend driving out there and looking around.

All the reports are true. It’s a beautiful place. And there were a lot of people being all “touristy” like me, plus exercise nuts riding their 10-speeds around the park’s looped road. The only thing I kept in the back of my brain was to try and find something unique that someone else might not see. I always, always try to do that even if I don’t necessarily accomplish it. If I saw people gathering and taking pictures at obvious spots, I tried to look to the opposite area.

I was hoping for a brilliant sunset because of all the high clouds, but they thickened up as the day wore on and it ended up not allowing for much color in the sky. Still, I liked the way they looked anyways and of course you know I can’t resist a solid road shot.  It’s not too easy to see here, but the road does a little “S” curve as it disappears and cuts through the hill where you see orange-looking crevice.

As I’m sure most people say after visiting this park…I only wish I had more time. If only we could freeze the hour before sunset just to wander around capturing all that beautiful light goodness.

My friend, Iron Man Brian Matiash, posted his own shot from Red Rock when he was here last, you must go check it out.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 200)

Rusted air

Short little entry for Monday. I’m off to Las Vegas for the week as my day-job has lots to do over the next month or two. I am posting another shot from the abandoned water facility I found on my last trip to Vegas, this was on the way to Lake Mead.

I assume this is an air conditioner and I’m fairly certain it’s completely useless now. At least, if it does work, I doubt it’s still blowing cold air.

I loved finding this little spot just randomly driving by, so I hope to do a bit more of that in the late afternoon/evenings this week. Although I’m going to force myself out to the Red Canyon area at least once this week, hopefully to capture a sunset or something cool I haven’t seen before.

Busy week of client meetings/workshops, so I think I’ll be fairly absent from the online world during business hours…but then again, I usually say that and still find a way to tweet at least 20 times a day. As they said in Jurassic Park…”Life….finds a way.

ALSO: Be sure to check out a little interview I did on Essential Photogear by clicking here.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/2.8, iso 100)

 

Who holds the key?

My first thought when I saw this lock through the broken glass wasn’t what it should have been. There are at least two other aspects of this scene that are way more interesting than the question that went through my head at the time:

I wonder who has the key to the lock…or does anyone even know where it is anymore?

So now you may wonder, what are the other two things?

Both of them only occurred to me AFTER I embedded this photo tonight. Which means to me that I need to take my time more. But it kind of makes sense…because I found this abandoned water/power structure while on the way to Lake Mead while the sun was going down and I honestly was a little nervous being all alone. I was rushing to get shots quickly, composing fast, without really noticing what was around me.

Yet even during post-processing I didn’t see it. Not until now.

Okay, the first may not be a big deal, but the fact that the chain is going through the broken windows is kind of amusing to me. Obviously someone decided they needed to keep people out after they’ve tried to get in a few times.

The bigger thing is that the friggin’ door is OPEN. I mean, I don’t know how far I could have pulled it ajar…but maybe enough to get a camera slid inside to take a couple of brackets? Maybe it would still be too tight.

But the strange thing is that I just didn’t even notice.

Regardless of all that, I just loved this old door and I still can’t sing enough praises about using the 50mm on stuff like this. It’s just brilliant.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.0, iso 100)

Junction

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35 2.8, 17mm, iso100)

I’m out in Henderson, Nevada for work this week and of course dragged my gear along with me. I used to hate carrying a lot of crap with me back in the day, but now I take along my personal laptop, camera bag and tripod if I’m gone longer than a day or two. It certainly makes things more difficult, but then again, I’d miss out on stuff like the above image.

I had no idea where I was going yesterday, but I decided to take a drive after getting done at the plant. I headed south on the 515 which turned into the 95 and then took the 93 towards Lake Mead. Not sure what I was looking for…I just knew the sun was going down and I wanted to get a cool picture of something.

I passed by this building off to the left and saw a bunch of broken windows. Bingo. It was close to the road, no fences, so I flipped around and parked at a pullout right by it. Was almost like it was an overlook to view this place (link to it here from Google maps).

Now, there is something about a building being abandoned, windows broken…the oldness, the quiet…that spooks me. I mean, this thing was only a few hundred feet from the road but I still kept looking over my shoulder. I need to get over that.

I slowly explored the area and was amazed to find the door to the above room open. I didn’t have to work hard to slide it all the way which allowed in a bit more light and let me setup the tripod.

The site itself was interesting. It looked like a power generation station but also a small water reservoir storage system. This set of pipes is some kind of junction for the process…I count at least five valves in the picture. I love old, worn, decrepit stuff like this…and I seriously love how the HDR process brings it to life.

I took a few more shots from around the place and will post them at a later time. Below is kind of a quickie image that gives you an idea of what the outside area looked like (posted it on Twitter last night).

World Market Center

Last week I posted a shot from the parking garage of the World Market Center, but other than me telling you what it was, you’d have no idea unless you knew the place. But it looked awesome from the outside, so before I left, I wandered into the outdoor “lobby” between a few of these buildings and was just struck by the awesome architecture, lines and especially the shadows highlighting the name of the place.

One of the highlights of taking this shot was that the security guard across the way never once bothered me or even approached me. And I was sitting there sprawled out on the ground to get as low as I could in order to capture the ground all the way up to the top of the buildings with my 17-35mm. I was sure someone would come ask what the heck I was doing.

But this is Vegas I guess…they’ve probably seen it all.

Vegas Baby…Vegas

As many of you may know about me, I love to shoot the weather with the best composition I can come up with in whatever situation arises…however, sometimes all you can do is run up to the top of a parking garage and snap photos of a monster storm and not care about anything else.

I was in Vegas two weeks ago during some good stormy weather, driving back to the airport with a colleague from another company, and I can’t even tell you how badly I wanted to pull the car over. I didn’t have a tripod or lightning trigger, but I would have done anything to get into a better position to shoot this thing.

However, as it ended up…this vantage point was awesome. I was lucky enough to have some time before my flight, so I got to the sixth floor of the employee parking garage (I guess) and was somehow not harassed by any security guards. Maybe it was the lack of a tripod, who knows.

Awesome storm though…and I couldn’t decide between two images I made from it. The top is an HDR from 3-railing-propped brackets…and the bottom is a single bracket with some processing done to it.

(BTW, if you don’t know where the quote “Vegas baby…Vegas” comes from, please go rent Swingers 🙂