Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Completed Zion Portfolio & Fun With PixelBender

We are buried alive with snow here in Truckee! At least 5 feet in the front yard so far, and it is still snowing. I hope to get out and get some shots of this epic storm as soon as it lets up.

I have completed all the Zion images from my productive trip to that amazing area in early November. All my portfolio images from that trip can be viewed on my new releases page at:
I am also offering 35% off all new release prints through Dec. 31 with the code new35, you can see all my holiday promotions at the Specials Page. 

Autumn Glow,  Zion Canyon

At Photoshop World in Vegas this year I learned about the amazing Pixel Bender plug in for Photoshop - Free from Adobe if you have Photoshop. This cool plug in makes your pics look like a van Gogh painting (well sort of) and is really fun to play with. The only problem is that there seems to be a size limit to the photos it can work with, so it will not process very large files. Here is a fun shot  retouched with Pixel Bender I did of an old truck I saw driving to Zion. You may need to click on the image to get it to display full size to see the effects. I enjoy doing this type of retouching to images with man-made subjects, it can add a little fun and attitude to the shot.

Pumpkin Truck

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn Sunset Zion / November Carmel Gallery Newsletter

Check out my latest images from Zion in the Carmel Gallery E-News.

When I saw the clouds forming during the day I thought it would be a colorful sunset, so I lined up on the bridge 3 hours before sunset to get the primo position for this shot of Autumn Sunset in Zion. The locals were saying they had the best autumn colors seen in the area in 8 years!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Images from Toroweap, Grand Canyon

Toroweap is a remote area on the north rim of the Grand Canyon accessed via a 60 mile dirt road (each way) that takes off near Fredonia, AZ.  The last few miles of the access road are slickrock and not for the faint of heart or low-slung rental cars.  It is in the Grand Canyon National park and there is a ranger on duty so I suppose it would not be life - threatening if your car broke down out there, but you definitely want to take survival gear in case of the worst. I always carry a Fast Find PLB in my camera pack in case of an emergency. I picked a day to go out there when a storm was approaching to the north in hopes of getting good sunset / sunrise clouds, and I was not disappointed. My first image below is a sunset shot - this is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) capture since I needed to get light on the foreground canyon and still properly expose the sky, which took a very long exposure to capture. You will notice the blurring in the clouds from having the shutter open a long time (over 30 seconds). I was able to bring out the details of the foreground canyon walls during post processing in Hasselblad Phocus software and Photoshop CS5. The sunset image is looking downriver to the west. This is a spectacular location, perched thousands of feet above the Colorado River. There are no handrails here, no place to get dizzy or trip!

The sunrise shot below is looking East - it is amazing how similar the rock formations are looking both East and West. More light was available with this shot making for crisper clouds and more of a glow on the canyon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Images from "The Subway" in Zion National Park

I just returned from a trip to Zion and the Grand Canyon to capture some "Icons of the American West" during the Autumn season. I hiked up into a remote slot canyon in Zion National Park to capture an image of a canyon formation known as the "Subway". The hike entails a lot of boulder hopping and creek crawling up the left fork of the Zion river. The National Park Service controls access to this area and only allows a limited number of hikers in each day through a permit system. It is an all day hike out and back, but well worth the effort to visit this very magical place. This formation is an area where the slot canyon narrows and the water has carved a tunnel that happens to be oriented in a way that glows in the midday sun. To add to this drama is a beautiful emerald green pool in the creek next to the rock formation. The Autumn leaves were floating in eddies in this pool making light streaks during my long exposure. I carried my Hasselblad H4D on the hike so I could capture the scene with my 28mm lens. There were other photographers at this location - some of them had rented drysuits so they could take an image of this formation from inside a 6 foot deep pool inches to the right of where I was standing to get this image. I was super careful not to step backwards or slip into this pool with my camera! As it was I had to stand in ankle deep water with my tripod. The day was a great adventure and I was pleased to come away with two new releases to my fine art print collection from the Southwest.

My next post will be on some sunrise and sunset images from a dramatic and remote area on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Autumn Photographs

I have been traveling in Zion and the Grand Canyon area this autumn and will  have some exciting new images to post soon from this trip. Thanks to all the fellow photographers who stopped to say hi and introduce themselves! Before I left for my trip to Utah / Arizona I completed some new autumn releases from the Tahoe area. Hope Valley was amazing this year, and I was fortunate to capture an iconic location from this area in great afternoon light:

I also captured some shots of the aspen colors around Lake Tahoe which were brilliant this year. Shining Forest below was captured by shooting into the sun - In order to do this without lens flare destroying the image I shielded the lens with a large folding reflecting disk - a Photoflex Multi Disk 5 in 1.

Autumn colors can produce wonderful color combinations like this lime green mixed with the orange -yellows near Spooner summit.