Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Zion Nat'l Park & Bryce Canyon Nat'l Park

Having just returned from Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, I’m busily sorting through my pictures. Here are a few along with comments.

Waterfall (far left) in Zion Nat'l Park
I feel like I did have a bit of good luck in the West. Traveling in the spring enhanced the opportunity to see some snow, and fortunately, we had some snow on the last day in Bryce.

Zion is a very pleasant park to visit because there is a shuttle bus which runs all along the park and you can hop-on, hop-off wherever you like. The food is good at the lodge in the park and at nearby restaurants. In Zion, I tried for pictures of unusual rock formations. The biggest surprise for me was that I used my super wide angle lens (Sigma 8mm – 16mm) pretty much the entire time. I did use my 18 – 55 zoom lens for one particular scene where I wanted to bring in a waterfall a bit closer and 55mm was enough. I also used the polarizer on the 18-55 zoom because you cannot use filters practically speaking on the Sigma. Never did I use my telephoto in Zion, and that was new for me.

Cathedral Rock in Zion

For Bryce, I relied on my Sigma super wide angle lens, and I even did a lot of panorama images to be combined later. See below.

Panorama combination of four wide angle shots

I did use my telephoto in Bryce Canyon for some closer shots of windows in the rock formations.  Then, as luck would have it, a chipmunk ran across the path just then and I blasted off five or six shots before he could get away. It was a good thing I had the telephoto on my camera (Nikon 55 - 300mm zoom).

Uinta Chipmunk, common in Zion (Neotamias umbrinus)

The first day In Bryce, I took lots of photos without snow, and had bright blue skies. The second day was overcast, and photos were not impressive. On the last morning in Bryce, however, I looked out the window of the bed and breakfast, and everything was covered in snow! The skies were overcast, but quickly driving up to Bryce Lookout Point, the sky suddenly cleared. I was able to get some snowy canyon pictures with patches of blue sky and wispy clouds.  Just what I’d hoped for.

Sudden morning snowfall in Bryce Canyon

The other intention I had was to get some good night-photography pictures. Zion and Bryce are among the very few places on the planet with truly dark skies. I had booked the trip during the new moon, so the sky would be absolutely at its darkest.

Night sky over Bryce Canyon with scattered clouds
Unfortunately, there were some scattered clouds with a touch of overcast, and I didn’t get any shots of the Milky Way I was hoping for.  I did see better stars than I had seen in Richmond, but better night photography shall still remain on my bucket list. Night photography is always a great learning experience no matter what, and I feel like  this trip improved my technique in any case.

More pictures here:

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Trip to Vermont

I'm happy with the assortment of pictures and the experience as a whole. As to my search for Fall colors, I came up short. Emerson explains:

The shows of day, the dewy morning, the rainbow, mountains,
orchards in blossom, stars, moonlight, shadows in still
water, and the like, if too eagerly hunted, become shows merely, and
mock us with their unreality. Go out of the house to see the moon,
and 't is mere tinsel; it will not please as when its light shines upon
your necessary journey. The beauty that shimmers in the yellow
afternoons of October, who ever could clutch it? Go forth to find it,
and it is gone: 't is only a mirage as you look from the windows of
diligence. From Emerson, Nature

Taken here at home, after I returned from Vermont

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vermont Pictures

My plan is to return to Vermont in the winter and capture some of the state's character when it is snowing.

See pictures of the trip here

Look outside. Do you see the trees? Look inside. Do you see the trees?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Trip to Vermont

In planning my trip, I am using the fall foliage forecaster (which shows an animation of the changing colors), brochures from the state tourism bureau, and Appalachian Trail maps.

Link to the forecaster

What I like about Vermont is that it is a mountainous and narrow state which allows a lot of flexibility in "chasing the colors."  I can travel north or south to get different mixes of color, and I can ascend or descend in altitude to do the same.  Anyway-- that's what I am hoping for.

Here is one super-helpful brochure I got, which shows the most scenic and interesting highways and byways to explore in the process.

I also bought some maps of the Appalachian Trail where it crosses through Vermont, and I mapped out all the points where there is highway access, so I hope to do some hiking on the AT and get some photos there as well.  Here is an example:

More to follow once I get to Vermont.  Watch for updates.