Posts Tagged ‘national park’

My 2012 Best & Unique Landscape Photographs

January 8, 2013

2012 was a great year and I hope you all enjoyed it. I had a some photos installed in the McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada (Food Court area) and an interpretive night pollution display set up in the newly remodeled visitor center in Death Valley. I’ll be getting married and having my first child in 2013 so I know it will be another great year. Looking forward to seeing all the 2012’s best from Jim Goldstein’s yearly list! I hope your 2013 is as great as you make it!!

A hidden sea arch along California's Central Coast
A hidden sea arch along California’s Central Coast

Cholla cactus garden illuminated by a spectacular desert sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park. The cholla cactus is famous for it's dramatic way of catching backlight from the sun for hours after the sun has risen and hours before it sets as well. Don't get too close or they may stick to you.
Cholla cactus garden illuminated by a spectacular desert sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park. The cholla cactus is famous for it’s dramatic way of catching backlight from the sun for hours after the sun has risen and hours before it sets as well. Don’t get too close or they may stick to you.

Wild yucca bloom in the Mojave Nature Preserve.  It's a beautiful place most photographers skip out on.
Wild yucca bloom in the Mojave Nature Preserve. It’s a beautiful place most photographers skip out on.

Death Valley Northwest Section
Death Valley Northwest Section

Death Valley Coyote Silhouettes
Death Valley Coyote Silhouettes

Death Valley Racetrack
Death Valley Racetrack Backlit Lenticular Cloud

Canyoneering in Death Valley
Canyoneering in Death Valley

Watchman Virgin River in the fall at Zion National Park
Watchman Virgin River in the fall at Zion National Park

Fiery sunsest through Elephant Rock Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada's Mojave Desert.
Fiery sunsest through Elephant Rock Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada’s Mojave Desert.

Eastern Sierra in Fall
Eastern Sierra in Fall

More Eastern Sierra in Fall
More Eastern Sierra in Fall

El Capitan and the Merced in Fall, Yosemite National Park
El Capitan and the Merced in Fall, Yosemite National Park

Canyoneer makes a 40ft jump in a very remote section of Jump Canyon in Sierra Nevada Foothills of California
Canyoneer makes a 40ft jump in a very remote section of Jump Canyon in Sierra Nevada Foothills of California

One of Zion's Canyons filled with fall color.
One of Zion’s Canyons filled with fall color.

Beautiful lone cottonwood tree on the Virgin River in Zion National Park
Beautiful lone cottonwood tree on the Virgin River in Zion National Park

Repelling a waterfall in Jump Canyon in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.
Repelling a waterfall in Jump Canyon in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.

Canyon Intersection - Zion
Canyon Intersection – Zion

Thunderstorm above an arch in Joshua Tree National Park
Thunderstorm above an arch in Joshua Tree National Park

Sea Arch in Big Sur, California Central Coast
Sea Arch in Big Sur, California Central Coast

S Curve at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada
S Curve at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

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Lone Cottonwood at Zion National Park

November 27, 2012

Virgin River Cotton at Zion National Park

Every year at Zion you find a tree that has changed color, this is this year’s tree. I’d ask if you guys were sick of seeing photos from Zion but this isn’t one of those icons that you’ve seen a thousand times before… This lone cottonwood tree stands all by itself next to this emerald river in Zion National Park. Per request, this photo can be deleted and replaced with a bridge shot of the watchman!

See it larger here.

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Awareness

November 12, 2012

Canyon juction in Zion National Park

Do you ever notice when you’re out there taking pictures your level of awareness fluctuates?

It would be egotistical if if I said I’m aware 100% of the time when the camera is in hand, regardless of high end camera or Iphone. A person’s awareness fluctuates most of the time otherwise we wouldn’t have car accidents or a broken camera here and there, had a few occasions of both myself! I’ve past this scene so many times before and standing in this spot looking through the viewfinder wouldn’t show me this scene the way it’s being displayed on the screen. First you have the idea come to you at some point in time, either at the moment you’re there, or before or after. This isn’t one of the checklist shots where photographers gather and point the camera in certain general directions. It’s an idea that came to me just like every other photographer gets ideas. The idea was worked until everything that didn’t relate was excluded. Connect with your ideas until you are fully satisfied!

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Backpacking in Kings Canyon under the Milky Way.

June 25, 2012

Backpacking tent in Kings Canyon under the Milky Way.

Had a little teamwork on this one, Christina had her headlamp set up in the perfect spot with out knowing it! She was feeling the altitude on this trip so I had to carry a little more then I expected to keep her moving along. With the strong winds out I thought Christina might of wanted to turn around but she toughed it out and I’m glad! I came to shoot the alpen glow but think I like the night view more then the day stuff. This little old tent is about 10 years old and this may be it’s last photo. Too bad we don’t get the trade ins on tents or customer loyalty discounts!! It certainly lasted a lot longer then I though they would have, it was less then a 100 bucks and all I could afford at the time. I’ll get a lighter one next time!

It was a cool trip, meaning on the cold side. We didn’t jump into any of the mountain lakes or broke much of sweat because there was a constant breeze to keep our temps cool while hiking. Christina saw her first yellow bellied marmot and thought it would make a great friend for her pet dog to play with, that would be funny, a giant chihuahua playing w/ a marmot! We pitched the tent up next to the tallest boulder to block the wind, it’s blurring parts of the tent in this shot but it was stretched out pretty far with guy lines so you can’t really see much blur in it all unless you look closely. This was just a random unplanned shot where I knew I could use the 3 different layers make the scene work and fill the frame with interesting subject matter.

The Sierra has been pretty cloudless this late spring and early summer season. I love to frequent the places I shoot to get know the weather that isn’t the same every year. Some years we have almost cloudless summers and some we get more then the usual fair of afternoon thunder storms. I love going light with out a tent but haven’t been caught in a rain, hail or thunder storm with out a tent, but maybe someday I’ll get pelted to no end by baseball sized hail!!

Have you ever been caught without a tent while backpacking?

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American Galapagos Sunset

February 14, 2012

Channel Island National Park Seascape Image

American Galapagos Sunset – Channel Island National Park

Okay you got me it’s not the Galapagos Islands (I wish) but we like to refer to California’s Channel Islands as the American Galapagos because of their abundant variety of endemic species and plentiful sea life. It’s most certainly beautiful out there!

You can see the path of wind of in the distance. It’s partial evidence of how these high coastal sea cliffs are shaped.

The Channel Islands are some of the most beautiful islands on the West Coast. If you ever get a chance to see them it’s worth while. The weather is not the same compared to the mainland. You can be covered in fog while everyone is out on the beach back in Los Angeles.

Website: Portfolio
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Hiking the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley National Park

January 10, 2012

Photographer in the remote Panamint Dunes in Death Valley

The Panamint Dunes are the most remote set of large dunes in the park. They are also the least visited set of dunes in the park. It’s about a 4 mile one way hike and most of the hike is relatively moderate until you reach the sand and uphill on sand begins. You’ll begin to move a little slower this way. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for the dirt road to access the dunes north of highway 190 in the Panamint Valley. The turn off is easy to miss but it’s a few miles east of Panamint Springs and you can easily find it on a park map. At the end of the road there is a small parking area. From here you walk across the alluvial fan towards the dunes, there is somewhat of a foot path but no trail so keep in mind the angle of where you parked the car. A compass should help you find your car if it gets dark and you can’t make out the mountains near telescope peak.

What I liked about this hike, for the most part you walk through mostly creosote the whole way you’ll end up smelling like the Mojave Desert when you get back. On the dunes instead of human footprints you’re more likely to find lots of animal patterns and birds landing on the dunes to eat a bug or two, maybe even a few birds of prey. I’ve seen a golden or two in my travels here. You’ll also encounter a few fly byes of F-18’s from China Lake if you’re lucky. More so during the week, they’ve had control of the airspace before Death Valley was a National Park or Monument so we have to share the skies with them. Best of all you can enjoy one of the off the beaten path places in park with another view of Telescope Peak off in the distance. Snow on the peak give the scene a beautiful contrast to vastly open desert below.

Telescope Peak from the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley

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Under the Bridge at Zion

November 30, 2011

Under the Watchman Bridge at Zion National Park

“Life isn’t worth living unless you’re willing to take some big chances and go for broke.”

- Eliot Wiggington

Earlier that day I was scouting for my Zion workshop further up the main canyon so I got here at the last minute and the huge mob was already 5 layers deep and in rows of 40 to 60 people across the famous bridge where everyone shoots the Watchman over the Virgin River.

I tried and tried to squeeze in to catch a view and maybe clone out a few ear lobes on the edges of my composition but it wasn’t going to happen. It was a game of tripod twister and I was surely losing. The mob wouldn’t let me in and I kept trying so they became angry and hurled me up and over the edge of the bridge towards the river bottom. After the impact from the fall I realized I was temporarily paralyzed from the pain and couldn’t try for another bridge shot so I just sadly shot from where I landed, knowing I wish I had the same old bridge composition. A minute later I was hit in the head with my cable release “ouch”, I must of dropped it and at least someone was nice enough to give it back. It’s better to be immobile for a minute then have the crowd of zombies on auto pilot eat my fresh brains!

All though this story didn’t really happen, the message is use your legs people. You shouldn’t take them for granted while they’re there working for you. You don’t need to do exactly what everyone else is doing. It isn’t necessary to go for broke but a small almost effortless deviation can change things dramatically.

Website: Portfolio
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Half Dome’s North Face

November 20, 2011

Half Dome's North Face from Olmstead Point

Half Dome is no doubt the most heavily photographed icon in Yosemite Valley. It can be seen from so many vantage points through out the national park. This particular view is photographed very often and has a popular pull out parking called Olmstead Point. You’ll find many photographers and families shooting portraits up there. For us landscape photographers wanting the good light we can get a great view of Half Dome’s North Face from here. In this photograph it’s late light in the afternoon hitting the face of the icon with enough mixture of light and shadows to give it a three dimensional effect. Olmstead Point is located off highway 120 also known as the Tioga Pass road, it’s high elevation makes it’s easy access only available in the very late, early fall and summer months. In the winter you’ll need to snowshoe or cross country ski to access it, there is at least on company out there that will help you if you’re coming up from the bottom of the Tioga Pass on the East Side of the Sierra during winter.

Marmot at Olmstead Point Yosemite

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Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
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Lassen Volcanic Park and Marmot in the Engine

December 26, 2010

Rolling cinder hills in Lassen Volcanic National Park

I recently had the chance to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park this past June. Most of the park was covered in snow so I headed off the beaten path to the outskirts of the park hoping to find something a little less photographed. Here is a view from the top of a cinder cone of rolling painted hills, it was well worth the walk up to the top.

Shadow from the lip of a cinder cone in Lassen Volcanic Park

In the image above I was watching the shadow from the lip of the cone slowly move across the scene just before it revealed the trees completely. It wasn’t very slow since I remember having to react quickly while I was thinking why can’t the trees be exactly where I want them to be? The shutter fired away since some moments pass and the oppertunity is lost until a next attempt.

Who checks under the hood everytime before they get in there car? I don’t but I had a slow leak at the time so I was pretty surprised to find this basketball sized living rodent just sitting cozy and comfortably as it was in the beginning of the video. After 2 trekking poles and a ranger with 2 brooms sticks we got the marmot to run for the woods. Out of pure curiosity, I have always wondered what a marmot tastes like so lucky for him or her there wasn’t a roasting.

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Lobster Claw Arch – Joshua Tree National Park

November 17, 2010

Lobster Claw Arch - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is famous for it’s otherworldly trees scattered amongst some very unique boulder formations. These piles and piles of rocks are almost endless it’s not a wonder why people often get lost in the maze of monzogranite. Curiosity makes you wonder what you can find in the sea of rocks. This arch probably doesn’t have an official name but some climber friends call it Lobster Claw Arch and the name is well suited to it’s shape. I spent a little bit of time scrambling through the boulders to find it so it was well worth enjoying in the warm light. Sometimes it’s the little things you can find off the beaten path that keep you searching for more to photograph. We all love the icons but it’s the lure of new things that pushes me to keep searching for something I haven’t seen yet.


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