Archive for September, 2010

Hyperthermia in the Heat?

September 29, 2010
Hot Sand Box

"The Hot Sand Box" Sometimes it can be too hot out to be hiking.

You don’t have to be in the desert to experience hyperthermia, Sally Menke, an Oscar-nominated film editor known for her association with director Quentin Tarantino, was found dead in Los Angeles early Tuesday morning. She went for a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains on the hottest recorded day in Los Angeles history where the temperature reached 113. Without any signs of foul play the cause of death could be hyperthermia, police have not given a cause of death yet. The film industry has lost a great person, I was a fan of much of here work. My condolences go out to her family and everyone that she was close to.

Do you know the difference between hypothermia and hyperthermia? If you do the difference the title doesn’t make sense but your average person may not know the difference. Hypothermia causes symptoms such as shivering and mental fatigue and confusion due your body’s core temperature dropping below safe levels. Hyperthermia can cause heat cramps and heat stroke. Can you treat your own heat stroke? The answer to that is NO! At this point hopefully you have someone with you or someone knows where you are. Heat cramps are only a sign that you need to slow down your body’s loss of water and salts (electrolytes). You will always hear drink plenty of water but once your body’s core temperature rises to unsafe levels you need to rest and find shade.

It’s easy to lose water faster then you replenish it. Every breath you exhale your body loses precious water vapor. To avoid hyperthermia you may need to decide your health is more important then making it back to your car where your lunch is miles away. Heat stroke is very serious and fatal if not treated quickly. Signals of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal. Complications include shock and brain damage. If you are with some that may be experiencing a heat stroke call 911 or get help anyway you can!

"Desert Mirage" Keep aware of your mental state while hiking in the heat.

Here are a few tips to avoid hyperthermia.

• Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. Cotton dries slower then synthetics and keeps your body cooler if it worn loosely. It is also a good idea to wear larger brimmed hats or even use an umbrella.

• Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

• Eat small meals and eat more often.

• While hiking avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.

• Carry a flashlight or GPS device to find your car in the dark in case you need wait for it to get cooler out.

• Don’t hike alone, hike with an experienced desert hiker if you can.

Hottest temps I've ever hiked in the Mojave Desert was 115°. Can you imagine how hot the water was in my camelbak? I lost more water then I could take it on that short afternoon hike.


Fall Color Photo Tips; Part 1

September 23, 2010

A few tips and ideas to keep in mind.

Backlighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color.

• Back lighting can be the most dramatic light for fall color scenes and you can capture it all in one exposure most of the time as seen here. Backlit foliage can make some of the dullest pop. Next time you see a colorful tree take a walk around it and see how the vibrancy and glow of leaves change as you walk around the tree. In the image above I decided to angle the camera so I could pick up a hint of side lighting for the shadows on the trunks which added depth to the mostly backlit subject.

Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition.

• Singling out a set of trees against a contrasting backdrop can improve your composition. Look for patterns to lead your viewers into your scene. In the image above, the partially submerged rounded stones and the diagonal lines created by the moving water were used a two lead ins from both corners of the scene. These lead ins pull the viewer into the simplified middle ground and background.

You can simplify your composition by finding shapes and patterns

• The majority of landscape photography is shot in the golden hour and sunset sunrise light, but fall foliage photography is done all kinds of light. How many times have stood in the bottom of a canyon near the middelo fthe day and noticed one minute you were in shade and the next minute you were in full sun. You can point the camera straight up into the sky in the middle of the day. This image was photographed at noon, you can photograph autumn scenery all day long so make sure you have enough batteries to keep you out from twilight to twilight.

Autumn in Los Angeles

Don't knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers!

• Don’t knock your local fall color it can surprise even the best of photographers! I would be pretty upset if I missed out on this place that is only 15 minutes from my home. Try finding a creek full of trees close to your home and practice there before you make that long trip and spend all that money on airline tickets, car rentals and gasoline. A little knowledge might be worth more then cost of a trip.

Part II : Fall Color Photo Tips

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

A Golden Path Into Winter.

September 20, 2010

White River National Forest

It’s that time again and the brisk autumn air is cooling at the higher elevations. No matter where you go in search of fall color you can always find something if you are there a week before or after the main peak. If you feel you are too soon or too late just remember the color changes with elevation and temperature. While you’re following your fall color reports don’t forget to listen to your own intuitions, you might just find what you’re looking for.

These beautiful leaves reminded of brand new fluttering gold coins falling to the ground. This photograph was taken a week after the main peak in the White River National Forest in Colorado.

No Destination in Mind

September 8, 2010

Something I like about landscape photography is you don’t have to have a plan. You can get in your car and drive semi aimlessly but be aware of your surroundings. On this afternoon I thought I would scout Lassen Volcanic Park’s high country but it turned out to be covered in snow so I left and headed east down one of the major highways I hadn’t driven before. I turned down one of the dirt roads and there it was.. . .. . sure doesn’t happen all the time but when it does grab it!

Part of my California’s Casdia Collection.

For those of your curious, I have an HDR version on the bottom in the version below. Very similar to each other here on the web.

Single shot and HDR version of Wild Mountain Lillies

Do you see any difference?