Posts Tagged ‘nevada’

Arch on the Ledge at Valley of Fire

December 26, 2013

Newly discovered arch at Valley of Fire

Newly discovered arch at Valley of Fire

A beautiful wind sculpted arch with a landscape view of the Valley of Fire. I’ll call this a new arch since it’s not in any of the guide books. Scooted across a precarious ledge with a pair sticky shoes to get underneath the arch for a better view. I’ve got a few more shots of other arches not in any of the guide books that I’ll share in the future…


Mile.. Mile & A Half – The Muir Project

February 15, 2012

The John Muir trail is a 211 mile trail that follows 160 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Most think there are so many passes along the trail and find that be a discouraging factor but there are only 3 passes spread far apart from each other so that only leaves being gone for about 3 weeks as an excuse. More time equals more enjoyment then just zipping through it’s the sides trip up Whitney from the backside and so many other lakes, trails, peaks and passes to see along the trail. Most start the trail in Yosemite Valley and it just passed Mt Whitney. The documentary film was created last year during the highest snowpack in the decade melting away so it will display how the mountains weep those heavy tears.

The suspense is certainly building for this film for me, enjoy!!

MILE…MILE & A HALF (trailer) from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

Here’s one of their older trailers
JMT Project

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

December 8, 2011

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

Triple Arch at Valley of Fire

I’ve been sharing a few arch photographs on the internet from the Valley of Fire, well here are a few more to add to the series, “The Land of Little Arches”. Years ago my parents used to live out in Colorado Springs, CO so I’d have a great time looking at a map and trying to figure out how long I could make the trip getting there, the average amount of time getting there was 3 to 4 days and same thing with the way back so I’d visit some fantastic places of the Southwest & Rocky Mountains in good light and scout out a few others in the harsher hours of the day. Unless I could find some kind of canyon full of shade or canyon light then I’d just be there for hours with out a time limit.

Some of you may wonder how decisions are made on what to photograph. Some photographers use a book or a guide, sometimes GPS coordinates. This gives them a little bit of certainty and eliminates some of the risks of taking a possibly bad photograph and not coming home with anything. Of course no one can control the light and weather but some photographers are good at adapting to it so this increases their certainty of pulling off a great photograph such as the one they want to duplicate or hopefully improve upon and later submit to a contest for some kind of validation or just share it with friends. Is this true or not true?

A valley view of the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

I love to drive down a road and just look for interesting backdrops such as desert mountains or large rock formations. Especially something I haven’t seen shot over and over again. I might have to spend a little more time being out there exploring but the payoff to me is well worth it. It really helps one’s creativity when you are working with something you can’t duplicate. I guess you could compare it to visiting restaurants when traveling, do you judge the place by it’s exterior or look up the reviews online at home or smart phone, personally I don’t care, if I see a BBQ house that looks like shit I immediately think “I’m going in to find out what it’s like”. I’ve had good and bad experiences this way, an eatery known for it’s margaritas called the Loop in the town of Manitou Springs, CO. The margaritas were great but I like spicy food so I ordered “The Plate from Hell”. Let’s just leave it at the plate defeated me, but the experiences from the road are part of what motivate me to keep going.

Photographers often fly to Vegas to visit the Crown Jewels of the Southwest, places such as Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. Collect a few images and be gone. They may see Valley of Fire on the map and think I’ll visit sometime and some stop by shoot the Fire Wave, Fire Cave (Windstone Arch), Elephant Rock, and Atlai Rock then check it off the list and say been there done that. Valley of Fire and Lake Mead are so full of photographic opportunities I often found it hard to leave. Even during fun trips to Las Vegas with my friends during the summer I’d find some time sneak off and explore a few canyons here and there. The heat alone was enough to kill me and my water had to be frozen solid before any hikes began. There were many finds in bad light that require more trips into the desert to wait for the good light! As landscape photographers it helps to live in a place where we can be close to beautiful locations we can photograph only minutes away and Las Vegas has no shortage for the icon hunter or the explorer.

See more Valley of Fire images here or find workshop info here.

Visualization Before a Trip Into the Mountains

August 9, 2011

Light and Shadow Sketch Sierra Nevada Peaks and Lakes
┬ęSteve Sieren 2011, all work in this blog is copyrighted and may not be used in other blogs with out my written permission.

I sketched out my Plan A idea as shown here. I knew getting up to this spot would take a lot of effort for just a one night trip and I didn’t have the extra amount of energy to climb the 800 ft up the ridge at 2 or 3am in the morning so there’s always next time. I had a plan B shot that turned out to be great but I’d rather spend the extra efforts in getting something not photographed yet. Of course it would of been a lot easier to photograph the lake that I rolled out of bed next to. Instead we walked a few lakes over for a more dominant peak to photograph that was just slightly out of view from our campsite. I pretty much had to trust my photographer friend Floris van Breugel who researched a great spot for sunset and vice versa for my sunrise options, anyhow the place was great for multiple options at both sunrise and sunset.

In California we don’t always have clouds so we learn to shoot with out them, it’s part of the plan. The location in the sketch was removed in photoshop because I don’t broadcast exact locations. The wilderness is too big to have us all flock to one certain place.

Plan B location

Diamond of Sierra Nevada

Visualization is only small bit of what goes into creating great photographs and you’ll find many other options along the trail, near the trailhead and at camp or off in the distance. I have come across many photographic opportunities that I’ve made mental notes of planning on coming back to photograph but in time I forget about many of them. For example I came across an interesting sea arch along the Central Coast of California and completely forgot about until I visited the area again and saw it. I really thought how could I forget about such a great opportunity? In long the run it will help you to keep all of your ideas written down during or at just after a trip. This really helps a photographer keep their views a little fresher in the landscape photography market.

Peaks next to camp.

A quickly composed photograph on the short dawn hike to another lake before sunrise.

An elevated view into the Earth's Shadow from high in the Sierra

An elevated view into the Earth’s Shadow from high in the Sierra Nevada.

Elements of Design - Sierra Nevada Mountains

You can’t always count on colorful fiery clouds at sunset or sunrise in the Sierra Nevada so you’ll find if you practice on working with design of elements under the sky you’ll soon realize you don’t need the sky at all.

I simplified the scene here by making the peak and the grass tussock dominate most of the frame.

I use visualization to maximize what I take home, some of the images were edited years apart but were all photographed within 10 hours of each other in the same one night trip into the mountains. Visualization is a great tool to take advantage of during short trips where you spending a great deal of effort to get to these far out of reach places. It also helps in so many other forms of photography and other aspects of everyday life.

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