Autumn

Cedar Breaks Sunrise

Cedar Breaks Sunrise

Cedar Breaks National Monument lies peacefully under the subtle but brilliant colors of a Utah sunrise

I had seen Cedar Breaks National Monument on maps before and had been tempted to visit on prior trips to Zion National Park. Cedar Breaks is tantalizingly close to Zion but I had always been on my way further east to visit another of Southern Utah’s constellation of incredible state and national parks. Fortunately, we had actually built a visit to Cedar Breaks into our schedule this time and had scouted our shooting location the night before. As it turned out, I was really happy we had done so. The next morning turned out to be pretty cold and it was nice to know exactly where we would be setting up shop.

It doesn’t happen often, but in this case the best shooting location at sunrise was right at the visitors center in the principal overlook. We had a 270 degree view of Cedar Breaks and could quickly move from one angle to another. At one point I had a camera pointed due east and another looking almost west. Having two camera bodies and two tripods was a great luxury since this turned out to be a pretty epic sunrise and there were lots of shooting opportunities. As the sun rose closer to the horizon and eventually over, the view further down canyon and over to the distant mountains just got better and better.

As I normally do at sunrise and sunset, I was shooting series of three bracketed exposures. I may even have had to go to five shots separated by two stops for the first few series. There was quite a wide latitude of exposures needed to bring out shadow detail and not blow out the highlights of the clouds overhead. Eventually there was enough reflected light to drop to three shots and ultimately one exposure. I’m just happy that good technique and modern equipment allow me to capture these types of scenes. The camera simply can’t always capture what the eye can see without a bit of an assist in post-processing.

Cedar Breaks isn’t one of those places where I would recommend staying for a weeklong visit, but it’s definitely a place you don’t want to miss. I think our overnight stay in Cedar City with a chance to take in a sunset and sunrise was a reasonable amount of time there. I drove away appreciating our time there and ready for another visit in the future.

Cowee Mountains Overlook Panorama

Cowee Mountains Overlook Panorama

A panoramic view of the Cowee Mountains from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I was spending a few minutes puttering around in my office this morning and I came across this image. I had just posted an entry that contained another image captured during this sunset, but I’m still intrigued by this shot.

While I was waiting for the clouds to turn brilliant shades of pink, orange, and red after sunset, my friend Tom and I were standing on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Cowee Mountains Overlook in western North Carolina just waiting for things to develop. As is often the case with me the shot that I wound up with turned out to be totally different from the shot I had anticipated. Sunset that night, while not a bust, certainly was not sensational. This, however, turned out to be an epic shot. Paraphrasing John Lennon among many others, sometimes life is what happens in the meantime.

For those of you interested in the technical details, I shot this with a Nikon D800 at ISO 400 with an aperture of f/5.0 at a speed of 1/500 second using my Nikon 24-70 2.8 at 50mm. I shot on a tripod with portrait orientation taking eight shots stitched together with the panorama feature in Adobe Photoshop CC with final adjustments made in Lightroom CC.

I wish it was a sunrise shot because it would make for great commentary on how I view the new year. So, let’s just go with the sunrise/New Year analogy even though this is a sunset shot..

Here’s hoping that 2016 is your best year yet. I certainly hope it will be for me and my family. In any case, may your relationship with your family, your friends, and God who created you grow in depth and vitality in the new year. Enjoy.

The Great Wall

The Great Wall

Late morning light streams over the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall located near Beijing

I don’t have a lot to add about my trip to the Great Wall since my last post. I will say that it is one of those places that is not overrated. You truly have to experience it to do it justice. I suspect I could visit each of the sections in a different season and in different lighting conditions and could photograph it many, many times without creating a boring image. It truly lives up to its description as great. Enjoy.

Maple Lane Farm

Maple Lane Farm

A sign for Maple Lane Farm with beautiful fall foliage behind near Woodstock, Vermont

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post. I’ve undertaken the gigantic task of moving my entire workflow from editing photos in Apple’s now defunct – but formerly excellent – photo editing software to Adobe’s Lightroom. I’ll try to post about my trials and tribulations with that transition shortly.

In the meantime here’s one of the last images from last fall’s trip to Vermont. This is a simple, but beautiful shot from near Woodstock, Vermont. As you might imagine there is a recurring theme related to maple trees in New England. Maple syrup, maple trees, maple leaves, Maple Street, and all things maple can be found in the region. Add in the fall foliage and the occasional maple tree flaming with various colors and signs like these become representative of the region. I hope to have more for you soon. Enjoy.