This past week, we had a morning where the rain clouds were
breaking up in the early morning. I chose that day to explore Doton’s Point trail
at Folsom Lake Recreation Area; a trail that was new to me. The grasses and
other plants were displaying their spring green. The early morning sun helped
saturate the colors. Spring was at its finest. I went with the expectation that
I might see some different birds. Instead, I discovered that it was time for some
The beautiful rocks in this image are granite. The area around this portion of Folsom Lake is called Granite Bay because of the abundance of granite in the area. Like the Sierra Nevada mountains, this area sets on a pluton, a large blob of magma that cooled slowly underground to form granite then was uplifted and exposed.
Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.
Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is stunningly beautiful; especially at sunrise and sunset. It should be on your bucket list. You can enjoy it any time of day but, I recommend being there in the morning, before the sun creeps over the distant mountains and as the sun sets in the evening. The colors saturate, the whites appear almost translucent at hose times and it will take your breath away. If you can, walk the trails that take you below the base and look at the hoodoos face on.
As I looked over the landscape, my thoughts turned to the ancient cities from fantasy and action adventures. Perhaps drawing from Petra in southern Jordan. I can imagine temples and palaces constructed from the hoodoos. I see “impregnable” walls being breached by the barbarians outside. It’s a fun connection.
For me, the process of how the land became to look as it does, enhances its beauty. In this case, water channels away the softer soil, forming the hoodoos. The freeze-thaw cycle sculpts the hoodoos by breaking off chunks. The wind helps sculpt too, but, to a lesser degree. What is left are acres of an orange and cream landscape filled with spectacular hoodoos and the erosional hills and valleys at their base.
I can’t wait to go back. Only this time, I am going to allow a day to hike and see what other treasures I uncover. I wonder what it would like in snow.
Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution images.
Abstract art uses color, shape and line to create a pleasing image. That image may or may not represent something real. In photography, you arrive at the result through a different route. You find a candidate and create a composition that emphasizes the pattern created by the color, shape and/or line over the subject itself.
I am a primarily a landscape photographer. As I progressed and learned more about that art, I became fascinated with the questions about how a scene evolved; what processes shaped it in the past and what processes are shaping it today. As I observed, I began to see the patterns and to understand how to recognize the effects of the wind, water and tectonic events that influenced it. I also began to see how the patterns repeated themselves in different ways in different objects. It is those patterns that often make a wonderful abstract image.
On a recent cross-country trip, we flew over the high plains of Kansas and the foothills and peaks of the Rocky Mountains. In many places the snowpack was broken; ice and snow lay in the crevices where snowmelt flows, while the remaining surfaces were clear. I was struck by the patterns that I saw. Erosion created patterns like those of a bush branching or leaves branching on a stem. In one spot, I saw a fish backbone with its tiny ribs extended. Using my trusty phone camera, through an airplane window, I created some abstracts from the landscapes I love.
I hope you enjoy these images. Reflect on the patterns – what do you see?
Note: Click on Caption to see larger, higher resolution image
In October, 2015, Donna and I made a tour of the Great Basin area in Nevada. I recently revisited the images I took during that trip and decided to get them ready to publish. The first image is of a special Joshua Tree forest. It is special because, over the mountains,behind the forest, lies Groom Lake, the fabled Area 51. I wonder what you’d see if you were a bug on one of the trees. The second image is of a rainstorm over the desert. It is raining in the distance as crepuscular rays cast their beams over the desert landscape. The third image is a rainbow over Death Valley. I’ve published a version of this image before but wasn’t happy with it. Now it’s back and will be one of the images featured in my show at ACAI Gallery and Studios beginning December 17. The fourth image is one of Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley. It too will be displayed in my show.
We are fortunate this year that El Niño gave us a respite from the drought; a good snow pack in the Sierra! I moved to northern California 4 ½ years ago. My wife told me many times that the ephemeral waterfalls, those that dry up and go away quickly, make Yosemite especially beautiful in early spring. But years of drought gave us little snow, leaving those falls dormant or very short lived. I never had a chance to experience them.
Last weekend, we took an overnight visit to Yosemite. My wife was right, everywhere I looked there was a waterfall that I had never seen before. Even Horsetail falls, the one that lights up like fire at sunset in February, was still running. The Merced River was running strongly. We hiked along the Merced River on the trail to the bridge at Vernal Falls.
At the juncture of Illouette Creek and the Merced River, the waters roiled over the cascades making whitewater that looked like a giant head of cauliflower and sounded like thunder. It was amazing.
Yet, as I traveled through Yosemite, another thought struck me. As humans, ephemeral describes things that come and go quickly; in the span of short periods within our lifetime. But, solid rock in places like Yosemite last for time frames impossible for humans to comprehend but do eventually wash away. To the earth is really ephemeral?
My wife, my mother and I decided to visit Daffodil Hill, a beautiful spring attraction in Amador County, CA. After the visit, we decided to wander some of the lesser traveled roads in rural El Dorado and Placer counties; an area where my wife spent a lot of time during her childhood. As we wandered, we crossed a small bridge spanning the North Fork of the Cosumnes River. The Cosumnes is a 52 mile long river starting as 3 forks in the Sierra Nevada, eventually merging with other rivers and flowing into the San Francisco Bay by way of the Sacramento/San Juaquin delta. We were somewhere along the North Fork near Somerset, CA. The recent rain and snow, brought on by the El Nino, has given us a brief respite from the years of drought. The river was flowing rapidly through this shallow gorge. The morning sun filtered through the forest, highlighting the bright spring green of life reawakening.
I hope you enjoy these 2 perspectives of this beautiful canyon.
I am not typically a bird photographer. When I do shoot birds, I try to take them in the context of their environment, trying to answer the questions: this is who I am and this is how I survive. Living in the Sacramento, CA area affords me the opportunity to shoot migrating winter birds but, I find I really like to go back to the usual suspects – herons, egrets, Canada geese and mallards, hawks. Learning about them, observing their behavior gives me a lot of pleasure.
The last week or so, I’ve had the added pleasure of trying out my new Fujinon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens and 1.4X Tele-converter. Its a great lens but its been more than a year since I shot with a long lens so, I made a few depth of field mistakes. Oh well, I guess I just need to go out and shoot more.
Anyway, here are a few images I shot. I hope you enjoy them.