A Spring Morning on the Cosumnes River

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.

These and other imageas are available to purchase on my website: http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

Regards,

Larry

 

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Pintail Duck

We are very lucky to be near the delta that flows into San Francisco Bay because it attracts many beautiful migrating birds in the winter. One of the birds that makes California’s Pacific Flyway their home is the Pintail Duck. I shot this image of a beautiful pintail Sunday morning, DEC 27, 2015.

Two Images from Washingtom

Last week, I was in Washington visiting my son and his family.  It was a great week capped off with a camping trip on the Puget Sound.  We camped at Sequim Bay, on the Olympic Peninsula, near the point where Puget Sound meets the Strait of Juan de Fuqua.  It was a beautiful weekend and lots of fun.  I took a few images and want to share 2 with you.

Sequim Bay, WA

A Sunrise on Sequim Bay, Sequim Bay, WA (Click Image to View Larger Copy)

The first is A Sunrise on Sequim Bay.  The sky was overcast on this early morning.  Fog shrouded the mountains to the north and west.  The water was smooth as glass except where gentle currents caused small ripples.  The only sign of life were the few gulls beginning their hunt for breakfast.  The sun found a few small breaks in the clouds which allowed it to highlight the sleeping vessels and parts of the shore.   A confluence of events that provided a moment of peace and tranquility.  Look at the image, close your eyes and imagine yourself there for a few minutes.  I hope it will brighten your busy day.

West Peak, Mt Olympus and Glacial Valleys, Hurricane Ridge National Park, WA

West Peak, Mt Olympus and Glacial Valleys, Hurricane Ridge National Park, WA (Click Image to View Larger Copy)

The second is West Peak, Mt Olympus and Glacial Valleys.  This image was shot near the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge National Park in the Cascade National Forest.  In this case, dramatic clouds obscured most of the sky.  Breaks in the clouds allowed bright sunlight to dapple sections of Mount Olympus and the surrounding peaks, highlighting the glaciers and valleys below.  I felt a longing while viewing this scene.  My spirit wanted to hike up to that mountain valley and camp by the stream.  I wanted to be near the base of the glacier; to see and touch the glacier before our changing climate devours it and drives it to extinction.

These images and others are available at my website: http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Regards,

Larry

A Quick, Unexpected Trip to Bodie

Aging & Rain: Rain falling on the decaying remains of the McDonald House, Bodie, CA.

Aging & Rain: Rain falling on the decaying remains of the McDonald House, Bodie, CA.   (Click to see larger image))

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Aging Door: Aging Door Highlighted by Rain. Cain residence, Bodie, CA.                                           (Click to see larger image)

The California drought has garnered a lot of attention and it is bad.  But, over the past few weeks, storms have driven some rain along the White-Inyo Mountains and the valleys east of the Sierra.   So, Donna and I wanted to get a rare glimpse of a green desert landscape in July.  Bodie did not disappoint.  The desert vegetation was a beautiful spring green.  The skies were overcast, covered with rain clouds.  We were treated to light hail, cold, light rain and a few claps of thunder.  I had hoped for some golden light to peer through breaks in the clouds, highlighting the landscape, but that did not materialize.  The rain dampened the wood, saturating the colors and highlighting details of the decaying structures.  Here are 2 examples.  I hope you enjoy them.

Regards,

Larry

These and other images can be seen and are available for sale at http://www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us

Shooting With My Phone

Rainbow Bridge, American River Parkway, Folsom, CA, JUN 2015 (Click to See Image Enlarged)

I regularly walk along various stretches of the American River Parkway trail system. It is a great place to get exercise and enjoy the beauty of an urban forest and riparian habitat. I rarely have my camera because, if I did, I’d never get exercise. But, I always have my phone.

On several of my blogs, I remind readers that it is the composition and lighting that make the image and not the camera. Especially with today’s smartphone cameras and their incredible software. But, I have a problem using my phone. I can’t hold it steady enough to lock in the composition and get the focus right. So, I invested in a walking stick/monopod/tripod by Manfroto and a bracket to hold my phone. Now, I can overcome my shakiness. I also carry a microfiber cloth to clean the lens – it can get grimy being carried around in purse, pocket or holster. Grimy lenses impact the clarity of the image.

I have the Samsung Galaxy S6 with its 16MP rear camera. It does a great job. You can use it as a point and shoot by using auto mode or you can put it in pro mode which allows you to manually control functions just like on a DSLR. I find manual selection of the focus point to be the most useful but wish it wasn’t tied to the auto exposure so I could control them separately.

The attached image was shot with my phone last week. I am very pleased with it. Enjoy and make the best of your photography.

Please share.

Regards,

Larry

Using the Light You are Given

Figure 1: Image with Warm Saturated Colors

Figure 1: Image with Warm Saturated Colors

Landscape photographers are taught that you should always try to shoot during the golden hours; roughly the 3 hours after sunrise and the three hours before sunset.  Indeed, the warm saturated colors make very dramatic and beautiful vistas.  But does that mean you pack away your camera the rest of the day?  Not really.   You can get great shots any time of day if you work with the compositional elements and lighting you have to craft a great composition.  It is the composition that makes the image.

I took the image in Figure 2 on a clear day, at mid-day, when the sun was high.  The composition is decent and interesting.  You can see some texture in the canyon and the canyon itself leads your eye

Figure 2: Image Taken Under Uninteresting Light

Figure 2: Image Taken Under Uninteresting Light

through the image.  So, it is a good image to show friends that have never been to Yosemite, what they would see; a travel photograph.  But it’s not a great image.   Contrast that with the image in Figure 3, taken from a similar perspective but with strong, dramatic lighting.  The difference is obvious.  Besides making the picture pop with color, the light leads your eye through the image to interesting features.  It provides shadows that add texture.  It makes the image much more interesting.

Figure 3: Image With Strong , Dramatic Light

Figure 3: Image With Strong , Dramatic Light

So, its obvious:  If you have great light, you can make better image.  But, what if you can’t just run off and chase the light? You have to work with what you have when you are there.

Look again at figure 3 to see the enhancements the light is providing.  It provides  color, texture and controls the movement of the eye through the image.   When you have light that is diffuse, you need to find other compositional elements to compensate for the missing light.

Figure 4: Image Taken Under Diffuse Light

Figure 4: Image Taken Under Diffuse Light

Look at Figure 4.  It was taken under cloudy skies, in the evening.    It is, to me, a very interesting image.  I like the composition.  While the light is not available to provide the interest, look at how the grass and leaves provide texture that contrasts with the granite and the stream.    The colors in the leaves add color that subtly pops the image.   Even without strong light, there are shadows and highlights.  The stream and the line of rocks lead the eye.

Figure 5 is an image taken under foggy conditions that also diffuse the light.  In this case there is some subtle early morning rim light highlighting the edges.  The color and texture in the reeds and bushes provide texture to offset the fog shrouded background and the stream.

Figure 5: Image Taken Under Low, Diffuse Light

Figure 5: Image Taken Under Low, Diffuse Light

The key is to look around; to see what is happening; to see what you can use; then craft your image from what you have.

Regards,

Larry

These and other images are available on my website: http://www.earthwatcher.us, or by contacting me at: larry@earthwatcher.us.

Golden Hued Yosemite

Warm Light Breaking Through Storm Clouds, Trail to Inspiration Point, Yosemite National Park, MAY 2015

Warm Light Breaking Through Storm Clouds, Trail to Inspiration Point, Yosemite National Park, MAY 2015

This past week, it rained and snowed in the Sierra.  Not nearly enough to have any real impact on our drought.  But, as evening comes and the storm breaks up, golden sunlight streams through the breaks in the clouds, dappling the mountainsides with gold hued color.  I took advantage of the weather conditions this week and visited Yosemite for a quick overnight trip.  My goal was to do some exploring and to study how light can add depth to an image.  I did some research and learned that sun would be setting in a line that would illuminate half dome, clouds rest and the canyons below.  A perfect setting for what I wanted to do.  To satisfy the explorer in my blood, I went off the beaten path to get different perspectives with Half Dome as my anchor.

Early Evening Light Breaking Through Rain Clouds Over Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, MAY 2015

Early Evening Light Breaking Through Rain Clouds Over Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, MAY 2015

I hiked the trail toward Inspiration Point looking for a different perspective from the traditional view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View. The trail is 2.6 miles, round trip, with a 1,000 foot elevation gain.  Aside from being steep, it is full of rocks, many of which are loose, and many tree roots.  It’s not for the casual walker.  But, for those that are willing to endure, the view of the valley, especially Bridalveil Falls, is spectacular.

I also hiked a small section of the Panorama Trail; the portion from Glacier Point to the top of Illilouette Falls and back.  This piece is 4 miles round trip with a 1,470 foot elevation change.  Fortunately, most of trail is very well groomed.

Morning Light Awakening Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley, the Valley of the Merced River, Panorama Trail near Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CA MAY 2015

Morning Light Awakening Half Dome and Little Yosemite Valley, the Valley of the Merced River, Panorama Trail near Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CA MAY 2015

This portion of the Panorama trail provides a perspective of Half Dome from the back leading down to Little Yosemite Valley and Vernal and Nevada Falls.  Illilouette falls is a 370’ waterfall that is quite beautiful as seen from the Mist Trail.  But, you really cannot see the fall itself from the portion of the trail that I hiked; perhaps crossing the bridge may lead you to a spot where the falls are visible.  There is one spot where you can see the top of falls through the trees and another spot where it may be more visible if you stand right on the cliff edge.  Though you cannot see the fall itself, there is a beautiful cascade where the trail bridge crosses the river.  That, in and of itself, is worth the effort to go there.

Nice weather, nice light, spectacular scenery.  It was a great time.  I hope you enjoy the images.

Regards,

Larry

Sharing Natures Beauty

These and other images are available for purchase from my website, http://www.earthwatcher.us, or by contacting larry@earthwatcher.us.