Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer: Blog https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog en-us (C) Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Sun, 05 Sep 2021 22:22:00 GMT Sun, 05 Sep 2021 22:22:00 GMT https://www.mwrphotos.com/img/s/v-12/u1047172425-o986191345-50.jpg Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer: Blog https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog 120 67 Bountiful Wild Flowers in Mountains; Southwest Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2021/9/monsoon-rains-bring-wild-flowers-mountainside-northern-arizona Sun Flowers Laced Mountain Road, Flagstaff AZSun Flowers Laced Mountain Road, Flagstaff AZMonsoon rains bring vibrant wild flowers to the mountain side in Northern, Arizona.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."  — Albert Einstein
 

Yesterday, it was so good to be back in nature. We made our way from arid Phoenix to the lush mountains north of Flagstaff, Arizona, for a day of hiking and landscape photography.  This time, we lucked out on our timing to find bountiful wild flowers in bloom, highlighting a rich green backdrop of vibrant plants. 

In the High Sonoran Desert areas like Phoenix, elevation 1,200 ft, we're graced by wild flowers just a few weeks in the early Spring, say in March to early April if not sooner.  Here in the Flagstaff area, elevation 7,200 feet, Summer Monsoon rains usher in dense wildflowers, which peak in August or early September.  Sun Flowers Mix, Flagstaff AZSun Flowers Mix, Flagstaff AZMonsoon rains bring vibrant wild flowers to the mountain side in Northern, Arizona.

 

Sun Flowers and Tree, Flagstaff AZSun Flowers and Tree, Flagstaff AZMonsoon rains bring vibrant wild flowers to the mountain side in Northern, Arizona. My approach to the wildflower photography was mostly one of waiting on the Sun, as broken clouds created dark shadows on parts of the landscape, while other areas remained in bright daylight.  The other challenge was the wind, which seems ever present along the mountainside.  Windy conditions required me to use high shutter speeds,  like 1/500th of second and faster, to "freeze" the flowers and plants in motion. This, in turn, required the use of high ISO levels, 500 to 800 ISO for most of my shots. 

 

All of that said, I've recommitted to visit this wonderful Northern Arizona mountain area more often in the year ahead; be it for wildflowers, autumn colors or a view of snow-capped San Francisco Peaks. This is a very special place, indeed, with such natural splendor in every season.  

Camera Gear:  Nikon Z7, Nikon 24 - 70 mm f/4.5 and Nikon 12 -24 mm f/2.8, Hoya polarizer filter and Gitzo Tripod. 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona desert environment exposure filter Flagstaff flowers foliage geology hike ISO landscape lens mountains natural nature outdoors photography plants polarizer road scenery seasons Sonoran tripod weather wild wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2021/9/monsoon-rains-bring-wild-flowers-mountainside-northern-arizona Sun, 05 Sep 2021 22:16:26 GMT
Nikon Z7 Mirrorless Full-Frame Camera: Autumn Field Test https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/10/nikon-z7-autumn-field-test Autumn Reflections, Paw Paw River, Michighan 3 BAutumn Reflections, Paw Paw River, Michighan 3 B

Amidst the recent flurry of Nikon full-frame mirrorless camera reviews, I am pleased to share my first photos from the Nikon Z7 and some non-technical first impressions.  My Z7 arrived last Thursday, on the eve of a quick trip family visit to Southwest Michigan. Thus, I had no time to create custom camera settings, nor did I think to bring a tripod for this family visit. So, the images shown here were shot with the camera hand held in RAW file format, using Nikon camera factory settings (apart from resetting the Color Space to “Adobe RGB”). 

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/160 sec; f/8; ISO 1250   Lone Autumn Leaf, Milham Park, Portage, MichighanLone Autumn Leaf, Milham Park, Portage, Michighan

Weather conditions during the first three days of the visit prompted a true test of the camera, as it was consistently rainy with dark cloud cover, low contrast lighting and windy as well.  Photos of the river and forests were all taken under these low light conditions.  The last day of our visit we were graced with broken cloud cover and filtered sunlight, allowing for a bit easier shooting of the pumpkin and flower shots.

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/20 sec, f/7.1; IOS 2000.   Autumn, Milham Park, Portage, Michigan 1Autumn, Milham Park, Portage, Michigan 1
 

The many features and specifications of the Nikon mirrorless full-frame cameras are too numerous to recount here in this posting. That said, my first impressions of the Nikon Z7 for nature and landscape field photography, outfitted with the Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 kit lens, are as follows:  Flower Power, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchiganFlower Power, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchigan

- Under extremely low lighting conditions, the built in vibration reduction (VR) and useable high ISO levels allowed me to shoot the camera in handheld mode at f/8 to f/11, capturing the river images with a fairly deep depth of field.  

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/60 sec; f/8; ISO 1250
 

The VR utilizes a five axis stabilization system, which is to achieve vibration reduction to a shutter speed up to approximately 5 stops.  The ISO range on this camera is 64 – 25,600, expandable to ISO 32 – 102,400. Pumpkins, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchigan revPumpkins, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchigan rev

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/100; f/5.6; ISO 200  

- While I was skeptical about using an electronic view finder (EVF) for landscape photography, I quickly made the adjustment to this new shooting mode.  The EVF on the Nikon Z7 displays a large (0.8x magnification), high resolution (3.6 million dot) image.   Closed for the Season, Milham Park, Portage, MichighanClosed for the Season, Milham Park, Portage, Michighan After just a few shots, I found this EVF to be a big help in composing scenic images under the low lighting conditions. In the bright viewfinder, I spotted distracting content “hidden” in the corners of images and I was also quick to recognize images requiring exposure adjustments.  White Squash Pumpkins, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchigan 3White Squash Pumpkins, 29th Street Farm Stand, Paw Paw, MIchigan 3

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/160 sec; f/13; ISO 800
 

- On first glance, the size of the Nikon Z7 was a bit larger than I had anticipated. That said, my impressions changed for the better when I set the Nikon Z7 next to my Nikon D850, which was outfitted with the Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens. As other reviewers have noted, the design and build quality of the Nikon Z7 are truly impressive. The body is remarkably rugged, using a weatherized design seemingly made of the same overall high quality materials deployed in the Nikon 800 series.  From my standpoint, with the Z7, Nikon has created a field capable camera with excellent ergonomics, including a deep handgrip and a perfectly sized protruding EVF eyepiece. 

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5, 1/50 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1250

- The Nikon Z7 body looks and feels like it is built to withstand the hardships of outdoor photo treks under extreme weather conditions, e.g., rain, snow, blowing sand, etc. The scaled down body and lenses should work well with fanny pack type camera bags, which will be ideal for the long day hikes we often undertake for our Southwest landscape photography. 

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4.5,  1/320 sec; f/11; ISO 200
 

- As expected, the image quality of the Nikon Z7 is superb. It employs the same size 45.7 MP CMOS full-frame sensor as that used in the Nikon D850, but the sensor has 493 phase-detect autofocus points.
The camera is  supported by a next generation image processing engine, the Nikon Expeed 6 ISP.  Some 90% of the image area is covered with focus points.

- The only downside of the camera which I have noted to date involves the virtual horizon display, which I use regularly to make certain that the camera is level and squarely upright for landscape and architectural photography.  This is especially important when setting up a shot with a tilt-shift lens (e.g., Nikkor PC-E 24 mm f/3.5 ED Tilt Shift Lens). The Z7 will display a  graphic circle depicting the virtual horizon on demand in the EVF display. However, the non-transparent circle is situated in the center of the viewfinder, where it largely obstructs the center of the image.  The display of virtual horizon information on the D850 is far superior, wherein small indicators on the bottom and side of the view finder do not distract from the image.    I am wondering if there is possibly another display option for the virtual horizon and/or if the D850 type display format might be offered in a Nikon firmware update for the Z7. 

The lens adapter for the Nikon Z7 – The Nikon FTZ Mount Adapter – was backordered at the time of our Michigan trip and just arrived a few days ago. I am anxious to try out my other Nikon F-mount lenses with the Z7.

While this posting is by no means an exhaustive review, my first impressions of the Nikon Z7 are very favorable. The scaled down body size of the Z7 will make it a natural favorite for photography treks involving long hikes, as well as family and travel photography. I’ll have an opportunity to more fully field test the Z7 during upcoming trips to Monument Valley, Arches National Park and Death Valley,  and will share these results along the way.     MWR


 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) adapter autumn exposure farm filter foliage hike horizon ISO landscape lens lighting Michigan mirrorless mirrorless full-frame Nikkor Nikon Nikon Z7 photography pond pumpkin review river settings stream test travel tripod weatherized Z https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/10/nikon-z7-autumn-field-test Sun, 14 Oct 2018 19:27:29 GMT
Monsoon Rains Bring Wild Flowers: Arizona Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/9/monsoon-rains-usher-in-arizona-wild-flowers-landscape-photography Sunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 3BSunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 3B

Pointing to the North, the park ranger at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument explained, “You’re a bit early. In a couple of weeks, that mountainside will be covered with sunflowers.” How correct he was, as timing is everything when it comes to Northern Arizona wild flower photography.

Sunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 1Sunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 1

Aspen Grove at Lockett Meadow, San Francisco Peaks Flagstaff, Arizona 3Aspen Grove at Lockett Meadow, San Francisco Peaks Flagstaff, Arizona 3

Sunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 2 copySunflowers, Flagstaff, Arizona 2 copy

Here, in August, summer monsoon rains usher in vibrant wildflowers. Early in the season, sunflower fields are sparse and small.  Just a few weeks later, large yellow flower petals are often tattered and discolored due to heavy winds and daily thunder storms – some storms bringing a heavy dose of hail.  The challenge, then, is finding that brief, special time laden with large expanses of full-sized flowers, all in “picture perfect” condition. No such luck for us on this visit, but we are contemplating a return visit in September.

That said, driving away from the Sunset Crater visitor center  (15 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona on U.S. Highway 89A), we were graced with a small, but rich stretch of wild flowers. Here, by sheer luck, our timing was good, with an impending thunder storm in the works. Dense gray clouds provided diffused overhead lighting, with the dark backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks mountains. What a glorious way to start the day ….

Our next stop was nearby Lockett Meadow, the trailhead for the Inner Basin Trail at San Francisco Peaks, elevation 8,600 – 10,500 feet.  At this high elevation, we found a few small white geranium flowers amidst lush green ferns and thick grasses.  I spent a couple of hours in an aspen grove at Lockett Meadow, photographing this intricate forest carpet punctuated by majestic trees.

In the wooded area, a bit of intermittent light rain only heightened the sense of serenity,  adding another dimension to a rich visual experience.  I only wish that a still photograph could truly capture the tranquility and splendor of a day like this – of time so well spent in nature. 

Technical information for fellow photographers: The images shown here were captured with a Nikon D850, using a Nikon 24 mm f/3.5 ED tilt shift lens with a Hoya circular polarizer. While I’m still trying to master the movements of the tilt shift lens – and there is quite a learning curve - it proved helpful in three ways: 

- Shifting the lens downward a bit allowed for a close to the ground view of the flowers, with no vertical distortion of the trees or mountains in the distant horizon. Likewise for the photos in the forest, where the aspens appear to stand “straight up” due to the lens perspective control; 

-  “Tilting” of the lens (downward about 6 degrees) redefined the plane of focus, creating a large depth of field (from 2 or 3 feet from the camera to the distant horizon) – the "Scheimpflug principle;" and, 

- Given the change in the plane of focus, I was able to maintain a large depth of field while shooting with wide open and midsize aperture settings. The wide open aperture settings were a big help, given the windy conditions. This way, I could set a fast shutter speed to “freeze” the movement of the blowing flowers and grasses. Still, it was necessary to set the camera at ISO 640 to freeze movement in the photos shown here.

All the best to everyone, as we plan for one more shot at the wild flowers and then an Autumn colors trip.

Related links:  Northern Arizona Sunflowers: Photography on a Windy Hillside, AAA Highroads Names Sunflower Graced Mountain a Judge's Favorite, Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road, Arizona, Autumn Aspens Reflections, Arizona Fall Colors: Mountain Landscape Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona clouds crater exposure fern Flagstaff flower forest hike landscape lens national park nature Nikon outdoors park perspective control photography plane of focus rain ranger storm sunset thunder tilt shift lens trail weather https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/9/monsoon-rains-usher-in-arizona-wild-flowers-landscape-photography Mon, 03 Sep 2018 19:23:00 GMT
Emergence: Images from Death Valley - On Exhibits Without Walls https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/7/emergence-images-from-death-valley---on-exhibits-without-walls Minimalistic abstract patterns of nature, shaped by endless winds and rains at the Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California.Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

 

I am honored to present a solo show on Exhibits Without Walls:  "Emergence: Images from Death Valley,"  This show celebrates the splendor of a stark, yet enchanting desert landscape and the intricate patterns of nature under changing light.  

I am particularly captivated by Death Valley National Park's vast sand dunes - an icon of the American Southwest. Traversing the dunes elicits a sense of wonderment, gazing upon sand formations continuously sculpted by the forces of nature. This series explores the intricate patterns of nature, particularly the transient visuals which silently emerge at dawn only to swiftly vanish under full daylight.

Warm sunlight and long shadows create abstract images at the Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park, California.Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California This past February, we had the opportunity for a longer visit to Death Valley. This proved to be one of our best photo treks in terms of weather, natural lighting and logistics. Photos from this trip will be posted shortly. 

My sincere thanks go to the park rangers and environmentalists who work so hard to preserve the natural state of Death Valley and our treasured lands.

Thanks also to Mr. Ed Wedman, co-founder of Exhibitions Without Walls, for this unique opportunity.  

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) abstract California collection dunes environment exhibit exposure geology hike landscape light natural nature park pattern photography sand shadow show solo valley https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2018/7/emergence-images-from-death-valley---on-exhibits-without-walls Sat, 14 Jul 2018 23:18:55 GMT
Exhibits Without Walls Interviews Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2017/12/exhibits-without-walls-interviews-marcus-w-reinkensmeyer Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 7.06.41 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-30 at 7.06.41 AM

 

Dear Family and Friends: I am pleased to share my recent interview on landscape photography posted by Exhibitions Without Walls:  "The Transient Quality of Light." 

My sincere thanks to the very thoughtful interviewer, Mr. Ed Wedman, co-founder of Exhibitions Without Walls, an international organization promoting professional growth opportunities for photographers and digital artists. Fellow photographers and artists will find this site to be a valuable resource and a source of inspiration.  

I am also grateful for the adroit assistance of Ohio based fine arts photographer and writer, Dr. Eric Hatch, for this referral and his ongoing support of my work. 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Related postings:  Lens and Landscape Interview with Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer, Oregon Coastal Photography: Natural Light Diffusers, Grand Canyon Afterglow and Havasu Falls: The Color of Blue. 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) art artist camera commentary environment environmental exhibit exhibition fine art gallery graphic hiking interview landscape light marketing medium nature photographer photography presentation scenic style technique travel visual https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2017/12/exhibits-without-walls-interviews-marcus-w-reinkensmeyer Sat, 30 Dec 2017 14:41:09 GMT
Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 4, Natural Light Filters https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2017/1/oregon-coastal-photography-part-4-natural-light-filters Mirror,  Bandon Beach,  Oregon 7 panoMirror, Bandon Beach, Oregon 7 pano

Given the dramatic winter skies on the Oregon coast, the quality of the light and color defy description. Within a few minutes, the coastline transitions from a dull blue-gray to a rich warm color palette.  Fog, rain drizzle and clouds create a natural ever shifting light filter. A small clearing in the clouds can make for dramatic light beams, radiant color bursts in the surrounding sky and remarkable clarity in highlighted beach areas.

Dawn Bandon Beach Oregon 3 panoDawn Bandon Beach Oregon 3 pano My most challenging and rewarding photo shoot was our final morning at Bandon Beach.  While the detailed weather forecast called for clear skies, it rained steadily from 6:30 AM until about 8:30 AM.   While it was still raining, portions of the sky cleared, revealing a glorious sky aglow in subtle pastel colors.  Low Tide, Glow Bandon, BeachLow Tide, Glow Bandon, Beach

Dawn,  Bandon Beach,  Oregon 2Dawn, Bandon Beach, Oregon 2 My impressions, as I frantically unpacked my camera gear from the plastic covered backpack:  Iconic Face Rock and portions of the distant horizon are awash in a heavenly pink glow.  At the same time, the sky backdrop for the closer sea stack rock formations is a surreal mix of vivid pink, gold and muted purple colors.  This all lasts about 15 or 20 minutes, before yielding to more direct eastern sunlight piercing through the thick clouds cover.  Aglow  Cannon Beach OregonAglow Cannon Beach Oregon

While I stayed around about another hour photographing tide pools and boulders in bright light, my real work as a photographer occurred in that brief period of special, ethereal morning illumination.  

If only we could replicate or stop time in these special moments. Well, we do so, in part, through our rich memories of a glorious time in nature and two dimensional photographic representations.    

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

 

Related Posts:  Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary, Oregon Coast Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold, Oregon Coast Photography:  Part 3 – Oregon Dunes,   Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Pacific beach burst chroma clouds color elements environment exposure filter fog illumination landscape lens light mist natural nature ocean palette pastel photography rays scene scenery scenic sea stacks sun surf time exposure wash water weather https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2017/1/oregon-coastal-photography-part-4-natural-light-filters Sat, 14 Jan 2017 19:19:05 GMT
Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 3 - Oregon Dunes https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/12/oregon-coastal-photography-part-3---oregon-dunes Oasis,  Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area,  John Dellenback Dunes Trail,  4 pano, OregonOasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, John Dellenback Dunes Trail, 4 pano, Oregon Our brief morning visit to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area was both exhilarating and frustrating. Looking back on that morning, our first challenge was a self -imposed time limit of one hour on the dunes.  This crazy time crunch was necessitated by our overly ambitious schedule, including the five hour drive north to Cannon Beach that same day. 

Oasis,  Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area,  John Dellenback Dunes Trail, 3, OregonOasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, John Dellenback Dunes Trail, 3, Oregon

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area John Dellenback Dunes Trail 3Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area John Dellenback Dunes Trail 3

 

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area,  John Dellenback Dunes Trail 2, OregonOregon Dunes National Recreation Area, John Dellenback Dunes Trail 2, Oregon Oasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area,  John Dellenback Dunes Trail 1, OregonOasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, John Dellenback Dunes Trail 1, Oregon Also, on the dunes, we encountered a single set of fresh footprints which seemingly traversed every interesting crevice or ridge line in our line of sight.  I still wonder whether we were following in the steps of another photographer, one leaving no discernable tripod marks in the sand. 

That said, we worked around the foot prints and I was delighted to come upon a small reflecting pool in a low lying area of the dunes.  This "oasis" provided a focal point and some smaller scale photo opportunities.  

While the dunes are pristine, they are not as high or dramatic as those in Death Valley or White Sands National Parks. Yet, the complex dune ripples and textures provided a rich array of subject matter for abstract photography in the early morning light. 

Covering an expanse of nearly 50 miles, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area extends along the Oregon coast from Florence to Coos Bay.  The area is readily accessible from Highway 1, offering camping areas, hiking trails and some designated areas for motorized vehicles. 

We accessed the dunes from the John Dollenback Dunes trailhead, near the Eel Creek Campground, just off Highway 101.

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

 

Related Posts:  Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary, Oregon Coast Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold, Black and White Digital Photography: A Peaceful SurrenderShutterbug Features Reinkensmeyer's "Ripples,"  New Mexico Landscape Photography, White Sands Dunes Formations, Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California.

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Oregon coast geology hike landscape light morning oasis park patterns photography polarizer ripples sand time exposure tracks trail water https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/12/oregon-coastal-photography-part-3---oregon-dunes Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:45:31 GMT
Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/10/oregon-coastal-photography-part-2---weather-to-behold Mirror, Bandon Beach,  Oregon 5bMirror, Bandon Beach, Oregon 5b

Initially, faced with heavy winter rains and sleet, we thought it best to wait for the weather "to clear" for our Oregon coast photo shoots.  Our thinking quickly evolved, however, given the rapid weather changes and resulting photo opportunities at Bandon Beach, Oregon.

Triad,  Bandon Beach,  OregonTriad, Bandon Beach, Oregon Here, beyond the challenge of shoot timing, ever changing skies create a sense of drama and strong visual elements.  In many ways, weather conditions are the essence of compelling Pacific coast images. 

Storm Afterglow Cannon Beach OregonStorm Afterglow Cannon Beach Oregon Our first morning at Bandon Beach, we were graced with thick fog, pelting rain and fleeting sunlight.  That evening, our quiet light painting session on the beach was abruptly interrupted by fierce winds and hail. The next day offered the same erratic mix, with a sudden afternoon warm-up and the need for sunglasses.  Late afternoon ushered in dark foreboding dark skies, but no actual precipitation.  

Turbulant Sunset  Bandon Beach OregonTurbulant Sunset Bandon Beach Oregon

In some of our favorite scenes, thick cloud and fog serves as an ever shifting light filter.  The resulting diffused sunlight is at times ethereal, casting a soft shadowless illumination over the scene.  This scenario is similar to that of pre-dawn illumination, providing an even, low contrast light from the foreground to the distant horizon.  As such, I generally found it unnecessary to use graduated neutral density filters in the field. 

Swirl Bandon Beach Oregon 1Swirl Bandon Beach Oregon 1

Being from Phoenix, I still marvel at the mercurial nature of Oregon winter weather and the coastal ecosystem as a whole. Properly equipped, we have made peace with the Oregon winter climate, giving us all the more time for exploration under most any conditions.  

After getting soaked a few times, we learned to have our rain gear (REI jackets and pants) with us at all times. Other items which proved helpful included camera rain sleeves, deep lens hoods, extra lens cloths, North Face e-tip gloves for our phone touch screens, water shoes with NRS Hydroskin socks and plastic covers for our camera backpacks.

Three Apple i-phone apps were also a big help in navigating the weather, lighting and tidal cycles: Dark Skies, The Photographer's Ephemeris and Tide Chart. 

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Related Posts: Oregon Coast Photography: Part 1 – Itinerary,  Oregon Coastal Photograph: Part 3: Oregon DunesNew Mexico Landscape Photography Part 1,  White Sands Dune Trek,   Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California.   

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Oregon Pacific apps clouds elements exposure filter flow fog gear geology i-phone landscape lens mist ocean photography sand sea sleet strorm surf tidal tide tripod wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/10/oregon-coastal-photography-part-2---weather-to-behold Sun, 02 Oct 2016 14:56:36 GMT
The Wave: Capture My Arizona Editors' Choice https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/8/the-wave-capture-my-arizona-editors-choice The Wave, a wondrous geologic formation at Paria Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona and Utah border.Exhumed Sand Dunes, The WaveExhumed sand dunes in an other worldly geological wonderland. The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Vermilion Cliffs.

My sincere thanks to Capture My Arizona for the Editors' Choice Award, Arizona Scenic Shots Contest. This image of the iconic Wave is from one of my favorite places on the Earth: North Coyote Buttes at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument - Paria Plateau Wilderness Area. Situated on the Arizona-Utah border, this remote area is a true geological wonderland. 

< Nikon D70 f/22 @ 18 mm, 1/15 secs 

We've made several trips to this location, most recently to South Coyote Buttes (Cottonwood Cove) and Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah, this past February.  Friends and I have been so moved by the area that we created a self-published book, Windswept Landscape: Images from the Arizona-Utah Border.  

My sincere thanks to fellow travelers Tom Gendron and Steve Stilwell for this book collaboration and such memorable times at Vermilion Cliffs.   

Thanks also to friends and supporters at Capture My Arizona.  

Related posts:  The Wave: Landscape Photography in a Geological Wonderland, Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah - Antelope Canyon, White Pocket Landscape Photography: Weather on the Plateau and Grand Staircase - Escalante Photography Trek: Itinerary.  

Marcus Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Navajo Sandstone buttes context exposure geology hike landmarks landscape mountains national monument, photography rock sand sandstone https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/8/the-wave-capture-my-arizona-editors-choice Sun, 07 Aug 2016 21:20:54 GMT
Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 1, Itinerary https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/7/oregon-coastal-photography-part-1-itinerary First Light Bandon Beach Oregon, 1 cropFirst Light Bandon Beach Oregon, 1 crop "There's something about the Pacific Northwest, the scale of it, and the fact that not so long ago people came here and died getting here, and then died the first winter they were here. There's this breathtaking beauty, just a little bit of moss on the tree, just this little thread of danger, and the sinister. And I really like that." -  Chelsea Cain

Passageway,  Bandon Beach,  Oregon 2Passageway, Bandon Beach, Oregon 2

 

Returning from a four day photography trek on the Oregon coast, I feel like such an ingrate.

Oasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area,  John Dellenback Dunes Trail, Oregon,  2 panoOasis, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, John Dellenback Dunes Trail, Oregon, 2 pano Barring disc failure or other technical problems, I'm confident that we have a solid crop of coastal images and a few real "keepers."  At the same time, I'm struck by the realization that we only scratched the surface in our whirlwind trip centered at iconic Bandon Beach (Bandon State Natural Area).  In fact, I now realize one could spend a lifetime hiking and exploring photo opportunities in this scenic stretch of the Pacific Coast.

 

In this five part series, we'll share our travel itinerary, some field notes and favorite images.  Our itinerary is by no means the recommended way to photograph the coast, but rather a possible place to start for some longer and better considered trip planning: 

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon,  Dusk 1Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, Dusk 1

Day 1: Fly from Phoenix to Portland and drive to Bandon Beach- the two hours in dense fog. 

Days 2 and 3: Bandon Beach

Day 4:  Port Orford, Cape Blanco and Bandon Beach

Day 5:  Oregon Dunes, Devil's Punch Bowl and Cannon Beach

Day 6: Drive from Cannon Beach to Portland and return flight to Phoenix

We gracefully acknowledge The Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast, an invaluable book by David Middleton and Rod Barbee.   

Our next postings will share more photos and notes on the ever changing Oregon weather, the Oregon Dunes, a celebration of color and some monochromatic images.

Special thanks to my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer; my son, David,  and his friend, Ashley, for their wonderful company and support throughout the trip.  

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

Related postings: Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 2 - Weather to Behold,  Oregon Coastal Photography: Part 3 - Oregon Dunes,  Coastal Photography:  Point Reyes National Seashore, California; Landscape Photography Podcast; Impending Coastal Storm:  California Landscape Photography, Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography and Natural Coastline Shift.

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Oregon Pacific beach coast exposure filter fog formation geology hike itinerary landscape lens mist photography polarizer sand sea stack sunset surf time exposure travel tripod water weather https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/7/oregon-coastal-photography-part-1-itinerary Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:11:57 GMT
AAA Highroads Names Sunflower Graced Mountain a Judges' Favorite https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/6/aaa-highroads-names-sunflower-graced-mountain-a-judges-favorite Flagstaff Sun Flowers 5Flagstaff Sun Flowers 5 Our photo, Sunflower Graced Mountain Road,  has been named as a Judges' Favorite in the AAA Highroads Arizona Wild Flowers photography contest. 

Flagstaff Sun Flowers In MotionFlagstaff Sun Flowers In Motion One of my  colleagues and a fellow photographer was kind enough to tell me about this scenic area just North of Wupakti Look Road, near Flagstaff, Arizona.  This road leads to Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument, a unique geological wonderland of volcanic cinder fields.  We were delighted to hike this scenic hillside in the aftermath of heavy monsoon rains, which support vibrant plant life in Northern Arizona mountains.   Windwept Sun FlowersWindwept Sun Flowers

Our visit to this site is memorable, not only due to the abundant Sunflowers, but also given the extremely windy conditions on that day. During most of our hike, it was not possible to photograph detailed landscape scene having an extended depth of field, at least not without moving to unacceptably high ISO camera settings, e.g., 1,600 and above.  

Flagstaff Sunflowers and GreeneryFlagstaff Sunflowers and Greenery

After fighting the wind and these technical limitations for some time, I decided to photography a series of time exposures depicting the raw energy of sunflowers in motion. For more information on the time exposures and  wildlife photography, see Photography on a Windy Hillside

AAA Highroads Recognizes Sunflower Laced MountainsideAAA Highroads Recognizes Sunflower Laced MountainsideSunflower Laced Mountain Side has been named as an Editors' favorite for the publication, AAA Highroads. Flagstaff, Arizona.

My sincere thanks to the contest judges at AAA Highroads for their recognition of my wild flower photography.  

 

Related posts:  Autumn Color: Hart Prairie Road, Arizona Fall Colors and Natural Coastline Shift.  

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) AAA Highroads cinders contest crater editor exposure floral flower hike hill judges landscape lens monsoon mountain peaks photography rains sunflower time exposure trail volcano yellow https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/6/aaa-highroads-names-sunflower-graced-mountain-a-judges-favorite Sun, 26 Jun 2016 17:31:59 GMT
"Nature’s Grand Design": Composer Annea Lockwood's Album Cover https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/4/-nature-s-grand-design-annea-lockwood-album-cover CD CoverCD Cover Today, I’m honored to have one of my photos used as artwork on New Zealand born Composer Annea Lockwood’s Ground of Being CD album cover.  An Emeritus Professor at Vassar University, Ms. Lockwood creates music from sounds in nature – wind, water and rocks - and “found instruments.” 

 

Her expansive body of work explores unique acoustic and electronic instrument sounds in natural settings.  The album is available at http://www.recitalprogram.com/ground-of-being/. Nature's Grand Design, The Wave,  North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah BorderNature's Grand Design, The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border“Nature’s Grand Design”: Dramatic swirl patterns in Navajo Sandstone formation, laced with mineral deposits, at the other worldly “Wave,” North Coyote Buttes, Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Arizona-Utah Border. Equipment: Nikon D70 camera, AF-S Nikkor 18 - 70 mm 3.5-4.5G ED lens, B&W Polarizer Filter, Gitzo G1325 tripod, Manfrotto 486 RC2 ball head. Exposure: f/25 at 1/3 sec.

 

The featured photo, Nature’s Grand Design, is apropos for sounds in nature, showing a cross section of striated Navajo Sandstone at the iconic Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Arizona-Utah Border.   This same image was featured in Capture My Arizona’s 2013 calendar.  The Wave, a wondrous geologic formation at Paria Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona and Utah border.Exhumed Sand Dunes, The WaveExhumed sand dunes in an other worldly geological wonderland. The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Vermilion Cliffs.

 

For more information on the unique geology of the Wave and nearby areas, see:  The Wave: Landscape Photography in a Geological Wonderland; White Pocket Landscape Photography: Weather on the Plateau; Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah – Lake Powell

 

< Nature's Grand Design, Striated Navajo Sandstone, Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, Nikon D70 0.3s at f/25

My thanks to Producer Sean McCann (Recital Records) and Ms. Lockwood for the opportunity to be part of such a creative, far reaching project.

 

< The Wave, Nikon D70, 1/15 at f/22

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer  

www.mwrphotos.com

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Navajo album art cd cover design impression instrument landscape music natural nature photography rock sand sandstone sound stone swirl trail wave https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/4/-nature-s-grand-design-annea-lockwood-album-cover Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:17:22 GMT
Landscape Photography Podcast: Marcus Reinkensmeyer Interview https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/3/landscape-photography-podcast-marcus-reinkensmeyer-interview Misty Morning Surf, Beach Near Lahaina, HawaiiMisty Morning Surf, Beach Near Lahaina, HawaiiBeaches Near Lahaina 005.NEF Another first for your's truly: I've just been been interviewed for a podcast on landscape photography. This is the third podcast in a new series from Lens and Landscape. Earlier podcasts have addressed astrophotography and various facets of nature photography.  Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 5.27.41 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-24 at 5.27.41 PM

My interview delves into favorite shooting and hiking locations like White Sands National Park, Vermilion Cliffs (Arizona-Utah border) and the Oregon coast; getting your images published; composition; and pre-visualization.  

 

- Misty Morning Surf, Maui, Hawaii

 

My sincere thanks to Fred Weymouth, the founder of Lens and Landscape and an avid photographer based in Tucson, Arizona. Fred tells me that many other podcasts are in the works, addressing a wide array of photography trends and techniques.  

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer 

www.mwrphotos.com 

Related posts:  Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii;  New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 1: White Sands Dunes to Carlsbad CavernsGrand Staircase - Escalante Photography Part 2: Zebra Canyon & Red Breaks; and The Wave: Landscape Photography in a Geological Wonderland.  

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) GPS advertising composition exhibit exposure landscape lens locations market marketing navigation photography plates podcast prints publications publish sales show trail visualization web website https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/3/landscape-photography-podcast-marcus-reinkensmeyer-interview Sat, 12 Mar 2016 13:35:28 GMT
People's Choice Apparel Features Reinkensmeyer Photo Sweatshirts https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/2/peoples-choice-apparel-features-reinkensmeyer-photo-sweatshirts  

Sweatshirts featuring Reinkensmeyer Photography, People's Choice ApparelSweatshirts featuring Reinkensmeyer Photography, People's Choice ApparelSweatshirts, shirts, blouses and phone cases available at PCA,
www.peopleschoiceapparel.com/marcus-reinkensmeyer.html.

 

We’re pleased to present a new line of sweatshirts from People’s Choice Apparel (PCA), featuring some of our favorite photographs. The full collection of my photo shirts can be found at:   http://www.peopleschoiceapparel.com/marcus-reinkensmeyer.html. 

 

Snow Laced Cathedral RockSnow Laced Cathedral Rock

As a part-time landscape photographer, I‘ve never had the time or the expertise needed to actively market my images outside of traditional publication channels such as magazines, calendars and prints.  The folks at People’s Choice Apparel have opened up a whole new world of possibilities, as they are now my work on offering phone cases as well as various styles of shirts.

 

Located in Los Angeles, this family owned business produces tasteful, high quality customized merchandise at reasonable prices.  I’m grateful to work with the PCA team, given their strong sense of design and deep commitment to customer service.

Cannon Beach, OregonCannon Beach, OregonThese photos hold special meaning for my wife Anita and me, as they were taken on our Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary celebration trip. A dramatic sunset at Cannon Beach proved to a great a way to spend the evening, after a day of exploring nearby beach towns. Although the waves were not large, there was ample water to temporarily create a mirror-like surface on the expansive stretch of wet sand. I was thrilled to capture some remarkably vivid reflections in this transient water mirror, with sea stack rock silhouettes as a backdrop. I shot a lot of photographs that evening, using all three of my lenses from various vantage points. This image is a favorite, due to the clarity of the water reflections and the warm evening light on an otherwise chilly day along the Oregon coast.

A Lee .6 graduated neutral density filter was used to darken the sky, balancing the brightness of the sky with that of the beach foreground. A B+W polarizer filter was used to eliminate glare from surfaces of the water and sand. Nikon D200 camera, Nikkor lenses and a Gitzo G 2220 tripod with a Manfrotto 486 head.

 

- The Havasu Falls shows the cascading waters and pools at the foot of this iconic waterfall, located in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon.  Everyone asks about the blue waters, which may look “fake” unless you visited in the falls in person. The crystal clear waters really do appear to be a lovely blue-green color, as the rock and sand in this area is made of a crisp white Bicarbonate mineral.  A great hiking area, with other water falls down stream leading to the Colorado River.  Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon,  ArizonaHavasu Falls, Grand Canyon, ArizonaHavasupai: People of the blue-green waters

- With the low tide at Cannon Beach, Oregon, tidal pools made for wonderful reflections and abstract patterns in the sand.  At sundown, what a great way to end an perfect day, with the ever changing weather so typical of the Pacific Coast.  This shoot always holds special memories, as I brought my lovely to for the weekend, celebrating our 30th Anniversary. 

- The image Cathedral Rock was taken on New Year’s Day, when the iconic Sedona red rock was blanketed in snow and ice.  We lucked out on that day, as we were actually heading up to Flagstaff, Arizona, but decided to make “a quick stop” in Sedona. 

 

My sincere thanks to People’s Choice Apparel for the opportunity to present my photography and to all of you for your continuing support. 

 

Related posts: Snow Laced Sedona,  Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah – Part 2 Havasupai Falls; Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California; Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography.

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) adventure clothes design hike landscape nature outdoors photography shirts sweatshirts trail https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2016/2/peoples-choice-apparel-features-reinkensmeyer-photo-sweatshirts Sat, 13 Feb 2016 21:24:38 GMT
Coastal Photography: Point Reyes National Seashore, California https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/10/coast-photography-point-reyes-national-seashore-california   Drake's Beach at Point Reyes, CaliforniaDrake's Beach at Point Reyes, California I was happy anywhere I could see the ocean.”  Ai Yazawa, Japanese Author

Point Reyes Drake's Beach Golden Hour 2 panoPoint Reyes Drake's Beach Golden Hour 2 pano

 

Driving about an hour north from bustling San Francisco, we’re transported to largely uninhabited Point Reyes National Seashore. Here, at Point Reyes Peninsula, dramatic shoreline cliffs converge with crashing ocean waves.

< Drake's Beach, Evening Reflection, Nikon D800E 1/60 at f/16, ISO 250 

Point Reyes Limantour Beach GrassPoint Reyes Limantour Beach Grass

Located on the San Andreas earthquake fault line, the 71,000 acre national nature preserve is home to countless wildlife species, marine ecosystems and the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Point Reyes Kehoe Beach River to SeaPoint Reyes Kehoe Beach River to Sea

< Drake's Beach Golden Hour, Nikon D800E 1/15 at f/20, ISO 250

With photo opportunities galore, our first challenge was determining where to start and how to spend our limited time in this vast scenic park.  Intially, we visited the lighthouse and each of the beach areas.  With the exception of readily accessible Drake’s Beach, hiking was required to access the shoreline areas.  Thus, we saw few other people along the highly photogenic shoreline - a huge expanse of sandy beaches separated by steep, impassible cliffs.    Point Reyes Tomales Point CliffsPoint Reyes Tomales Point Cliffs

< Limantour Beach at Dawn, Nikon D800E, 1/50 at f/18, ISO 400

Roint Reyes Tomales Bay Sunrise 1 panoramicRoint Reyes Tomales Bay Sunrise 1 panoramic This being a January trip, we encountered fierce winds and bitter cold on our ridgeline hikes and a quick visit to the lighthouse. Our most tasking hike was on the exposed Tomales Point Trail, flanked by the ocean on one side and Tomales Bay on the other.  We had the peninsula pretty much to ourselves, encountering only one other hiking party and herds of Tule Elk during this six hour trek.

 

About three miles into the Tamales Point hike, we were rewarded with a truly spectacular view of the rugged coastline.  We made a mental note of our vista point, opting to shoot the scene on our return hike in the late afternoon light under less windy conditions. On our return hike, we were blessed with wonderful lighting, but no break in the wind.

< Kehoe Beach, River to Sea, Nikon D800E 1/20 at f/18, ISO 160

Our Bear Valley Trail hike to Mt. Wittenberg (1,407 feet) was also quite a challenge, given gusting winds and cold spitting rain. We started on this venture too late in the afternoon, making for a rushed hike and little time for serious photography. Still, the sights from the Bear Valley summit trail remain vivid in my mind’s eye, drawing me back for a return visit to Point Reyes.

 

A special thanks to my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer, for his great company on yet another unforgettable photo trek.   We’re both grateful for times like these, out in nature with cameras in hand. 

< Tamales Point Trail View, Nikon D800E, 1/160 at f/16, ISO 320 

Related posts:  Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography; Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; and Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography

< Tomales Bay, First Light, Nikon D800E 

1/25 at f/22, ISO 500

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) California bay cliff coast coastal ecological ecosystem elk exposure geology golden hike landscape lens marine mountain park photography preserve reserve ridge rocks sand seabirds shore shoreline stones storm sundown sunrise sunset trail wind winter https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/10/coast-photography-point-reyes-national-seashore-california Sat, 17 Oct 2015 17:43:58 GMT
Reinkensmeyer Photography Exhibit at the State Bar https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/10/reinkensmeyer-photography-exhibit-at-state-bar State Bar Exhibit 1State Bar Exhibit 1Our Arizona landscape photography exhibit at the State Bar, Flagstaff, Arizona.

October and November, 2015
If you’re in the Flagstaff area, please stop by and see our Arizona landscape photography exhibit at the State Bar. The show includes 24 color prints on aluminum plates, exploring scenic areas from the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Monument Valley, the Superstition Mountains, San Francisco Peaks, Vermilion Cliffs, and San Rafael Valley.

State Bar Exhibit 3State Bar Exhibit 3Our Arizona landscape photography on display at the State Bar in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
October and November, 2015

Located in the building which formerly housed the Shane Knight Gallery, the State Bar features live music and a wide array of Arizona wines and beers.  The whole setting was delightful on our opening this past Friday, the same evening as the Flagstaff Art Walk.

State Bar Exhibit 2 copyState Bar Exhibit 2 copyOur Arizona landscape photography on display at the State Bar in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
October and November, 2015

My sincere thanks to the State Bar owner, Attorney Brian Webb, and manager, Eva Rupert, for the opportunity to display our photography at this unique Northern Arizona venue.  These folks are great supporters of the arts and we genuinely appreciate their collaborative approach.  

State Bar SignState Bar SignDisplaying our Arizona landscape photography at the rustic State Bar, Flagstaff, Arizona

A special thanks to my lovely wife, Anita, for her tireless work in planning and hanging the exhibit, and to our family for their strong support … as always.  

The exhibit runs during the months of October and November, 2015, at the State Bar, 10 East Route 66, Flagstaff, Arizona.   Phone:  928.266.1282. 

Epilogue:  Yesterday, we scouted out the nearby San Francisco Peaks area for autumn colors.  We found patches of vibrant golden leaves in the high elevation Aspen groves.  We’re hoping that the lower elevations will be in full Fall color for our return photography trek next week. 

 

Marcus Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com 

Related posts:  Peaceful San Rafael Valley, Snow Laced Sedona, Frozen Meadow Aglow, Autumn Aspen Reflections, Northern Arizona Sunflowers, and Superstition Mountain Storm

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona art art walk bar camera canyon display erosion exhibit exposure formations geology hike landscape landscapes lens light mountains off road park photography plateau prints river rocks sand sand dunes snow storm sunset tavern time exposure trail trek water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/10/reinkensmeyer-photography-exhibit-at-state-bar Sun, 04 Oct 2015 16:14:19 GMT
Landscape Photography from Peaceful San Rafael Valley, Arizona https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/7/landscape-photography-from-peaceful-san-rafael-valley-arizona Tree Reflection at San Rafael Valley AZTree Reflection at San Rafael Valley AZ "Land, then, is not merely soil: it is a foundation of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals."  - Aldo Leopold, Co-founder, The Wilderness Society

 

< Nikon D810, 1/125 at f/16 Prairie Grasses at San Rafael Valley AZPrairie Grasses at San Rafael Valley AZCapture My Arizona Photo of the Day

Based in Phoenix, we generally head north for landscape photography excursions in Sedona, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon.  At the suggestion of my adventurous son-in-law, Todd Severson, we recently switched things up with a trip to San Rafael Valley.  Situated in Southern Arizona in Eastern Santa Cruz County, this vast valley represents yet another facet of our state’s diverse land and lifestyles.

 

< Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, Nikon D810, 1/10 at f/20 Dawn at San Rafael Valley Arizona panoDawn at San Rafael Valley Arizona pano

Touched by gentle winter winds, tall golden grasses are in constant motion.  The valley is flanked by expansive mountain ranges, with the State Natural Area resting on the Arizona-Mexico border:  Patagonia Mountains to the north, Canelo Hills to the northeast and Huachuca Mountains to the East. A few large cattle ranches rest quietly in the valley, accessed by well-maintained dirt roads. The valley is also home to countless John Wayne movies and other western films. 

 

< Nikon D810, 0.6s at f/16 First Light San Rafael Valley AZ 2 panoFirst Light San Rafael Valley AZ 2 pano

As always,  our best photo opportunities were found in the early morning and late afternoon "golden hour" light.  The Patagonia Mountains are simply majestic in pink pastel pre-dawn light, revealing seemingly infinite layers aglow.  Under mid-morning’s full sunlight, we captured a few images of single trees along the shallow waters of the winding Santa Cruz River. Our first evening was a photographer’s dream: richly textured foreground grasses backed by the cross-lit Huachuca Mountains.

 

< Nikon D810, 1/15 at f/16 Santa Cruz River at San Rafael Valley AZ 1Santa Cruz River at San Rafael Valley AZ 1

My favorite image of the trip is a lone tree reflection on a small pond, captured in the waning light of sundown.  Honestly, we were packed and driving out of the valley for late dinner when we drove past this wonderful, placid scene.  Our rushed tripod set-up was comical,  particularly given the tranquility of the scene. From an outsider's view, our shooting was like a choppy old time movie displayed on fast forward .... 

 

< Nikon D810, 1/125 at f/16

Locals at the Stage Stop Inn in Patagonia advised that the San Rafael Valley is even more scenic during summer monsoon season, when rains bring stormy skies and brilliant wild flowers to green fields.   So, we’re planning a return trip to Southern Arizona, hoping to learn more about this natural oasis so far from the city.  

Related posts:  Northern Arizona Sunflowers on a Windy Hillside; Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah; Snow Laced Sedona; and Grand Canyon  Afterglow

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Cruz Patagonia Santa cattle dirt excursion exposure filter flowers geology grass hike land landscape lens monsoon photography polarizer rains ranch river road sand soil time exposure tree valley wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/7/landscape-photography-from-peaceful-san-rafael-valley-arizona Sun, 19 Jul 2015 16:33:45 GMT
Impending Coastal Storm: California Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/6/impending-storm-california-coastal-photography Cove Shoreline LaJolla CA 1 BWCove Shoreline LaJolla CA 1 BW "To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim-the-rocks-the motion of waves-the-ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?" - Walt Whitman  Dreary Dawn at Shell Beach LaJolla California 1 BWDreary Dawn at Shell Beach LaJolla California 1 BW

 

This past Memorial Day weekend, we made a quick family trip to LaJolla, California.  While the days were filled with family activities, I was able to break away for some early morning – pre-dawn – photography on the rugged ocean shoreline.  

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

The first morning was chilly, with a palpable mist in the air. On the second morning, I encountered strong winds and intermittent spitting rains. My biggest challenge was keeping the camera and lenses dry, mainly by covering my camera with a protective plastic rain sleeve and using deep lens hoods.  Even then, on the second morning, I found myself wiping down my lenses and filters every few minutes.  Some of my shots were ruined by water spots and condensation on the lens. 

Juttting Seashore Ledges LaJolla CAJuttting Seashore Ledges LaJolla CA

< Nikon D810 5s at f/18 ISO 31

While these aren't the most comfortable conditions for sight seeing,  low light and gray skies make for some terrific photo opportunities.  On both days, overcast skies created a strong sense of doom and impending storms.  Being a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, it felt good to once again experience some weather and to photograph the dramatic ocean shoreline under unpredictable conditions.  Tidal Pools LaJolla, California BWTidal Pools LaJolla, California BW

< Nikon D810 1.3s at f/20 ISO 31

Under the low morning light, I was able to shoot fairly long time exposures of the surf moving across shoreline boulders until mid-morning.  For those planning to visit the area, the rock outcroppings at Shell Cove make for excellent foreground and a natural breaking point for the waves.  Just South of Shell Cove, the fascinating color palette displayed in tidal pools is particularly vibrant under flat, cloud-diffused lighting.  Misty Surf LaJolla CaMisty Surf LaJolla Ca

 

With such stormy weather, only a few other people were out walking on the otherwise busy beach areas.  For the most part, in composing my images, I was able to work around these folks and manmade objects. The one exception was a small, vacant lookout shelter, included in a few images for a sense of scale and a feeling of solitude. 

< Nikon D810 0.4s at f/18 ISO 31

Back at home, I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the color balance and other settings in Photoshop. In the end,  I found that  black and white versions of the scenes best captured the stormy mood and essence of the seashore environment. The conversion from color to monochrome was made with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2  (a Photoshop  plug-in),  using the  000-Neutral filter from the pre-set library and an orange digital filter. 

< Nikon D810 2s at f/20 ISO 31

Ah, the wonders of digital photography. Vividly, I recall carrying a pouch of colored filters and BW sheet film when shooting a 4 x 5 inch format camera way back when.

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

Related posts: Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii; Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography; Black and White Digital Photography:  A Peaceful Surrender.

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) California Nik Photoshop black and white boulders camera coast coastal cover exposure film filter geology hike hood landscape lens mist ocean photography polarizer rocks sand shoreline storm time exposure tripod water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/6/impending-storm-california-coastal-photography Sat, 20 Jun 2015 16:21:09 GMT
People's Choice Apparel Features Reinkensmeyer Photos https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/6/reinkensmeyer-photos-on-shirts-by-peoples-choice-apparel   FB_ADBanner-Marcus-Reinkensmeyer-2015FB_ADBanner-Marcus-Reinkensmeyer-2015 Dear Family and Friends: We’re pleased to present some new shirt designs from People’s Choice Apparel (PCA), using some of my more recent photographs. The full collection of my photo shirts can be found at PCA Autumn Aspen Reflections 1, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, ArizonaAutumn Aspen Reflections 1, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, ArizonaPhoto of the Day, Capture My Arizona

Celebrating the change of seasons in Northern Arizona, an interpretive impression of autumn Aspen reflections on a quiet pond near Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona. Image captured through vertical camera movement in a brief time exposure.

As a part-time landscape photographer, I‘ve never had the time or the expertise needed to actively market my images outside of traditional publication channels such as magazines, calendars and prints.  The folks at People’s Choice Apparel have opened up a whole new world of possibilities, now displaying my photos on phone cases as well as various styles of shirts. Snow Laced Cathedral RockSnow Laced Cathedral Rock

 

Located in Los Angeles, this family owned business produces tasteful, high quality customized merchandise at reasonable prices.  It’s  great working with talented PCA team, given their strong sense of design and deep commitment to customer service. 2 Jardin de Monet at Giverny, France 52 Jardin de Monet at Giverny, France 5

 

A bit more information about some of the new shirt images, featured in the above banner:  FB_ADBanner-Marcus-ReinkensmeyerFB_ADBanner-Marcus-Reinkensmeyer

 

- Autumn Aspen Reflections is a time exposure image taken at a small pond just off Hart Prairie Road near Flagstaff, Arizona. It was such a windy day that I opted to shoot a series of sweeping abstract images, rather than fighting to “freeze” the branches and leaves.

- The image Snow Laced Cathedral Rock was taken this past New Year’s Day, when the iconic Sedona red rock was blanketed in snow and ice.

- Jardin de Monet presents a single deep red flower dripping with morning dew, from our painter Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, near Paris France. The gardens and ponds were the source of inspiration for Monet’s vast collection of iconic Water Lilies paintings.

 

My sincere thanks to People’s Choice Apparel for the opportunity to present my photography and to all of you for your continuing support. 

 

Related posts: Snow Laced Sedona, Autumn Aspen Reflections: Northern Arizona Photography, Northern Arizona Sunflowers: Photography on a Windy Hillside, Autumn Colors, Arizona Fall Colors, West Fork Trail and France Landscape, Architecture and Travel Photos.  

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Flagstaff Giverny Sedona apparel art dew exposure flower landscape marketing photography red rock shirts show https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/6/reinkensmeyer-photos-on-shirts-by-peoples-choice-apparel Sat, 13 Jun 2015 15:36:42 GMT
Snow Laced Sedona: Winter Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/3/snow-laced-sedona-winter-landscape-photography  

Cathedral Rock Vista Sedona AZ panoCathedral Rock Vista Sedona AZ pano “The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”  - J.B. Priestley

 

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day

Nikon D810 1/30 at f/20 ISO 4000

 

Shrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZShrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ

This past New Year’s Eve, much of arid Arizona was touched by a major winter storm.  While the storm brought rainfall to the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area), higher elevations were blanketed with heavy snowfall. We headed up to Flagstaff on New Year's Day morning for our annual winter get away, "stopping" along the way in Sedona to quickly explore photo opportunities.  I did not hold high expectations for Sedona winter scenic images, as the snow always seems to quickly melt given the moderate elevation (3,800 feet) of this area.  Snow Laced Cathedral RockSnow Laced Cathedral Rock

Nikon D810 1/1250 at f/25 ISO 100

Bell Rock and Buttes  Sedona AZBell Rock and Buttes Sedona AZ

How mistaken I was, as we made our way into the snow laced red rock formations of Sedona. With heavy cloud cover and dense fog, temperatures were just below freezing and the snow was only beginning to melt. Constantly shifting clouds filtered the fleeting sunlight, adding yet a bit more drama to this winter wonderland.

NIkon D810 1/60 at f/20 ISO 100

So, our quick stop became a day of short hikes at the Bell Rock loop trail and Oak Creek (Crescent Moon Ranch Park), along with some roadside vista shots.  

Cathedral Rock Viewed Through Branches  Sedona AZ 2 panoCathedral Rock Viewed Through Branches Sedona AZ 2 pano

Our biggest challenges: Dealing with traffic congestion and finding a less traveled locations for serious landscape photography.  This being a holiday, the park areas were full of hikers and we came across several photographers, including two parties from our Capture My Arizona group.  With all of this activity, several otherwise lovely scenes were overwrought with footprints and sled marks in the snow.

Nikon D810 1/60 at f/16 ISO 100

With bit of exploration and some dumb luck, we managed to work around the footprints and crowds to find some unblemished winter scenes.  Leaving Sedona early that evening, I was overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and gratitude.  The iconic red rock formations are picturesque on a bad day and all the more enchanting in dramatic light.  With the winter storm, we were blessed with transient magical light and a truly enchanting frozen landscape.

Shrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ BWShrouded Red Rock Formation Sedona AZ BW

A special thanks to my lovely and very patient wife, Anita, who had really wanted to arrive in Flagstaff well before dark. Several times, she reminded me of the icy mountain roads in the high mountain elevation of Flagstaff, 7,200 feet. What a great companion on a very different kind of New Year's Day, one not to be forgotten.

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day 

Nikon D810 1/30 at f/20

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

Related posts: Frozen Meadow Aglow, Snow Laced Grand Canyon, Deep Freeze Landscape Photography, Whirlwind Photography  and Black and White Digital Photography.   

 

Nikon D810 1/1250 at f/25 

Conversion to Black and White, using Nik Silver Efex Pro, a Photoshop plug-in

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Capture My Arizona New Year's Sedona exposure formation hike ice landscape lens park photography rock snow trail trek tripod view vista winter https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/3/snow-laced-sedona-winter-landscape-photography Sat, 14 Mar 2015 13:27:22 GMT
Frozen Meadow Aglow: Winter Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/2/frozen-meadow-aglow-winter-landscape-photography Snow Laced Meadow at Sunrise, Flagstaff AZSnow Laced Meadow at Sunrise, Flagstaff AZ When snow falls, nature listens.”

     - Antoinette van Kleeff

 

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, 

Nikon D810 1/25 at f/16

 

Snow Laced Meadow at Sunrise, Flagstaff AZ BWSnow Laced Meadow at Sunrise, Flagstaff AZ BW

Hiking into the snow covered meadow well before sunrise, I was struck by an overwhelming silence and sense of calm.  Although it was about 9 degrees F, the air did not seem unbearably cold given an absence of discernible wind.  As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, subtle shadows gave definition to a ridge line and the snow covered hiking trail.  In the aftermath of a major snow storm, the evergreen trees and fallen branches were laced in fresh snow.

 

My first decision was to stay off the trail and to instead walk on the edge of the meadow, leaving no footsteps in the pristine snow. Venturing further into the meadow, I shot a few low light images to double check camera settings.   

 

Gold Gilded Evergreen in Snow Lace Meadow croppedGold Gilded Evergreen in Snow Lace Meadow cropped

My early arrival was awarded with a brief, but remarkably intense winter sunrise in the cloudy sky.  What a stark contrast: A warm colored sky over a frozen winter scene illuminated by indirect, flat light. The resulting image is one my my favorites of Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff, Arizona (elevation, 7,000 feet). So much so that I also converted the color image to a black and white version using Nik Silver Efex Pro, a digital plug-in filter for Photoshop.  

Nikon D810 1/125 sec at f/16

 

IMG_2668

As the morning sunlight emerged over the Alpine tree line, the serene meadow underwent an instant transformation. The warm sun beams seemed so intense, creating vivid gold tones and long shadows on the satin white snow.  At this point, my shooting was a bit frenetic, knowing that this classic "Golden Hour" would last only a few minutes at best.

VIDEO: Frozen Meadow Aglow

 

These kinds of moments are a photographer's dream come true, but always seem far too brief.  Such situations leave me pondering, "How could I have been better prepared for the moment, what other scenes did I miss and - with all of our advanced technology - why can't we just stop time?"  On the positive side, I learn a lot from such rushed photo shoots by later examining my camera settings and compositions. Without about a doubt, I am my own worst critic.

 

Photography buffs may be interested to know that this was my first time carrying two camera bodies.  Given the extreme cold and the risk of condensation, I thought it best not to change lenses in the field. I outfitted the camera bodies with different length zoom lenses (medium and telephoto lengths), remote controls and tripod mounting brackets to make transitions as easy as possible. The extra weight in my backpack was well worthwhile, considering the added degree of flexibility and ease of operation in the bitter cold.  

 

Although I remained in the meadow until mid-morning, the best photo opportunities unquestionably occurred during sunrise and the brief "Golden" moments after first light.  What an invigorating way to start the day ...

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

Related posts: Yosemite Winter Landscapes, Snow Laced Grand Canyon, Deep Freeze Landscape Photography, Black and White Digital Photography: Peaceful Surrender and Whirlwind Photography Trek.  

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) arizona calm camera clouds condensation equipment exposure forest freeze frozen golden hour hike hour lace landscape lens photographer photography serene serenity silence snow storm sun sunrise time trail tree line trees tripod weather winter https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2015/2/frozen-meadow-aglow-winter-landscape-photography Sun, 22 Feb 2015 14:28:18 GMT
Autumn Aspen Reflections: Northern Arizona Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/11/autumn-aspen-reflections-northern-arizona-photography Autumn Aspen Reflections 1, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, ArizonaAutumn Aspen Reflections 1, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, ArizonaPhoto of the Day, Capture My Arizona

Celebrating the change of seasons in Northern Arizona, an interpretive impression of autumn Aspen reflections on a quiet pond near Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona. Image captured through vertical camera movement in a brief time exposure.
“All art is an abstraction to some degree.” – Henry Moore

 

Cool winds, the distinctive scent of autumn and a thick carpet of fallen leaves make for a truly memorable Fall day in Northern Arizona. Celebrating the dramatic change of seasons in Northern Arizona, I am pleased to share a few interpretive impressions of autumn Aspen reflections on a quiet pond near Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Photo of the Day, NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 35 mm0.6sISO 64  Flagstaff AZ Hart Prairie Road Small file - Autum Aspen Sweep 1 panoFlagstaff AZ Hart Prairie Road Small file - Autum Aspen Sweep 1 pano

While I would like to claim great foresight and conceptual thinking in creation of these photos, this series was, in fact, created on the spur of the moment in a fit of frustration … or, more accurately,  sheer desperation.

 

On this Fall day amidst gusty winds, I found myself frantically shooting at very high shutter speeds, trying to "freeze" the movement of tree branches and golden leaves. We thought about packing up and moving down the road, hoping to hike into a valley area having at least some protection from the relentless from wind. 

NIKON D800E, f/22 @ 35 mm0.6sISO 64  Autumn Reflections webAutumn Reflections web

Instead, after trying many camera settings at inordinately high ISO levels - none of them optimal in my mind - I settled down and decided to stop "fighting" nature. It occurred to me to shoot a series of abstract photos embracing the sense of movement in the strong autumn winds and the change of seasons. The first two time exposure images were captured through slight  camera movements, using a tripod with a loosely adjusted ball head.

NIKON D800E, f/9 @ 20 mm1/500ISO 400  _DSC3244 web_DSC3244 web

Others photos in this series include fallen leaves afloat on the pond and cross sections of the thickly wooded Aspen forest and leaf covered forest floor.

 

A special thanks to my son, David Reinkensmeyer, for his great company, sense of adventure and honest critique of my photographic images on another banner day in Northern Arizona.  His thoughtful comments about my photography are so valuable, both in the field and back at  home in front of the computer. 

NIKON D800E, f/2.8 @ 35 mm1/250ISO 1,250  _DSC3347 web_DSC3347 web

Related postings: Arizona Sunflowers: Photography on a Windy HillsideArizona Fall Colors, Autumn Brook - West Clear Creek, Autumn Colors- Hart Prairie Road and West Fork in Sedona Part 2 – Autumn.

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

NIKON D800E,f/11 @ 35 mm1/50ISO 1250

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Aspen ISO abstract abstraction autumn camera exposure fall foliage foothills hike landscape leaf leaves lens photography polarizer pond prairie reflection settings speed time exposure trail tripod wind windy https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/11/autumn-aspen-reflections-northern-arizona-photography Sun, 02 Nov 2014 13:00:36 GMT
Northern Arizona Sunflowers: Photography on a Windy Hillside https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/10/northern-arizona-sunflowers-photography-on-a-windy-hillside Sun Flower Covered Hillside Flagstaff panoSun Flower Covered Hillside Flagstaff pano Flagstaff Sun Flowers 2 panoFlagstaff Sun Flowers 2 pano Flagstaff Fallen Log and Sun Flowers 2Flagstaff Fallen Log and Sun Flowers 2

“Flowers ... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 24 mm1/400ISO 800

Given the extended drought in the Southwest this last few years, Spring wild flowers have been pretty sparse in our High Sonoran Desert area of Phoenix, Arizona. Typically, in the early Spring, we find a few patches of sunflowers at some of our regular destinations near Bartlett Lake and Superstition Mountains (Lost Dutchman State Park), often through extended hikes. This hardly compares to the vast fields of yellow and purple flowers I vividly recall from earlier years.  Recently, what flowers we’re lucky enough to photograph are situated in relatively small scattered groupings, lasting only a few weeks.

NIKON D800E,f/11 @ 17 mm1/500ISO 800 

Contrast this situation with the vast fields of vibrant Sunflowers we just encountered along the hillsides 12 miles north of Flagstaff this past August, 2014.  Here, in the aftermath of  Summer monsoon rains, we found bountiful fields of Sunflowers just north of Wupatki Loop Road, a few miles East of U.S. 89.    Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day

Those familiar with the area may recall that the Wupatki Loop Road leads to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, an intriguing photogenic area of volcanic cinder fields.

Flagstaff Sun Flowers and Mountain StreakedFlagstaff Sun Flowers and Mountain Streaked

 

Photographing the Sunflowers was a delight, not withstanding a few challenges along the way.  It was a cool breezy morning (56 degrees F), with a bit of intermittent light rain, at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet.  From past experience, I’ve learned that wind movement in the flowers can ruin the best of landscape scenes, rendering the foreground flowers and trees out of focus.  A few techniques proved helpful in capturing the splendor of the Sunflowers:

·      Patiently, waiting for a lull in the wind.  I’m always amazed how a few minutes can make a world of difference in the wind conditions and the amount of movement in the flowers.

 NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 70 mm1/5ISO 50 Sun Flowers Winding in the WindSun Flowers Winding in the Wind

·      Waiting for a break in the clouds, to photograph the scene in brighter light or at least diffused sunlight.

·      Setting the camera to a higher ISO level, e.g., 500 or 800.

·      Shooting at shutter speeds of 1/500th to 1/800th of a second, at wider aperture settings (with attention to the resulting loss of depth of field).

·      Shooting without my much-loved circular polarizer, to maximize the amount of light coming into the camera.

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 70 mm0.4sISO 50

·      Using a medium length lens (Nikkor 24 – 70 mm, f 2.8) for some scenes, as opposed to my “go to” wide angle landscape lens (17 – 35 mm), to display the  foreground flowers as largely as possible in the picture frame.

·      Using a collapsible Reflector Disk to illuminate the flowers in the foreground of the photo, creating a fill light to reveal details in shadow areas of the flowers and leaves. 

 

At one point that morning, we were confronted with gusty winds and dark skies.  In these conditions, it became impractical to shoot detailed landscape images depicting a traditional wide depth of field without moving to unacceptably high ISO settings, e.g., 1,600 and above.  Rather than fighting the limitations of our camera equipment, I opted to shoot a series of abstract images accentuating the movement of the Sunflowers in the wind. 

 

With a bit of experimentation using brief time exposure and panning the cameral on a tripod, I managed to capture a few “keepers” presented here and in a future post.  In some ways, the resulting time exposures (1/4 second to 2 seconds @ ISO 50) reflect the sense of movement in the wind and the energy of nature on this memorable day.

 

All in all, another great day of landscape photography in Northern Arizona and a new wild flower destination, with a few more lessons learned along the way. 

 

Related posts: Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii, Arizona Fall Colors and Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road, Arizona.   

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Flagstaff crater draught hike hillside landscape lava lens mountain photography polarizer rain sunflower time exposure tripod wild flower wind windy https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/10/northern-arizona-sunflowers-photography-on-a-windy-hillside Sun, 12 Oct 2014 12:43:42 GMT
New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 4: Carlsbad Caverns https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/9/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-4-carlsbad-caverns Carlsbad Caverns Convergence 3Carlsbad Caverns Convergence 3 “I am gradually becoming impressed with the Carlsbad Caverns; they are so strange and deep in the earth that I can never feel about them as I do with things in the sun -- rocks, trees ... surf and fog. The photographic problems are terrific; I start with a basic exposure of about 10 minutes ... I then boost up the image and "drama" with photoflash.”  -  Ansel Adams

NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 35 mm1/60ISO 200Flash  Carlsbad Cavern FormationCarlsbad Cavern Formation

As an extension or our photography trek to White Sands National Monument, we spent a day at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the rugged Guadalupe Mountains of Southeastern New Mexico. Given our pressed schedule, I wondered if a caverns visit would be worth the extra driving time from White Sands. We pondered, "Is the cavern overrun with tourists, can we really get any good photos under artificial lighting and are the underground formations really that unique?" 

In short, Carlsbad Caverns proved to be a photogenic natural wonder, albeit with some challenges and inherent limitations in the photography arena.

Located 18 miles south of Carlsbad on U.S. Highway 62/180, the vast cavern is situated in a bed of limestone, above the groundwater level. The history and geology of the cavern are absolutely fascinating, far beyond the scope of this posting.   In short, the area surrounding the caverns was a coastline of an ancient inland sea, tectonic movements uplifted Capitan reef above ground and erosion of limestone created intricate calcium carbonate formations:  stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, draperies and popcorn, etc. 

NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 82 mm5sISO 200No Flash  Carlsbad Caverns TriadCarlsbad Caverns Triad

To learn about the caverns and gain a sense of orientation, we participated in the ranger guided tour of the King’s Palace chambers in the morning. The tour was informative time well spend, but not conducive to serious photography because tripods are not allowed on guided tours.

We then spent the afternoon on a self guided photo shoot of the Big Room (Hall of Giants), a vast series of chambers with railed walkways some 800 feet below ground.  Here, we were able set up our tripods for long time exposures (8 – 30 seconds at ISO 200, f 8).  We had hoped to carry only our medium length "walk around" lenses (e.g., 24 – 70 mm) into the caverns, but ended up needing the Nikon "holy trinity," including the 17 – 35 mm wide angle and 70 -200 mm telephoto lenses,  to capture the varying sense of scale in different cavern chambers.   

NIKON D800E,f/2.8 @ 44 mm1/60ISO 400Flash  Carlsbad Cavern Intricate WallCarlsbad Cavern Intricate Wall

Although flash photography is allowed throughout the caverns, most of the photo blogs advise against flash as it washes out the foreground of lighted formations. Although this was the situation with many of the front-lit major formations, I found that my Nikon 910 Speedlight flash unit provided wonderful illumination on some of the formations having little or no artificial lighting, including intricate overhead stalactites and highly detailed draperies.  Experimentation proved fruitful, as I ended shooting the most scenic cavern formations in both modes.

NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 70 mm1/60ISO 200Flash 

Carlsbad Cavern Pool BWCarlsbad Cavern Pool BW

Carlsbad Cavern PoolCarlsbad Cavern Pool

Achieving accurate white balance proved to be our greatest challenge and, quite honestly, we encountered impossible lighting situations in large parts of the cavern.  We learned that different lighting systems are used throughout the cavern - probably tungsten, halogen and fluorescent – with widely varying color temperatures.  Matters are complicated by the use of mixed lighting systems on many of the larger and more interesting, iconic formations. 

NIKON D800E,f/2.8 @ 40 mm1/125ISO 6400No Flash   Carlsbad Cavern - VIDEO

Under these circumstances, we found ourselves spending too much time manually adjusting our cameras for proper white balance, only to produce otherwise strong photos with a garish green or deep orange-gold color cast.  After several rounds, my practical minded brother, Brian Reinkensmeyer, finally declared, “I am shooting everything in Auto white balance mode. We can fix the color balance back at home ….”  And I followed Brian’s excellent advice, for the most part, only to find the same irreconcilable color balance situation in many images back on my trusty home computer monitor. 

Using the white balance temperature settings in Photoshop’s RAW converter, I have tried my best to present the mixed lighting cavern images as realistically as possible. To get around this problem all together, we’ve also presented some of of our favorite and most challenging color balance photos in black and white as well, using the Nik Silver Efex Pro plug in for B&W conversion. 

VIDEO: Below Ground, Apple iPhone 5

Setting these frustrations aside, for me, the impact of our Carlsbad Caverns visit transcends the sensory experience and emotion of any two dimensional photograph we might present.  It was, and remains, an unforgettable exposure (no pun intended) to a whole new underground world - a truly unique living ecosystem created over millions of years. Resting quietly 75 stories below the surface of the earth, in total darkness, the forces of nature converge in a most intriguing geology: a wonder best experienced by quiet time in a vast winding cavern.   

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

Related posts:  New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, Death Valley National Park, California.

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Nikon cave cavern darkness erosion exposure filter flash geology guide hike illumination landscape lens light lighting minerals photography polarizer pool seepage telephoto time exposure tour trail tripod underground water white balance wide angle https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/9/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-4-carlsbad-caverns Sat, 06 Sep 2014 17:04:09 GMT
New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 3: White Sands Dunes Formations https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/8/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-3-white-sands-dunes-formations White Sands Dunes AblazeWhite Sands Dunes Ablaze "… life is a jewel box,  is endless as the sand, impossible to count, pure …” Pablo Neruda  on Engimas (1904 - 1973)


White Sands Mountain Range PanoramicWhite Sands Mountain Range Panoramic

My lifetime fascination with sand dunes is now only heightened, having just spent some extended time at the pristine White Sands National Monument, New Mexico (elevation 4,235) feet. Growing up in Southwest Michigan, I developed a deep appreciation for sand dunes along the seemingly endless beaches of Lake Michigan. 

 NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 35 mm1/100ISO 100

The dunes at White Sands hold similar visual elements, including concave and convex formations, intricate interlocking ripples and subtle gradations from shadow to light. 

NIKON D800E,f/3.2 @ 35 mm1/100ISO 100  White Sands Ripples and Blue SkyWhite Sands Ripples and Blue Sky

Under ever changing lighting conditions, the White Sands gypsum crystal dunes provide endless photography opportunities akin to, yet distinctly unique from those of iconic Death Valley, picturesque Monument Valley and my home state’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  

 

 

Like pure white freshly fallen snow, the white sand reflects the subtle color hues of the overhead sky, long “golden hour” sunrays and moonlight.  So, for today’s posting, we present fewer words and more images in celebration of White Sands and its many splendors.

 

 

 

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 86 mm1/40ISO 100  White Sands Golden Dune CrestWhite Sands Golden Dune Crest



White Sands DuskWhite Sands DuskPhoto Courtesy of Brian Reinkensmeyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 70 mm1/25ISO 100

 

White Sands Blowing Plant TracksWhite Sands Blowing Plant Tracks

 

Photographer Traversing Wind Sands Dune at Dusk, Nikon D800. Photo courtesy of my brother and wonderful travel companion, Brian G. Reinkensmeyer, Copyright 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 27 mm6sISO 100

 

 

White Sands National Park 2 - Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: White Sands Morning, Apple iPhone 5s

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

Related posts:  New Mexico Landscape Photography Part 1, Part 2, Death Valley National Park, California, and Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) exposure formation geology hike landscape lens park photography ripple sand sand dunes trail https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/8/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-3-white-sands-dunes-formations Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:52:32 GMT
New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 2: White Sands Dunes Trek https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/7/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-2-white-sands-dunes-trek White Sands True White PanoWhite Sands True White Pano

“To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”  - William Blake (1757 – 1827)

 

Our recent photography trek to White Sands National Monument (elevation 4,235 feet) exceeded my expectations.   My brother, Brian Reinkensmeyer, and I were graced with excellent weather, superb lighting conditions and photo ops galore.

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 70 mm1/40ISO 100  White Sands First LightWhite Sands First Light

While the winter season has shorter daylight hours, we were pleased to find that the soft light and low angle of the sun allowed us to photograph the dunes well beyond the recommended "golden hour."

NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 24 mm1/6ISO 200 White Sands Ridge Line 1White Sands Ridge Line 1

Located in south central New Mexico, the mountain ringed White Sands National Monument is situated in the vast Tularosa Basin. The white gypsum dunes occupy 115 square miles of a massive dunes field encompassing a total of 275 square miles. The remaining portion of the dunes and the perimeter mountain ranges (San Andres and Sacramento Mountain Ranges) are all part of the highly secure, strategic White Sands Missile Range.  Just down the road is Holloman Air Force base. With this strong military presence, we noted lots of intrigue about the early years of weapons development, space technology and national security.  

Our biggest challenge in photographing the dunes was working around the ubiquitous footprints left by hikers, sledders and other equally enthusiastic photographers. You can imagine our disappointment time after time, upon hiking to the summit of a dramatic convex sand formation only to find two or three sets of deep footprints.  This situation was especially problematical on our arrival day, Sunday, in the aftermath of many weekend park visitors.  

NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 36 mm1/80ISO 100   White Sands Sunset GlowWhite Sands Sunset Glow

As luck would have it, the dunes were swept clean of footprints in a fierce evening sand storm that same evening.  Fortunately, having experienced these sand storms at Death Valley, we were outfitted with eye goggles, hats covering our ears and protective plastic sleeves for our cameras (Ruggard RC-P18 rain cover, available at B&H Photo).  We've also found that it's helpful to wear Gaitors (Outdoor Research brand, available at REI stores) boot covers to keep the sand out of our shoes.

With or without the low visibility of a sandstorm, it’s all too easy to lose one’s sense of direction and to get lost in the ubiquitous white gypsum dunes. We find it imperative to carry two handheld Garman GPS units our hikes in the dunes, both at White Sands and Death Valley National Park (Eureka and Mesquite Flat Dunes).  Navigating via GPS gives us true peace of mind, providing wayfinding ability in darkness and amidst blinding sandstorms alike.

D800E,f/20 @ 35 mm1/20ISO 100 White Sands Snow Like Dunes panoWhite Sands Snow Like Dunes pano

A special thanks to the highly knowledgeable White Sands rangers (Kelly, Kathy and Bob), who provided extensive information on the park and nearby areas.  We could not have asked for better support, both on-site and prior to our visit.  Kudos to the park service! 

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 62 mm1/15ISO 100  White Sands National Park 1 - Video

 

 

 

Related post: New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 1: White Sands Dunes to Carlsbad Caverns

 

 

VIDEO: White Sands, Apple iPhone 5s

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) exposure formation geology hike landscape lens park photography ripple sand sand dunes trail https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/7/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-2-white-sands-dunes-trek Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:50:16 GMT
New Mexico Landscape Photography, Part 1: White Sands Dunes to Carlsbad Caverns https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/6/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-1-white-sands-dunes-to-carlsbad-caverns White Sands Soft Day Break LightWhite Sands Soft Day Break Light “It is not a country of light on things. It is a country of things in light.” - Painter Georgia O’Keefe (1887 – 1986), commenting on the State of New Mexico.

 

Most every landscape photographer has a “bucket” list of scenic locations; places ripe with photo opportunities in the mind’s eye.  For many years, White Sands National Monument has remained at the top of my ambitious list.  Yet, I was somehow hesitant to invest the necessary time and energy into a White Sands trip, mistakenly thinking that it might not be worthwhile to visit this single location “just to shoot some dunes.”

White Sands Summit TreeWhite Sands Summit Tree

Morning Light, White Sands, NIKON D800E, f/18 @ 70 mm1/10ISO 200 

Having just returned from a whirlwind trek to the White Sands dunes and other “nearby” scenic areas, I am most grateful for the incredible experience, a better understanding of this vast Southwest region and a batch of fresh photos. 

In planning for the trip to White Sands, my brother, Brian Reinkensmeyer, and I charted visits to a number of other locations ideally suited for hiking and field photography: Carlsbad Caverns, historic petroglyphs at Three Rivers, lava beds at Valley of the Fires and Guadalupe National Park (Texas).   All total, we drove approximately 1,500 miles over a five day period, starting our trip in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Winter Dune Trees, White Sands, NIKON D800E, f/20 @ 55 mm1/40ISO 100

White Sands AbstractionWhite Sands Abstraction

To maximize our time photography, we scheduled much of the longer drives in the evening hours:

  • Day 1:  Drive from Phoenix to hotel in Alamogordo, NM.

  • Day 2:  Early morning photography at Three Rivers Petroglyphs (north of Tularosa) and the lava beds at Valley of the Fires recreation area,       Carrizozo; Meeting with park rangers at White Sands to arrange and pay for off hours passes; Sunset photography at White Sands.

  • Day 3: Sunrise photography at White Sands, photography of dilapidated buildings in Alamogordo, sunset photography at White Sands; drive   to Carlsbad Caverns (161 miles)

Summit Sand Ripples, White Sands, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D800E, f/22 @ 70 mm1/20ISO 100

Carlsbad Caverns Convergence 3Carlsbad Caverns Convergence 3

Day 4:  Guided tour and self guided photography tour at Carlsbad Caverns; sunset photography of El Capitan at Guadalupe Mountains National Park (elevation: 8,749 feet) and the nearby salt flats; drive back to Alamogordo.

  • Day 5: Sunset photography at White Sands; drive back to Phoenix for mini family reunion dinner. 

Convergence, Carlsbad Cavern, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D800E, f/8 @ 35 mm1/60ISO 200Flash Guadalupe Mountain Texas - watermark copyGuadalupe Mountain Texas - watermark copyPhoto Brian Reinkensmeyer

Our trip planning was guided by Laurent Martres’ Photographing the Southwest, Volume 2, an excellent resource for both hiking and photography in Arizona and New Mexico. 

Experiencing the grandeur and solitude of Southern New Mexico has only prompted us to add a few more of this state's destinations to the ever growing bucket list.

El Capitan, Guadalupe Mountains, Texas, NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D800, f/4 @ 38 mm1/90ISO 400

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

Related posts: Death Valley National Park, California and Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan.  

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) cave cavern darkness erosion exposure formation geology hike landscape lens minerals park photography ripple sand sand dunes seepage trail underground https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/6/new-mexico-landscape-photography-part-1-white-sands-dunes-to-carlsbad-caverns Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:20:54 GMT
Antelope Canyon: "No tripods, no f stops" https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/5/antelope-canyon-no-tripods-no-f-stops Sun beams illuminate Antelope Canyon.  Arizona landscape photography. Antelope Canyon Light Rays Sun light rays illuminate the sculpted canyon walls of Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona The contrast between my most recent visits to Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons could not be more stark, even more so in retrospect.  While photographers often compare the formations and quality of light in the two slot canyons, my sense of bewilderment instead reflects the two entirely different experiences in visiting both photogenic canyons on the same day: One a sublime connection with nature and the other a hectic rush amidst crowds of tourists.  

Upper Antelope Canyon Radiant Light, NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 70 mm0.6sISO 200

Lower Antelope Canyon sandy floor - a photographer's perspective.    Marcus Reinkensmeyer Southwest Landscape photography. Lower Antelope Canyon Sand FloorThe sandy floor of Lower Antelope Canyon make a wonderful pathway for hiking, exploration and photography,

In short, my unguided photographer's tour in Lower Antelope Canyon that morning was self-paced and relaxed, allowing ample time for tripod set-up and careful camera calibrations.  With my descent into this below ground slot canyon, time seemed to some to a standstill for thoughtful exploration. After shooting a series of bracketed photos, I would switch from vertical to horizontal format, zoom out for a wide angle perspective, adjust my circular polarizer, etc.  

Lower Antelope Canyon Sand Floor, NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 19 mm0.5sISO 400 

Slot canyon geology, as photographed by Marcus Reinkensmeyer. Southwest geology.  Canyon walls sculpted by years of erosion at Antelope Canyon, a highly photogenic slot canyon. Navajo Sandstone formations, in Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona.

Regrettably, all sense of calm quickly vanished, given the large crowds of tourists and the loud sounds of tour trucks at popular Upper Antelope Canyon.  This being my first Saturday primetime visit, I had never seen this area so busy.  Looking back at the situation, I'm grateful we were able to walk-in and get tour passes without prior booking. 

Our well meaning tour guide seemed equally flummoxed by the flurry of activity,  shifting from pleasantries to terse directions about tour etiquette. 

Once our group was assembled at the entry of this ground level canyon, the tour guide advised that this was not a photographer tour and no tripods would be allowed. Hearing an outburst of protests in many languages (this being an international destination),  our guide quickly relented, saying, "Okay, fast with the tripods, but no f stops or that stuff." A sense of relief and calm came over the group, punctuated by a few chuckles and looks of puzzlement.  

Upper Antelope Canyon Endless Folds, NIKON D800E, f/14 @ 35 mm4sISO 200

Slot canyon in Page, Arizona,  photographed by Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Scottsdale, Arizona.  A chamber ceiling in scenic Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona. Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Southwest Landscape Photography Arizona landscape photography

"Fast" was a vast understatement, as our guide literally dragged and pushed the group through Upper Antelope Canyon.  Admittedly, she pointed out some of the more intriguing formations and photo ops, even grabbing cameras and phones from the tourists to catch a quick point and shoot photo. As our group ripped through the canyon, I was a bit envious of some of the other tour groups.  Somehow, they all seemed to be enjoying explanatory lectures on the geology and history of the area from their remarkably relaxed guides. 

Upper Antelope Canyon Sculpted Walls, NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 35 mm3sISO 200

Landscape photography on guided tour,  Antelope Canyon, in Page, Arizona.  Canyon wall formations at Upper Antelope Canyon, photography by Marcus Reinkensmeyer Upper Antelope Canyon geology, Page, Arizona.

If there is really a silver lining in every cloud, ours was the excellent overhead skylight and radiant glow of the striated Navajo Sandstone walls.  Ironically, the endless foot traffic had stirred up lots of dust (fine sand) into the air. With the thick dusty air as a "natural" filter, I was fortunate enough to capture one of my only acceptable photos of a canyon light beam photos to date .

Lower Antelope Canyon Aged to Perfection, NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 50 mm3sISO 400 

Video of Lower Antelope Canyon, taken by Marcus Reinkensmeyer, an Arizona landscape photographer . Lower Antelope Canyon landscape photography - Amazing geology.

What a unique "man made" opportunity in an otherwise unadulterated setting - winding canyon walls sculpted by years of erosion. 

In all fairness, Upper Antelope Canyon also offers more slowly paced photographer tours, including those on slower weekdays.   Time-wise, I was simply unable to schedule this kind of tour along with my longer photographer's tour at the lower canyon that same day.  

VIDEO: Lower Antelope Canyon End of Hike, NIKON D800E

So, on balance, it was a memorable outing and I am most grateful to have a few photographs from both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons.  Despite the rush and significant challenges of the afternoon, these iconic slot canyons remain one of my favorite places for abstract captures of a true geological wonderland.  

Related posts:  Whirlwind Photography:  Arizona and Utah (Part 1)Antelope Canyon (Part 4) and Grand Staircase Escalante( Part 2)  - Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks.

Marcus Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) canyon erosion exposure f stop filter formation geology guide hike landscape lens photographers photography polarizer reservations sand sandstone slot canyon time exposure tour tourists https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/5/antelope-canyon-no-tripods-no-f-stops Fri, 30 May 2014 19:46:17 GMT
Grand Staircase - Escalante Photography Part 3: Coyote Gulch https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/2/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-3-coyote-gulch  

Coyote Gulch at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah. Grand Case Escalante Utah Coyote Gulch Bend 2 "The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit."  - Joseph Wood Krutch
Writer, critic and naturalist

 

Our Coyote Gulch hike was an incredible experience, exposing us to vast sand dunes, a winding streambed, waterfalls and an enormous shelter arch.  The hike was more strenuous than we anticipated, mainly due to the steep incline of our return hike up a massive sand dune (total elevation gain of approximately 1,500 feet).

NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 17 mm1/60ISO 200

Coyote Gulch reflection at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah. Escalante Grand Staircase Utah Coyote Gulch Reflection 1

 

Our movement through Coyote Gulch was also slow, as we traversed a number of massive boulders, strewn logs and water pools. Waterfalls and dry falls also required us to ascend to the upper ridgeways. Despite an early morning start, we were always aware of the time and the early sundown in February.  We concluded that it would be best to be well out of gulch area before nightfall, even though we were equipped with headlamps and rations.

My adventurous son-in-law, Todd Severson, did a terrific job of mapping out the hike, considering a number of options for safe (meaning “non-technical” for this photographer’s sake) entry in Coyote Gulch.  Ultimately, we opted to enter the Coyote Gulch via the Crack-in-the-Wall, a narrow slit rock parallel to the cliff wall.  The name of this entry point was interesting enough, not to mention the extremely tight passageway (21 inches wide) and trailhead access by aptly named Hole-in-the-Rock road (leading to Forty Mile Ridge Road).

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 20 mm1/60ISO 640

Stevens Arch at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah.  Grand Case Escalante Utah Stevens Arch

A handheld GPS and Google Earth maps helped us navigate the plateau of slick rock and drifting sand, leading us directly to the Crack-in-the-Wall formation. Once we cleared this passageway, we found ourselves on a steep sand dune with a remarkable bird’s eye view of enormous rock monoliths, Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River.  Hiking down the dunes, we encountered another party of two overnight hikers – the first people we had seen since entering the park the day before. 

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 30 mm1/500ISO 400

Continuing our descent on the dunes, we were thrilled to see the spectacular Steven’s Arch. With an opening of some 220 feet across and varnished rock walls, this formation is truly a sight to behold.  Escalante is home to other arches, including Jacob Hamlin Arch in Coyote Gulch and Broken Bow Arch in Willow Gulch.

Despite rather harsh mid-day light, we also managed to capture some images of Steven’s Arch and the amazing geology of Coyote Gulch. 

VIDEO: Grand Staircase -Escalante

We returned to our SUV sore and tired, with sand in our eyes and ears.   That said, it was all so “worth it” and we’re talking about a return trip to this amazing stretch of the Grand Stair Case, Escalante, Utah.

<<< Video of Todd at Crack In the Wall

Related postings:  Grand Staircase – Escalante Part 1:  Trip ItineraryGrand Staircase  - Escalante Part 2: Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks, White Pockets at Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area (Alstrom Point at Lake Powell), Arizona-Utah Border and Utah Landscape Photography.

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

 

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) GPS Grand Staircase Escalante Navajo Sandstone, Utah arch boulders camp canyon cliffs erosion exposure filter formations four wheel drive geology gulch hike land landscape lens map monoliths off road photography plateau polarizer river sand sand dunes sand ripples slik rock slot canyon stream sunset trail trek tripod wash water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/2/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-3-coyote-gulch Thu, 06 Feb 2014 02:29:11 GMT
Grand Staircase - Escalante Photography Part 2: Zebra Canyon & Red Breaks https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/1/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-2-zebra-canyon-red-breaks  

 

Zebra Canyon, a slot canyon at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah. Grand Staircase Escalante Zebra Canyon Z “National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”  - John F. Kennedy, President of the United States

 

During our first morning at Grand Staircase – Escalante, we had the pleasure of hiking and photographing Zebra Canyon.  This relatively small slot canyon is aptly named, given the bold horizontal stripes in the pale Navajo Sandstone.  

Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 70 mm1.3sISO 200

Our two mile hike to Zebra Canyon was delightful, as we got our first view of some domes and other fascinating geology along the way. We were especially intrigued by the entryway to Zebra Canyon, where distinct sand ripples converge with the gold-brown sandstone walls. This whole area seemed so pristine, with a wind sculpted sand floor and water worn rock walls.  The photos of the entryway are some of my favorites from the trip. Then again, it was also great shooting the intersecting rock formations in warm reflected light. 

Grand Staircase - Escalante, Zebra Canyon.  Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah, Zebra Canyon 3

Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 26 mm1.3sISO 200

Once in Zebra Canyon, we encountered some water and ended up making the hike barefooted. This being a shaded area, the water was extremely cold at the time of February hike. Of course, our water sandals were safely packed in our SUV.  Our numb feet were gently warmed on the hike back through an extended wash area of fine white sand. 

Time constraints did not allow us to hike the nearby Peek A Boo slot canyon – another location for our next visit.

Sand ripples at the entrance of Zebra Canyon, Grand Staircase, Escalante, Utah. Escalante Grand Staircase Zebra Canyon Sand Ripples 1 copy copy

Our afternoon was spent hiking Red Breaks, a rugged area of dry streambeds and open sky slot canyons strewn with massive boulders.  We approached this area from the sandy Harris Wash, ascending into the red rock slot canyon area through a winding series of dry falls and rock beds.

With all of the grandeur of this area, I found only a few shadowed areas of narrow canyon walls for slot canyon photography.  In part, my limited shooting was due to the bright overhead sunlight.  We also encountered an enormous fallen rock which blocked part of the slot canyon from safe passage.   

 

Red Breaks is another area we hope to revisit, allowing more time for side hikes and exploration. I would also like to photograph this area in the aftermath of heavy rains, as it would be such a visual delight with some reflecting pools.

Entrance to Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 35 mm1/20ISO 200

Red Breaks slot canyon at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah.  Grand Staircase- Escalante, Utah, Red Breaks 1

Having struggled with crowds and limited tour hours at the Antelope Canyon, Arizona slot canyons, it was exhilarating to have the Escalante slot canyons all to ourselves.  For a photographer, this kind of setting is just too good to be true and ideal for a photo study series.

Red Breaks, NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 17 mm1.3sISO 100

 

Related postings:  Grand Staircase – Escalante Part 1:  Trip ItineraryWhite Pockets at Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs, Grand Staircase Escalante Part 2: Zebra Canyon and Red BreaksGlen Canyon Recreation Area (Alstrom Point at Lake Powell), Arizona-Utah Border and Utah Landscape Photography and Antelope Canyon.

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) GPS Grand Staircase Escalante Navajo Sandstone, Utah arch boulders camp canyon cliffs erosion exposure filter formations four wheel drive geology gulch hike land landscape lens map monoliths off road photography plateau polarizer river sand sand dunes sand ripples slik rock slot canyon stream sunset trail trek tripod wash water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2014/1/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-2-zebra-canyon-red-breaks Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:14:48 GMT
Grand Staircase - Escalante Photography Part 1: Trip Itinerary https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/12/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-1-trip-itinerary  

Mountain range viewed from 50 Mile Road at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah.  Escalante Grand Staircase Utah Mountain Range 1 copy "In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."  - Charles A. Lindberg
, Aviator

Our recent trip to Grand Staircase  - Escalante National Monument, Utah, was both exhilarating and exhausting. This being our first visit to Escalante, we had a long list of destination sites, but only two days for hiking and photography. Still, through excellent planning on the part of my son-in-law, Todd Severson, we managed to get an excellent overview of this extraordinary geological wonderland.

NIKON D800E,f/8 @ 200 mm1/60ISO 200

Coyote Gulch at Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah. Escalante Grand Staircase Utah Coyote Gulch 1

Grand Staircase is a landscape photographer's dream come true: miles of exposed geology, no manmade distractions, very few people and no required hiking permits or passes.  In fact, while we saw a few vehicles, we did not encounter a single hiker during the first day of our stay at Escalante.

Coyote Gulch, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 17 mm1/80ISO 400

Grand Staircase - Escalante, Utah, Zebra Canyon 4

Located on the rugged Kiaparowits Plateau, the vast Grand Staircase - Escalante is home to several slot canyons, arches, vast mountain ranges, Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River. Encompassing nearly 1.9 million acres, the park has approximately 100 miles of roads along with extensive hiking trails.

In our next few postings, I’ll share our trip itinerary, field notes and photographs from our hikes.

Zebra Canyon, NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 25 mm1.3sISO 200

VIDEO: Grand Staircase -Escalante

With the help of Google Earth maps and two handheld Garmin GPS units, we hiked approximately 24.5 miles over our two day stay. We were grateful to have a high clearance SUV, as many of the secondary roads traverse rugged exposed rock, while others are covered in deep drifting sand. Our trip itinerary:

  • Day 1: Travel from Phoenix to hotel in Kanab, Utah
  • Day 2: Travel from Kanab to Grand Staircase – Escalante park office to register for hiking; hikes to Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks slot canyons; sunset photography along mountain range; and, car camping at Jacob Hamblin Arch Trailhead to Coyote Gulch.
  • Day 3: Sunrise photography of Fifty Mile Mountain range; Coyote Gulch hike, via the Crack in the Wall route; and return to Phoenix.

<<< Video from Coyote Gulch

Having spent considerable time in nearby Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, I am so grateful that we finally made it to this remote expanse of the Colorado Plateau. We are already brainstorming plans for a return trip,  saving our vacation days for a longer visit this next time.   More to follow …

 

Related postings:  Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 2:  Zebra Canyon and Red Breaks, Grand Staircase - Escalante Part 3: Coyote GulchWhite Pockets at Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area (Alstrom Point at Lake Powell), Arizona-Utah Border, Utah Landscape Photography and Antelope Canyon

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) GPS Grand Staircase Escalante Navajo Sandstone, Utah a arch boulders camp canyon cliffs erosion exposure filter formations four wheel drive geology gulch hike land landscape lens map monoliths off road photography plateau polarizer river sand sand dunes sand ripples slik rock slot canyon stream sunset trail trek tripod wash water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/12/grand-staircase---escalante-photography-part-1-trip-itinerary Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:36:57 GMT
Arizona Fall Colors: Mountain Landscape Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/11/arizona-fall-colors-mountain-landscape-photography _DSC3347 web_DSC3347 web “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ― George Eliot (pen name for Mary Ann Marian Evans)

In relocating from the mid-west to Arizona, I lamented that our family would sorely miss the change of seasons.  Some 22 years later, it’s good to realize how entirely mistaken I was in my limited thinking.  In my mind’s eye, the Southwest landscape was one of unchanging arid deserts and relentless heat.  Sunny, hot and dry -  all year long. 

Aspen Grove, Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day
_DSC3057 b web_DSC3057 b web

Little did we know of Arizona’s glorious mountain ranges, rich foliage and dramatic weather in the higher elevations.  Just a few hours from the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix), we find ourselves in scenic locations like the iconic Grand Canyon National Park,  Monument Valley, the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

Abineau Canyon and San Francisco Peaks, Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day  Autumn Reflections webAutumn Reflections web

This Fall, my son David and I found the most dramatic change of season and autumn colors in Flagstaff, Arizona (elevation,  6,910 feet).  Fall was really  “in the air” on that mid-October day, given an earlier snow, gusting winds and vivid autumn colors.

The first part of our day involved some adventure, but not much in the way of photography.  After a bouncy drive on a craggy rock strewn forest road (F 418), we enjoyed a rigorous hike on Bear Jaw Trail, about mid-way up San Francisco Peaks (elevation, 12,623 feet). Due to the earlier freeze, the Aspen branches were entirely barren.   Their fallen leaves created a lush, golden carpet at our feet.

Autumn Reflections with Moonrise  _DSC3134 web_DSC3134 web

Driving out of this area – not far from the trailhead, we came across a spectacular view of rugged Abineau Canyon.  In the aftermath of an avalanche back in 2005, the canyon was laden with enormous boulders and topped trees.  Resting majestically in the background, impervious to the wind, were the snow capped San Francisco Peaks and our first glimpse of golden Aspen groves along the mountainside.

Time really does fly, when you’re in an area of such natural beauty, especially with a digital camera in hand. We spent the rest of the day driving and quickly hiking along the Hart Prairie Road area.

Autumn Glow, Flagstaff, Arizona  _DSC3244 web_DSC3244 web

We were so pleased to come across thick Aspen groves, a quiet reflecting pond and vistas of new plant life in the aftermath of the Mount Eldon fire. 

So, Northern Arizona once again graces us with a true change of seasons, from delicate wildflowers to pristine snow and golden leaves in the wind. Such a memorable day, witnessing the glorious cycle of life and the regenerative powers of nature. 

_DSC3117 web_DSC3117 web

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

Arizona Autumn Collage: Leave Afloat 

 

Related posts:  West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona: Part 2 – Autumn, Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road: Flagstaff, ArizonaMountains in the Wake of the Gladiator Fire and Autumn Brook, Cotton Wood, Arizona

 

 

 

 

Crisp Autumn Day

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Aspen Capture My Arizona Fall Flagstaff Mount Eldon San Francisco Peaks autumn avalanche canyon cycle elevation exposure filter hike landscape leaf leaves lens mountains peak photography polarizer pond reflection regeneration rocks seasons snow trail tree tripod weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/11/arizona-fall-colors-mountain-landscape-photography Tue, 12 Nov 2013 11:54:38 GMT
Autumn Brook, West Clear Creek: CMA Editor's Choice https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/11/autumn-brook-west-clear-creek-cma-editors-choice West Clear Creek, ArizonaWest Clear Creek, ArizonaA gurgling brook shrouded in golden autumn leaves at West Clear Creek, Arizona. “Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.” 
― Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

 

Autumn Brook, NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 17 mm, 0.5s, ISO 160

 

My sincere thanks to my fellow photographers and the editors at Capture My Arizona, for the Challenge Editors' Choice Award in the Northern Arizona's Autumn contest.  It's truly an honor to have my images shown and recognized on this photo exchange website, along with the work of so many talented photographers.

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

Related posts:  West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona: Part 2 – Autumn and Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Capture My Arizona autumn award brook current exposure fall flow geology hike landscape lens natural nature photography river season time exposure trail water https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/11/autumn-brook-west-clear-creek-cma-editors-choice Sat, 09 Nov 2013 21:44:10 GMT
Silverton, Colorado Photography: Images of a Weathered Mining Town https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/9/silverton-colorado-photography-images-of-a-weathered-mining-town  

hiwheel bicycle at Olde Tyme Photography studio in Silverton, Colorado. Silverton, Colorado - Hi-Wheel Bicycle at Olde Tyme Photography Storefront Crop "Genius without education is like silver in the mine." - Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)
 
Arriving in Silverton, Colorado (elevation:  9,308 feet),  I was initially dismayed by a seeming dearth of photographic opportunities. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, this historic mining surely promised to be an ideal location for some classic Southwestern photos.  Instead, the town was bustling with large crowds of tourists and a highly commercial business district.
 
NIKON D800E, f/7.1 @ 58 mm1/125ISO 640 Weathered rainbow colored paint at The Outlook, a retail store in the mining town of Silverton, Colorado.  Silverton, Colorado - Rainbow Colored Siding
 
Cars lined the streets, detracting from the rustic quality of this historic old town,  founded in 1885. The buildings were a mixed bag, some appearing authentic and others freshly painted in modern colors. Ditto for the signage and fixtures: vestiges of the Wild West amidst modern day retail.  Still, the sights and sounds of the old Durango - Silverton train helped a bit, harkening back to slower times.
 
NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 42 mm1/250ISO 400 
 
Weathered door and siding of an abandoned building, Silverton, Colorado. Silverton, Colorado - Weathered Siding 2
The "problem," of course, was all in my mind's eye. After an invigorating mountain photo shoot in Hermosa Valley that morning, I was still thinking in wide angle view - looking for uncluttered streets and uninhabited buildings, with Silverton Mountain (elevation: 11,800 feet) as a dramatic backdrop.  
 
NIKON D800E, f/9 @ 32 mm1/160ISO 800 Boarded windows and weathered siding at an abandoned building in historic SIlveton, Colorado. Silverton, Colorado - Boarded Windows Building B&W
 
After a bit of moping around, I concluded that there must be something to shoot (no pun intended) in this touted western town.   What first caught my eye was a vast wall of peeling paint on the weathered siding of The Lookout souvenir store.  Badly faded by the sun, the rainbow paint colors were extraordinary: psychedelic  purple, teal green and turquoise blue.  I photographed the wall straight on, fascinated by the texture of the exposed wood and the interplay of crazy colors.
 
NIKON D800E, f/11 @ 32 mm1/160ISO 800 
 
Hotel in Silverton, Colorado, an old mining town in the Colorado Mountains.  Silverton, Colorado - Hotel
After a quick lunch, I returned to this same wall for more of the same. Now, at last,  I was noticing photo ops galore in the dilapidated doorways, boarded-up windows and  rusting metal structures of this
amazing old town.
 
My favorite photos of the day were those of brokendown doors and decaying wood at an abandoned building on the edge of the business district.  Appropriately, the Professor Shutterbugs Olde Tyme Portrait
Parlour store front was one of the most authentic, complete with a hi-wheel bicycle resting on the front porch.
 
NIKON D800E, f/9 @ 40 mm1/250ISO 400 Rustic signage of the Olde Tyme Photography studio in historic Silveton, Colorado.  Silverton Colorado Olde Tyme Photography small
 
As if all of this wasn't rewarding enough, the Silverton images have taken on a whole new look and feel in black and white prints. Some seem especially well suited for sepia tone printing, further "aged" with a bit of antique finish.
 
So, my first impressions of Silverton proved all wrong and I once again stand humbled by my own narrow thinking. In photography and the arts,  I'm repeatedly reminded that experiences are largely bound or expanded by our personal sense of reality - in the moment.  Slowly, but surely, the learning continues, as the sound of the Durango - Silverton train whistle echoes in my head.  
 
NIKON D800E, f/8 @ 70 mm1/160ISO 640
 
Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer
www.mwrphotos.com
 
Related post: Black and White Digital Photography: A Peaceful Surrender
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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) altitude antique art authentic black and white boards buildings cars commercial dilapidated exposure landscape lens mine miner mining mountain old paint peeling perspective photo photography railroad retail rust scene sepia storefront streets structures tour tourist town train wall weathered western whistle wide angle worn https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/9/silverton-colorado-photography-images-of-a-weathered-mining-town Mon, 09 Sep 2013 13:03:35 GMT
The Wave: Landscape Photography in a Geological Wonderland https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/8/the-wave-landscape-photography-in-a-geological-wonderland  

Navajo Sandstone swirls and other worldly geology at the Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona.  Exhumed Sand Dunes, The Wave ”Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better. ”  - Albert Einstein

 

”Our first trip to North Coyote Buttes was full of uncertainty and the unexpected, mainly due to threatening weather conditions. We set out on this trip with a preconceived image of the main geological attraction, the “Wave,” awash in vivid  color against bright blue skies. Instead, we encountered ominous skies with gray cloud cover and relentless chilling wind.

 NIKON D70,f/22 @ 18 mm1/15

In the aftermath of a rain storm, a mirror image of the Wave in a quiet reflecting pool.  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs. Wave Reflection, The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border

 

Under these conditions, the landscape was dark, colorless and rather foreboding.

Our party of photographers almost cut the trek short a couple of times, faced with periodic spitting rain and concerns about an impending storm. Instead, at Tom Gendron’s suggestion, we found a bit of shelter along the mountainside near “Wave Two,” where we enjoyed some hot tea and trail mix. This break gave us a second wind (no pun intended) and energy for a bit more exploration.

Late in the afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised to notice a bit of soft light glowing through the clouds in the otherwise gray threatening sky. Under this extra bit of illumination, the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone buttes came to life with rich color and texture. Hiking up to a plateau just beyond  on the Wave, we were delighted to find a quiet reflecting water pools under the backdrop of the distant muted horizon.

Staying a bit longer in North Coyote Buttes, we were rewarded with some wonderful hiking and photography opportunities. We’re all a bit wiser for this trip better understanding the value of patience and openness to the unanticipated.

 D70,f/22 @ 18 mm1/13

Sculpted by wind and rain, mineral laced Navajo Sandstone at the Wave.  North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs.  Nature's Grand Design, The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border

Although North Coyote Buttes is most well-known for the Wave, it is also home to a number of other fascinating geological features, including “brain rock” and dome like rock formations known as “teepees,”  riparian vegetation and wildlife.

NIKON D70,f/25 @ 27 mm0.3s

Wave Two at North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona.  Second Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs

At an elevation of 5,000 to 5,400 feet, the Paria Plateau is a natural habitat for rare and some endangered species including Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, California Condors and the Peregrine Falcon."

Related postings: White Pockets in Paria Canyon –Vermilion Cliffs, Glen Canyon Recreation Area  - Ahlstrom Point at Lake PowellAntelope Canyon (slot canyons), Arizona – Utah Border and Arizona and Utah landscape photography and Grand Staircase Escalante Photography.

NIKON D200,f/5.6 @ 34 mm1/125ISO 100

Natural geometry created by a reflection of the Wave in a transient reflecting pool, following heavy rainfall.  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona. Natural Geometry 1, The Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border

Sad Final Note:  In recent months, three people have lost their lives hiking near the Wave. While the deaths are being investigated, it appears that the hikers likely suffered from excessive heat exposure and dehydration. This book excerpt and photos from the Wave are posted in memory of the fallen hikers, with deepest sympathies to their families and friends.

 

Excerpted from Windswept Landscape: Images from the Arizona – Utah Border, Tom Gendron, Marcus W Reinkensmeyer and Steve Stilwell.

 

Marcus W Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIKON D200,f/14 @ 24 mm1/125ISO 200

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) BLM Bureau of Land Management Colorado Plateau GPS Paria Canyon The Wave Vermillion Cliffs Wave Wave Two buttes camera canyon clouds dunes erosion expedition exposure formation gear hike horizon landscape lens light monolith national monument nature navigation pattern patterns in nature photography plateau polarizer pool rainfall reflection rock sand sculpted sky storm trail tripod water wilderness wind windswept https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/8/the-wave-landscape-photography-in-a-geological-wonderland Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:33:52 GMT
Black and White Digital Photography: A Peaceful Surrender https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/7/black-and-white-digital-photography-a-peaceful-surrender Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California. Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley - 115

“I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.” - Ansel Adams - 1983

“If you’re photographing in color you show the color of their clothes – if you use black and white, you will show the color of their soul.” - Anonymous

 

After resisting for several years, I finally made the leap to black and white photography in the digital realm.  Now that I’ve made the transition, I’m a bit overwhelmed with this whole new world and the endless possibilities at hand. What’s more, it turns out that I can readily convert many of my earlier digital images to black and white.  Generally an “early adapter,” why did I wait so long to make this move? 

Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley,  NIKON D300,f/20 @ 24 mm1/25ISO 200

Death Valley sand dunes basking in the &quot;first light&quot;  of a Summer sunrise. Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley - 116

Having worked with medium format negatives in a traditional darkroom, I was generally doubtful about the prospect of capturing and processing quality black and white digital images. Candidly, I was held back by “purist” concerns over image resolution, size and a strong connection to film. After all, I figured, film is integral to serious black and white photography, especially so for fine art photography.  In my conventional thinking, great emphasis was placed on film choices, paper selection, darkroom techniques and the physical nature of the printing process as whole.

Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley, NIKON D300,f/22 @ 200 mm1/15ISO 200

Laguna Beach, California. Laguana Beach Dusk, California

Beyond technical considerations like image resolution and tonal range, it was especially hard to comprehend how color digital photos could be instantly converted to credible black and white images. The idea that a digital photographer could have both options after a shoot somehow seemed so easy – just too good to be true.

My “conversion” came about mostly through a nagging sense of curiosity, my recent upgrade to a full frame DSLR and a fortuitous look at Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.  This remarkable Photoshop plug-in came bundled with some other Nik digital color filters and sharpening software, both which I use regularly in color post processing.

Laguna Beach, California, NIKON D300,f/22 @ 200 mm1/15ISO 200

Point Reyes Boat Ashore, Tomales Bay, California Tomales Bay, Ship Ashore 2, Point Reyes, California

Silver Efex Pro has several presets for black and white conversion, grouped in general categories: classic, vintage, modern and favorites.  Once the preset is selected, the software allows for subtle adjustments in structure, brightness and contrast.   Tonality protection is also provided via slider controls for shadows and highlights. Standard black and white filters (e.g., red, orange, green, etc.) and “film type” options are readily selected and compared using an easy preview mode. 

Point Reyes Shipwreck, Tomales Bay, California, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 78 mm0.6sISO 200

Aspen trees in Autumn glory, along Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona. Aspen Grove at Hart Prairie -Helicon Focus

The current issue of Outdoor Photographer (August 2013) discusses other B&W conversion software packages, HDR for B&W, digital B&W master "darkrooms" and traditional B&W glass filters. 

To date, my most successful digital black and white images have been created from high resolution photo files, mainly of patterns in nature.  Images of the Death Valley sand dunes and other geological formations seem to present particularly well in the black and white format. 

Aspen Trees, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona, NIKON D800E,f/7.1 @ 70 mm1/320ISO 400

Given this broader perspective, I feel a bit (no pun intended) re-energized  - eager to capture my next color photos with an eye to the revered gray scale.  And all of this with no red glass filter in my camera bag.  We’ll just darken those dramatic blue skies on the computer, back at home … of course.

 

In peaceful surrender,  

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Death Valley Nik Photoshop Silver Pro Efex Pro black and white darkroom dunes exposure film filter geology landscape lens negatives pho photography plug-in processing resolution sand sand dunes software time exposure https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/7/black-and-white-digital-photography-a-peaceful-surrender Wed, 31 Jul 2013 12:27:54 GMT
Havasu Falls Photography: The Color Blue https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/6/havasu-falls-photography-the-color-blue  

Wooden footbridge crossing blue waters, downstream of Havasu Falls, Arizona. River Crossing, Havasu Canyon, Arizona - Copy - Copy “Havasupai: People of the blue-green waters.”

 

In the aftermath of the devastating 2008 flood at Havasupai Falls, I am often asked what remains to be photographed in this remote side canyon of the Grand Canyon.  Friends and fellow photographers inquire, “What’s left of Havasu Falls? Is it still worth making the long hike (11 miles) to the falls?”  Having returned to Havasu Falls in 2011, I reply without hesitation:  Havasupai Falls remains one of the most enchanting and photogenic areas in the Southwest.

Challenge Editor’s Choice Award, ‘The Color Blue” Contest - Capture My Arizona, June 11, 2013, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 24 mm1/4ISO 200
Located in a side canyon of the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls waterfall in Havasupai, Arizona. Havasu Falls 1, Arizona

Havasu Falls, D300,f/14 @ 22 mm0.3sISO 200

Havasu Falls pool, with glints of canyon wall reflections. Havasu Falls and Canyon Wall Reflections 2, Arizona

 

Yes, the flood destroyed much of Navajo Falls, also washing away parts of the blue-green travertine pools at Havasu Falls.  The trail of destruction is not for long, though, as powerful forces of nature rapidly bring fresh plant life and new areas of cascading water to the valley.   

 

Downstream from Navajo Falls are the newly formed Rock Falls,  a dramatic formation bordered by an enormous expanse of terraced falls.   Already, the travertine pools at Havasu Falls are partially restored, given the high concentrations of calcium carbonate mineral deposits in the spring waters. This process of rejuvenation is a sight to behold, attesting to the wondrous cycle of life.

 

Glints of canyon wall reflections in Havasu Falls pool,  NIKON D300,f/16 @ 70 mm1/40ISO 400

 

Near the newly formed Rock Falls, a terraced cascade of spring water. Havasupai Canyon, Arizona. Rock Falls in Havasu Canyon, Arizona (8) - Copy - Copy Beyond the “main attractions” of the waterfalls, the hike from Supai Village to Mooney Falls offers intimate photo opportunities:  Small gurgling brooks, weathered Cottonwood trees and a few wild flowers along the way.   We came across the rickety footbridge downstream of Havasu Falls, situated in quiet tree covered area. Here, a shallow creek converges with a larger stream, ultimately spilling into the Colorado River. 

 

Terraced cascade of spring waters near the newly formed Rock Falls, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 24 mm2.5sISO 200

Lush greenery at flood damaged Navajo Falls, Havasupai Canyon, Arizona. Navajo Falls, Havasu Canyon, Arizona (2)

 

Finally, the vivid blue color of the crystal clear spring water is beyond description – reason enough to return to this heavenly oasis.

 

Lush greenery at flood damaged Navajo Falls, NIKON D300,f/9 @ 70 mm0.3sISO 200

 

Related posts: Landscape Photography Podcast,   Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah – Part 2 Havasupai Falls,    Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah – Part 1,  Mountains in the Wake of Gladiator Fire

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Colorado River Grand Canyon Havasu Falls Rock Falls brook calcium carbonate camera canyon cascade cycle of life erosion exposure filter flood formations geology greenery hike hiking landscape lens minerals natural nature photographers photography polarizer pool reflections regeneration rejuvenation river sand storm time exposure trail travertine trek tripod tripods valley water waterfalls wild flower https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/6/havasu-falls-photography-the-color-blue Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:48:19 GMT
White Pocket Landscape Photography: Weather on the Plateau https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/6/white-pocket-landscape-photography-weather-on-the-plateau  

Ominous storm clouds at White Pocket,  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area. Weather on the Plateau, South Coyote Buttes, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona-Utah Border “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, NIKON D200,f/18 @ 14 mm1/30ISO 100

"White Pocket is part of the 112,500 acre Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs wilderness located about 30 miles west of Page, Arizona. This remote acreage was officially designated a national wilderness area in 1984 under the Arizona Wilderness Act. Unlike North Coyote Buttes (the “Wave”) and other protected areas,  no passes are required for access and hiking at White Pocket. Still, the area is remote and the deep “sugar sand” covered road is  impassable certain times of the year, even for high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. With all of that in mind, we were delighted to have the place to ourselves on our first visit to White Pockets a few years ago. 

&quot;Brain Rock&quot; and a small reflecting pool, following rain showers at White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs. Dream World, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Since that time, the location has been published in Arizona Highways magazine and it is no longer a best-kept secret. In fact, during our most recent visit to the area, it seem like a pre-announced photography outing with about 15 fully outfitted landscape photographers on site. All were friendly and accommodating, some even offering photography tips and sharing high-end lenses. Most gratifying, everyone was respectful of the land, grateful for the rare opportunity to opportunity to visit this unique place.

NIKON D200,f/22 @ 17 mm1/20ISO 100

Sky reflection in transient pool at White Pocket, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona - Utah border.  Eye to the Sky Reflection, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Everyone else left the area when dark storm clouds and rain emerged in the late morning.  We remained at White Pocket a couple more hours, which proved to be the most worthwhile experience.

 D200,f/22 @ 12 mm1/6ISO 100

White pockets is comprised of hard white and pastel colored rock, some having a glazed porcelain like surface. Some of the formations resemble “brain rock,” while other sections have a smooth flowing appearance. On the day of the storm, the “pockets” were full of fresh clear water, displaying mirror image reflections of the dramatic stormy sky. After the rain, the white rock was transformed to a warm taupe color, creating a whole new visual experience, which remained through the time of our departure.

In the aftermath of heavy rains, reflections of colorful rock formations at White Pocket,  Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona.  Reflections, White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

Despite the rain and extensive flooding of the road, we made it safely out of White Pocket and back to Lee's Ferry, Arizona, with no problems. The trip home conjured up memories of our first journey to the area, when we broke a shock absorber on the jeep, and a more recent trip involving a flat tire and broken tire jack.

NIKON D200,f/20 @ 18 mm1/25ISO 100

Rock outcroppings laced with mineral deposits at White Pocket,  Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, Arizona and Utah Border.  White Pocket, Paria Plateau in Northern Arizona

That time, we were truly outside of the electronic communication loop, with no cell phone service or clear “On Star” access. Fortunately, we were “rescued” by a true professional photographer and a real gentleman, John Weller. Refusing to accept any money for his time and effort, John said, "I'm glad to have my little Subaru help out a Hummer!" We are still grateful for the assistance and remain inspired by John’s recent book, Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow."

NIKON D300,f/22 @ 20 mm1/100ISO 200

Excerpt from Windswept Landscape: Images from the Arizona-Utah Border, Tom Gendron, Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer and Steve Stilwell. 

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Highways BLM Vermilion Cliffs White Pocket brain rock camera erosion exposure formations geology hike landscape lenses map off road outfitted photographers photography plateau pool pools rain reflections road rocks sand stone storm sugar sand trail trek water wilderness area https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/6/white-pocket-landscape-photography-weather-on-the-plateau Tue, 04 Jun 2013 14:56:01 GMT
Memorial Day Photo Tribute to American Patriots https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/5/memorial-day-photo-tribute-to-american-patriots Field Cross Salute, bronze sculpture at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona. Field Cross Salute, Bronze Sculpture

All we have of freedom, all we use or know - 
  This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
”  ~ Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899
 

On this Memorial Day and every day, we are deeply indebted to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.   As no words can adequately express our gratitude, we pause for a moment of silence and salute  these true American patriots and their families. 

Field Cross Salute, Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona, D800E, f/8 @ 380 mm1/100ISO 500

Bronze sculpture of Field Cross Salute, at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona. Field Cross Salute, Bronze Sculpture

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

Related posts:  Veteran’s Day, 2012: United We Stand, United We Stand, United We Stand, Chicago, Independence Day and Photo Tribute to the People of Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Cross Salute, Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona, NIKON D300, f/11 @ 40 mm1/125ISO 400

USCGC Taney, a United States coast guard high endurance cutter anchored in the Baltimore Inner Harbor.  USCGC Taney, United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter, Baltimore, Maryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USCGC Taney, United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter, Baltimore Inner Harbor, NIKON D300, f/14 @ 31 mm10sISO 200

USS Arizona Flag and Mast, located at Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona.   USS Arizona Anchor & Mast Wesley Bolin Plaza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Arizona Anchor and Mast, Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona, NIKON D300, f/10 @ 48 mm1/250ISO 400

National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona. Veterans Cemetary Under Blue Skies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona, NIKON D800E, f/22 @ 17 mm1/30ISO 200

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Coast Guard Memorial Day, Saguaro USCGC Taney United States World War 2 black and white cemetery citizens desert exposure freedom grave graveyard harbor heroes high endurance cutter holiday honor memorial military monument patriots photograph photography sacrifice salute sculpture service ship soldiers statue time tribute valor veterans https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/5/memorial-day-photo-tribute-to-american-patriots Mon, 27 May 2013 12:31:28 GMT
Photo Tribute to the People of Boston https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/5/photo-tribute-to-the-people-of-boston  

American flag hanging proudly in building atrium, with tall ships in the Boston Harbor. United States Flag Hanging Proudly in Boston, Massachusetts

In the aftermath of the tragic Boston bombings, our thoughts and prayers are with the many victims and their families.  Sadly, media images of this unthinkable act of terrorism haunt us all, also conjuring memories of September 11.  A heightened awareness of national security has returned, somehow uniting the nation in this time of deep mourning.

 

Against this dark backdrop, after considerable thought,  I am posting a few earlier photos from the Greater Boston area. These images are presented as a small, but sincere tribute to the bombing victims and the fine people of this truly historical American city.  These scenes are from better days, an era we can only hope to recapture – at least in part – with the healing of time.  

 

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of visiting Boston twice, both times on business travel and once with the company of our immediate family.  During our extended family visit, we packed in lots of sightseeing:  The Tall Ships in Boston Harbor, Boston Commons, Harvard, Salem and a Red Socks game at historic Fenway ballpark.  Downtown Boston skyscrapers support commerce and a vibrant city life. Downtown Boston, Archway View

 

Greater Boston is home to many internationally recognized institutions, diverse cultures and wonderful neighborhood communities.  Like every thriving urban center, Boston is so much more than a collection of civic gathering places and historical buildings. Boston’s institutions were created by dedicated citizens, all for the public good.

Tall ship masts with international flags, docked in Boston Harbor. Boston Harbor, Tall Ships, Masts and International Flags

 

Considered to be strong and tough natured, the citizens of Boston built one of America’s world-class cities brick by brick and idea by idea – all through hard work and perseverance. Clearly, their tireless work has been guided by a strong sense of community, innovation and genuine collaboration.

Historic clock tower in Boston.   Boston Clock Tower

Night time exposure of buildings and bridge during a heavy rain storm in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. After the Storm, Boston, Massachusettes

 

In this quiet hour, the resilient human spirit offers the prospect of hope and restoration, both for  the city of  Boston and our great nation as a whole. 

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Boston Boston Commons Boston Harbor Boston Marathon Fenway Greater Boston Harvard Red Socks Salem atrium bombing bombs buildings citizens flag harbor historical hope institutions national security night people photo photograph rain restoration security storm terrorism terrorist time exposure victims https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/5/photo-tribute-to-the-people-of-boston Wed, 01 May 2013 12:20:36 GMT
Death Valley Landscape Photography: The Race Track https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/4/death-valley-landscape-photography-the-race-track  

 

Moving bolder leaves a distinctive track at the Race Track, Death Valley National Park, California.  Natural Travel, The Race Track, Death Valley National Park, California "Our long anticipated trip to “The Race Track” (Death Valley National Park, California) was one of near misses and joyful discovery.  First, although the dirt road was in good condition, the dusty drive back to this area seemed to take an eternity.  It probably didn’t help that we stopped several times along the way, spending considerable time at the Ubehebe Crater and then at the Joshua tree forest.

NIKON D200,f/29 @ 48 mm1/6ISO 100

Second, and of greater concern, once we arrived at the ancient dry lake bed known as the “Race Track,” we did not see any of the “moving boulders” or other landmarks associated with this area.  “Could the boulders all have been washed away, or maybe even moved by poachers?,”  we wondered aloud.  Surrounded by the Cottonwood Mountains and the Last Chance Range, the area was certainly picturesque, but not what we had come to see. 

As it turned out, the touted racetrack is situated on the far South end of the vast lake bed; “just like in the pictures.”  Thinking back on the whole scenario, we were all a bit myopic in our initial view of the lakebed. We also had a mistaken sense of distance in this other worldly setting. 

Sliding bolder on dry lake bed at the Race Track, Death Valley National Park, California.  Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California

Like so many places in Death Valley, there were simply no familiar points of reference to discern distance or a sense of scale. Understandably, even experienced travelers can easily become disoriented and lost in this borderless terrain.

Mysteriously, the movement of boulders across the dry lake bed has created long track marks in the mud, some up to 3,000 feet long.  Some track marks form perfectly straight lines, others are curved and a few are appear as curious “zig zag” patterns.

 NIKON D200,f/29 @ 52 mm1/4ISO 100

Although no one has actually seen the rocks move, geologists explain that the boulders slide across the dried mud floor when rainfall turns the hard mud into a slick surface.  Strong wind is also a factor in the movement of rocks across the flat, unprotected lake bed.   Described as “playa,” the dry silt forms remarkably consistent polygonal patterns across the entire expanse of the lake bed.  

Two sliding boulders leave tracks at the Race Track, Death Valley National Park. Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California

NIKON D200,f/25 @ 25 mm1/10ISO 100

Irreverently, after a bit of contemplation in this wondrous place, my brother, Brian, declared the theory of the moving rocks to be hoax.  He shared some of own conspiracy theories to account for the distinct tracks in the mud. 

Brian explained that pranksters or park rangers must have pulled the rocks across the lake bed using long ropes attached to vehicles; or, that the rocks were periodically rolled across the lake bed from low flying aircraft, just like bowling balls, etc.  So much for the wonders of nature and our childlike suspension of disbelief …."

Dried playa and repeating patterns in dry lake, at the Race Track, Death Valley, California.  Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California

 

NIKON D200,f/16 @ 22 mm1/40ISO 100

 

 

Excerpted from From Rock to Sand: Death Valley Landscapes, Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Steve Stilwell and Brian Reinkensmeyer 

 

Mesquite Sand Dunes formations at Death Valley National Park, California. Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, near Stove Pipe Wells, Death Valley National Park, California, NIKON D300,f/18 @ 40 mm1/30ISO 200

 

 

For more Death Valley images, see Death Valley Sand Dunes

 

www.mwrphotos.com 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Death Valley Joshua Tree Race Track arid boulder crater desert dry lake erosion exploration formations geological geology kinetic lake lake bed landscape map mountains movement navigation off road photography playa polygonal rock rocks sand science sliding tracks trail travel trek water weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/4/death-valley-landscape-photography-the-race-track Tue, 23 Apr 2013 12:35:27 GMT
Upgrading to a Full-Frame Camera: Ownership Costs and Benefits https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/4/upgrading-to-a-full-frame-camera-ownership-costs-and-benefits Full-frame DSLR camera and gear: Nikon D800E, camera lenses and Mac Book Pro Retina. _DSC5884

After long deliberation, I finally made the leap – or arguably the dive – to a full-frame digital camera.  With the impressive new generation of full-frame DSLR’s and more reasonable price points, I could at long last justify this purchase in my own mind. I could not be more pleased with my first full-frame camera, the Nikon D800E.  That said, the additional costs associated with this upgrade have been substantial, far more than I had anticipated.  Not to complain, but outlays for two new lenses, a laptop computer and other items really start to add up … 

Reflecting on the upgrade to a full-frame DSLR, it is instructive to consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and the Total Benefits of Ownership (TBO).  While a complete cost analysis is beyond the scope of the article, management accounting principles provide a solid framework in considering the start-up costs, lifecycle plan and business opportunities occasioned by a major camera upgrade.

Total Cost of Ownership 

Planning for a full-frame camera purchase, I budgeted for a new wide angle lens to replace my current Nikon DX lens designed for the APS-C size sensor. My calculations also included the sale of the DX lens, quickly sold on Craig’s List.

What I did not contemplate was the need for a longer telephoto lens, given the loss of the 1.5x crop factor with my APS-C sensor camera, a Nikon D300.  Surely, I thought, my Nikon 70 -200 mm telephoto lens coupled with a Nikon 1.4 tele-converter will suffice on a full-frame sensor. Not so, I learned, when registering for a photography workshop with some wildlife shoots. With my old APS-C camera bodies, this lens setup stretched to 420 mm with the 1.5 crop factor.  On the full-frame camera, however, the same lens set-up provides a maximum focal length of only 280 mm: barely enough magnification to capture a group photo of Moose Elk assembled on a distant hillside at Rocky Mountain National Park.  I ended up buying a Sigma 150 – 500 mm telephoto lens to provide that extra “reach.”

Additional costs were also incurred with the purchase of a new computer. Admittedly, my earlier computer (a Dell running Windows XP) had become quite dated, but it still worked well enough with photo files from my 12.2 megapixel DSLR.  Photographers with more up-to-date computer gear might not incur this major expense. However, the large digital files generated by a full-frame DSLR may require additional hard drive storage and/or processor upgrades to support a smooth workflow.  

The need for additional computer resources occurs during the creation of large composite images from a full-frame camera.  Specifically, this is applicable in creating multi-photo “stitched” panoramic images, HDR images and “stacked” hyper-focal images.  Substantial computing power is imperative for efficient retrieval, merging, storage and editing of the enormous multi-photo full frame digital files. With these factors in mind, I opted to purchase an Apple Mac Book Pro laptop computer with a solid state drive.    

While individual circumstances will vary, my overall outlay for the full frame camera, lenses and other items was approximately $9,047.

 

TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

 

 

   

 

ITEM

COST

 

Camera Equipment:

 

 

Nikon D800E

 $3,100.00

 

Nikon 17 - 35 mm  f/2.8 lens

 $1,769.00

 

Sigma 150 - 500 mm lens

 $1,019.00

 

   

 

Computer:

 

 

Apple Mac Pro Retina

 $2,799.00

 

Peripherals

 $300.00

 

   

 

Miscellaneous:

 

 

Extra battery

 $60.00

 

86 mm UV filter

 $30.00

 

86 mm polarizer filter

 $80.00

 

Hi speed memory cards

 $100.00

 

   

 

TOTAL

 $9,047.00

     

My overall expenditure was reduced by proceeds from the sale of my Nikon 12 -24 mm wide angle DX lens (used sales price of $650) and will be further reduced by the sale of a Nikon D300 body (estimated value of $625). With these offsetting revenues, the total cost of ownership for my upgrade to a full frame DSLR is $7,772 .

NET TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

   

Purchase Costs

 $9,047.00

Revenue from equipment sales

 $(1,275.00)

   

NET COST

 $7,772.00

For discussion purposes, let us assume that the full frame camera and other equipment will be used over a five year period or longer.   This is probably a fair assumption for this Nikon D800E camera body and computer, but the lenses should have a longer period of use. Using these figures without adjustments for opportunity cost or inflation, our cost of ownership for the full-frame camera is $1,554.4 per year or $129.53 per month.  If we decrease or eliminate the cost of the new computer and/or lenses, the annualized cost of full frame camera ownership is further reduced.

Missing from this quick analysis are the costs of equipment maintenance (e.g.,  sensor cleaning ), repairs, extended warranties and insurance coverage. 

Total Benefits of Ownership

With this ownership cost estimate in hand, we next consider the Total Benefits of Ownership for a full-frame DSLR. The benefits take into account increases in high value work, accuracy and efficiency, and improved customer service.  These benefits must be weighed against the equipment costs, which can also be equated to annual or monthly costs. From my perspective, the full frame DLSR really delivers on all fronts when judged in this framework (no pun intended). 

The extraordinarily high quality of full-frame DSLR images is derived from a combination of interrelated factors including larger pixel sizes, increased sharpness and high resolution, low noise and improved color differentiation. These factors are addressed in Ken Rockwell’s informative article, “The Full-Frame Advantage” (2007), which discusses the technical basis and practical implications of full frame cameras.

Full-frame image have ample resolution for creation of large scale prints, be that in the form of prints, canvas wraps or metal.  Large scale printing has been one of my key considerations, as I’ve always wanted to present landscape photographs on a grand scale – like that of gallery displayed fine art paintings.

Large photo files generated by the full frame sensor also allow for major image cropping, while still maintaining high resolution files. The photograph from the National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona, was heavily cropped from a full frame photo, still having more than adequate resolution for display.   While the cropped version of this scene was not planned in the photo shoot, it turned out to be the best scene of the series ultimately receiving recognition on the Capture My Arizona.   In memory of our war veterans, a cross and Saguaro cactus in sunset light at National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona. National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona quiet at dusk. Phoenix, Arizona.

National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona - Capture My Arizona Photos of the Day, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 19 mm1/15ISO 200

The opportunity for this kind of creative editing also provides for “close up” fields of view in post processing, in effect extending the length of a telephoto lens.

From a business standpoint, the use of a full-frame DSLR gives rise to expanded lines of photography services, some heretofore reserved for large and medium format photographers.

Final Thoughts

Beyond this kind of cost-benefit analysis and technical considerations, I find a certain “peace of mind” knowing that my time in field is well spent creating the highest resolution images currently possible with a full-frame DSLR. So often, photography travels bring us to places where we may never return or transient moments never to be repeated.  Using a full-frame DSLR - the state of the art tool today - affords the photographer an added sense of confidence and a degree of satisfaction not so easily measured in dollars.  Point Reyes coastline in Northern California.  Point Reyes Limantour Beach Grass

Time exposure photograph of cascading creek along the Bootjack Trail, Muir Woods, California.  Muir Woods Bootjack Trail River Cascade, California

 

Limantour Beach at Point Reyes, California, NIKON D800E, f/18 @ 40 mm1/50ISO 400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bootjack Trail, Muir Woods, California,  NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 30 mm4sISO 800

 

 

For more photos from the Muir Woods and the Northern California Coast, see California Coastline. 

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

http://www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) CPU DSLR Edits Limantour Beach Mac Book Pro Retina Muir Woods Nikon D800E Point Reyes Total Benefits of Ownership Total Cost of Ownership color rendition crop crop factor cropping detail digital camera exposure full-frame gear image investment optics panoramic photo stacking photograph equipment photography resolution return on investment stitching time https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/4/upgrading-to-a-full-frame-camera-ownership-costs-and-benefits Sat, 06 Apr 2013 17:36:12 GMT
Lighthouses and Piers: Ten Tips for Coastal Photography https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/3/still-peering-at-piers-a-coastal-landscape-perspective  

Lighthouse and Pier in Grand Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier, Michigan Growing up in Southwest Michigan, I was always intrigued by the rugged lighthouses and piers dotting the Great Lakes shoreline.  As a young boy, I wondered about the construction and durability of the piers; massive structures standing strong in churning lake waters.  

Grand Haven, Michigan. NIKON D300,f/9 @ 80 mm1/30ISO 200

How did they ever set the support pilings in the deep moving waters? Once built, how could these structures possibly withstand the constant pounding of waves, winter ice storms and the shifting sands of the shoreline.

In my late teens, I came to strongly associate the South Haven and Grand Haven, Michigan,  lighthouses with family times at the beach, romantic walks with my girl friend (now my lovely wife, Anita) and the best of times spent in the great outdoors. Experienced with loved ones, the vivid sunsets and pier silhouettes remain as some of my warmest memories. Lighthouse and Pier at South Haven,  Michigan. South Haven Pier and Lighthouse #2, South Haven, Michigan

South Haven, Michigan. NIKON D300,f/18 @ 24 mm1.6sISO 200

While all of these early thoughts remain, I have more recently come to appreciate pier structures as powerful visual elements in coastal photography. Although pier structures take on many shapes and forms, all provide a sense of scale on vast expanses of shoreline and water. 

Extending from the sandy beach into the ocean or a lake, pier structures draw the viewer’s eye right into churning waters and the dramatic wakes of waves. A longer gaze leads to the distant horizon, often shrouded in clouds and signs of impending weather. Pier 60 at dawn. Clearwater, Florida coastline. Pier 60 Pink Dusk 1 pano

Pier 60, Clearwater, Florida. NIKON D300,f/9 @ 38 mm1/8ISO 200

Beyond these engaging visual cues, every pier is uniquely situated on a distinctive stretch of waterfront. Navy Pier (Chicago) and the Pier 60 (Clearwater, Florida) stand as busy gathering places, housing bustling food establishments and entertainment.  Other piers are less traveled, supporting silent lighthouses and breakwaters.  

Dusk is especially intriguing, with the sunset afterglow and a the promise of a pleasant evening ahead on the pier.  On the other hand, landscape photographers look forward to next morning's dawn, offering the hope of "golden hour" light and quiet scenes sans the crowds. 

Pier 60, Clearwater, Florida. NIKON D300,f/16 @ 28 mm13sISO 200

Weathered pilings and support structure of Pier 60 in Clearwater, Florida. Pier 60 Structure Lighted Ventura Pier reflections at dawn. Ventura, CaliforniaVentura Pier Just Before Dawn, Ventura, California

The Gulf coast before Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi, Gulf Coast Before Hurricane Katrina, Quiet Pier 1

Tips and Techniques for Photographing Piers and Lighthouses

1.     To avoid the appearance of “leaning” lighthouses and "tilting" vertical posts, keep the cameral perpendicular to the ground. This is especially important when using a wide angle lens.  Photoshop can be used to correct lens distortion in a photograph, but this process generally necessitates heavy cropping of the image.

2.     Use a bubble level (attached to camera flash shoe) or “virtual horizon” camera display (a very nice feature on some newer model DSLR cameras) to ensure a level horizon line.

3.     Use a lens hood to prevent or at least minimize ocean water overspray onto the camera lens.

Ventura Pier, Calfornia, NIKON D300,f/16 @ 95 mm8sISO 2004

4.     Frequently check lenses and lens filters for overspray, condensation and fogging.

5.     Experiment with different exposure times to capture varying depictions of water movement.  Long time exposures  (1/2   second and longer) can be quite effective in showing the blurred motion of cascading surf, whereas short exposure times (1/500th of a second and faster) will “freeze” the image of crashing waves. 

Gulf coast before Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi, Mississippi, NIKON D70,f/25 @ 55 mm0.6s

6.     Avoid getting salt water on your tripod legs, as it can quickly fuse tripod fittings and telescoping legs. If you “must” go into tidal pools and wet beach areas with your tripod (as I am often prone to do), be sure to thoroughly rinse the tripod with fresh water immediately after the shoot.

7.     Use a graduated neutral density filter (.3, .6. or .9) to darken bright sky area , creating more consistent exposure levels from the foreground to the distant background in the scene.

8.     Seek to capture dramatic lighting conditions most likely present at  dawn, dusk,  and the “golden hour, ”  using cloud filtered sunlight as available.

9.     Experiment with the use of a circular polarizer to reduce or eliminate glare on the water and to darken the sky areas of the image.

10. Set camera for the optimum white balance mode, taking into account color temperatures of artificial pier lighting and sky conditions.   This is another area for experimentation and frequent reference to the DSLR display. VIDEO: Ventura Pier, California

VIDEO: Setting DSLR white balance in pre-dawn light at pier with artificial light. Ventura, California

All of these years later, I am still drawn to lake and ocean waterfronts, piers and lighthouses.  Photography adds another dimension to waterfront visits, allowing us to bring home a small two-dimensional visual reminder of the shoreline.  Now, if we only could only capture the distinctive scent of seawater, the endless sound of crashing waves and the touch of wind ... 

South Haven lighthouse and pier at sunset. The Great Lakes, Lake Michigan, Michigan. Orange Sunset at South Haven Lighthouse #1, Lake Michigan, Michigan

 

 

 

South Haven, Michigan. NIKON D300,f/8 @ 195 mm1/250ISO 400

 

For more on coastal photography, see:

 Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii

 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Clearwater Grand Haven Great Lakes Michigan South Have Ventura beach bubble level composition dawn dock dusk element" exposure filter horizon lake landscape lens lens hood level lighthouse lighting lights ocean perspective photographer photography pier pilings polarizer pool pre-dawn reflections river salt water scene shore shoreline sky structure sunset surf techniques tidal time exposure tips tripod video visual water waves white balance https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/3/still-peering-at-piers-a-coastal-landscape-perspective Wed, 20 Mar 2013 01:59:14 GMT
Deep Freeze Landscape Photography: Images from Flagstaff, Arizona https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/3/deepfreeze-landscape-photography-images-from-flagstaff-arizona Sunrise snow flurries in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Sunrise Snow Fluries, Flagstaff AZ

 
"When there's snow on the ground, I like to pretend I'm walking on clouds."
Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro KawabataAnimal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

Over the holiday season, we were privileged to spend some time in snow-covered Flagstaff, Arizona (elevation 6,910 feet, 2016m).   This has become a favorite annual family trip:  a time to unwind, recharge and mentally prepare for another busy year ahead.

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day, NIKON D800E,f/20 @ 24 mm1/160ISO 640 

The truth be told, having relocated from the mid-west (Michigan and Illinois) to the High Sonoran Desert (Phoenix), we always felt a sense of guilt about our “kids” – now young adults – missing the change of seasons. We wanted them to experience the wonders of wintertime: snow, icicles and sledding. All these years later, we’ve graduated to snow shoeing, something we never tried back in Michigan.  Go figure … Abstract snow covered rock formations. Flagstaff, Arizona.Snow Covered Rocks, Flagstaff AZ

 

Our most recent visit to Northern Arizona was everything I had hoped for and more, especially for winter landscape photography. The night before our visit, Flagstaff was blanketed with 17 inches of snow. We had fresh snowfall each night, making our drive up a long hillside driveway quite an adventure … shovels and all.

NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 200 mm1/80ISO 200

That said, the biggest photography challenge was the intense cold. I always like to get out early for the wonderful pre-dawn light, seeking to capture a bit of pink Alpenglow on the San Francisco Peaks mountainside (12,635 feet, 3,851 m).  Venturing out into “the field” wasn’t really so hard, but it was tough standing in the snow very long with morning temperatures of 3 – 7 degrees F.  Add a bit of wind chill factor and the very best weather gear can’t seem to block the cold. Snow covered forest road in Flagstaff, Arizona. Snow Covered Forest Road 3, Flagstaff AZ

 

Yes, I ran into all of the winter photography problems you might anticipate: fog on my lenses, frost and condensation on the camera display screen, filters dropped into snow, frozen tripod legs and on and on. Honestly, it was like a comedy of errors at times, all in the midst of winter wonderland. In my defense, it’s kind of tough working small cameral controls with two pairs of gloves, a head lamp affixed to a stocking hat and numb fingers.

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 50 mm1/30ISO 250

A  steaming cup of hot chocolate never tasted so good after returning from my morning photography trek.  After hot brunch and some family time, afternoons were a bit better with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s.  Still, stepping into shady wooded areas, it certainly seemed a lot colder than that.

 

Our side trip from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon was much of the same: Incredible photo opportunities with stormy winter skies, but cold to the bone. The bite of cold air was most intense at the open South Rim vista points, especially at sundown - the time which every photographer relishes for that magical "Golden Hour" sunlight.    Winter storm at the Grand Canyon, viewed from Yavapai Point. Grand Canyon National Park. Grand Canyon Yavapai Point Sunset 1 pano foreground

 

Despite the freezing weather conditions, it was all so worthwhile given the images and wonderful memories we brought back from Northern Arizona. 

 NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 135 mm0.5sISO 200  

For some winter photography tips, see Yosemite Winter Landscape: Photography Field Notes and Snow Laced Grand Canyon Winter: A Celebration of Light.  

 

Marcus Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com    Sunset light filtered through the Pine Trees: A winter landscape scene from Flagstaff, Arizona. Long Shadows, Coconino National Park, Kendrick Park, Arizona

 

 

Image from an earlier trip to Flagstaff, near Kendrick Park.  NIKON D200,f/20 @ 12 mm1/6ISO 100

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona aplenglow camera canyon dawn exposure family filter formations frost gear head lamp hike landscape lens mountain outdoors photography sledding snow snowfall snowshoes storm sunset trail trek tripod weather wind winter https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/3/deepfreeze-landscape-photography-images-from-flagstaff-arizona Sun, 03 Mar 2013 19:54:16 GMT
Yosemite Winter Landscapes: Photography Field Notes https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/2/yosemite-winter-landscapes-photography-field-notes Yosemite National Park: river reflections.El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite National Park, California "Yosemite Park is a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust…of the lowlands, in which one gains the advantages of both  solitude and society. Nowhere will you find more company of a soothing peace-be-still kind. Your animal fellow-beings, so seldom regarded in civilization, and every rock-brow and mountain, stream, and lake, and every plant soon come to be regarded as brothers; even one learns to like the storms and clouds and tireless winds."  - - John Muir, 1902

NIKON D300,f/11 @ 13 mm1/200ISO 400

For aspiring landscape photographers, Yosemite National Park holds infinite opportunities for exploration and creative expression.  Landmarks in this geological wonderland are truly awe inspiring, standing as icons of the great Western landscape.  Vivid images of El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls and Mirror Lake come to mind. 

At the same time, it is somewhat intimidating to wander in the long shadows of the great Ansel Adams and other world class photographers. Adams resided and mastered his craft in Yosemite, capturing some of the strongest landscape photographs of the twentieth century.   Given this expansive body of work, what more is there to discover and photograph in Yosemite Park?  Plenty, it turns out, with 800 miles of hiking trails and openness to the unexpected.   

And so it was with our first trip to Yosemite:  An exhilarating feeling of adventure, tempered by a sense of uncertainty and reverence for masterpieces of the not so distant past.   El Capitan reflection in Merced River, at sunset. Yosemite National Park. El Capitan Reflection, Yosemite National Park, California

Trip Planning and Murphy’s Law

During winter months, the roads to higher elevations of Yosemite National Park and glacial lakes are closed.  Restricted to the Yosemite Valley area (elevation 3,214 feet), we anticipated short daylight hours with long mountain shadows in the morning and late afternoon.  We carefully mapped out our hiking schedule, referencing two invaluable publications:  Michael Fry’s The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite and Andrew Hudson’s Yosmeite: The Best Sites and How to Photograph Them. 

Despite our best laid plans, Murphy’s Law was in full force from the outset of the excursion. That is to say, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”   First, my otherwise highly responsible brother missed his flight to our rendezvous destination, Fresno, California.  We ended up driving into the park well after midnight, guided by GPS with eight foot snow mounds on both sides of the freshly plowed mountain road (Route 41). 

NIKON D300,f/20 @ 20 mm1/6ISO 400

Secondly, once in the park, we learned that our trailhead road, the North Side Drive, was closed due to winter road conditions and construction.   Thirdly, my brother was suffering from a bad case of the flu - fever, chills and all - which he kindly passed my way. Finally, adding insult to injury, I somehow managed to fall through the snow covered ice on the Merced River bank! Not a drop of water on my camera ...  Rising steam on the Merced River, at daybreak in Yosemite National Park, California. Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Winter Camera Bag and Shooting Techniques

NIKON D300,f/18 @ 12 mm1/20ISO 200

Given the enormous scale of the Yosemite mountains, wide angle (12 -24 mm) and medium range (28 - 70 mm) zoom lenses were our optics of choice. The one exception was Tunnel View, where a 70 - 200 mm lens with a 1.4x tele-converter was ideal for some distinctive profile shots of Half Dome in the waning, pink dusk light. 

Also known as Inspiration Point, this vantage point is a photographer’s dream come true, offering a vast classic view of Yosemite Valley, with distant Half Dome framed by El Capitan and Bridal Veil Falls.      

For most of our photographs, we used a multi-coated circular polarizer filters to reduce glare from the snow, water and rocks.  However, it was often necessary to dial-down the level of polarization to avoid excessive darkening of the deep blue sky.  

Handheld graduated neutral density filters (e.g., .6 and .9) were used to darken the sky in some photographs, balancing the brightness of the sky with that of the foreground.

For some mid-day river photos, we layered a hand held .9 neutral density filter with a polarizer filter, creating long time exposures to “blur” the motion of the cascading water.

Time exposure photograph depicting rushing river waters and canyon wall reflections.  Merced River at Yosemite National Park. Canyon Wall Reflections onto Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Navigating the Snow and Ice

Although the park was covered in deep snow, most roads were well plowed. Still, our drive to Tuolumne Grove (elevation 8,575 feet) was a bit unnerving due to icy road conditions. Naturally guided by the Merced River, we rarely referenced our GPS unit when hiking. Park regulations at times require tire chains and the use of four wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended. 

NIKON D300,f/18 @ 190 mm0.5sISO 200

Extremely slick ice slowed down our walking,  both in the Yosemite Lodge area and during our hikes "in the field". The slick walking surfaces were created though a perpetual cycle of melting and freezing, with daily temperature ranging from 12 to 45 degrees F.   We used clamp-on wire cleats (e.g., “Yaktrax”, trademark) on our waterproof hiking boots to gain traction and some peace of mind. 

Although we rented snowshoes, we did not have occasion to use these for our photography treks.  However, the accompanying walking sticks proved to be very helpful, particularly in the deep snow at the Tuolumne Grove. This is a terrific location to photograph the Giant Sequoia (Sierra Redwood) trees.

Early in the morning, we also used Grabber “Peel N’Stick” (trademark) hand warmers in our gloves and boots.   Redwood trees at Yosemite National ParkRedwood Trees at Lower Yosemite Falls Trail, Yosemite National Park, California   

Photographer with walking sticks traversing snow covered Yosemite National Park. Marcus at Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite National Park, California Final Thoughts                   

Paintings, photographs and literature celebrate the ever evolving character of Yosemite National Park’s dramatic mountain formations, sheer granite cliffs, massive waterfalls, glacial lakes, rivers and giant Sequoia groves.

The park is said to take on truly unique, awe inspiring qualities with each change of season.  I will certainly return to wondrous Yosemite Valley in the quiet of winter. And, likely, for yet another winter visit after that ….  

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

http://www.mwrphotos.com/

Yosemite National Park at dusk with pink dusk skies, viewed from Inspiration Point. Yosemite Valley Last Light, Yosemite National Park, California

References

Brower, Kenneth, Yosemite:  An American Treasure, National Geographic Society, 1991. 

Frey, Michael, The Photographers's Guide to Yosemite, 2000.

Hudson, Andrew, Yosemite: The Best Sights and How to Photograph Them,  Photo Secrets  

NIKON D300,f/6.3 @ 70 mm1/25ISO 400

For winter photography and field notes from photographer's state of residence, Arizona, see Landscape Photography PodcastSnow Laced Grand Canyon and Deepfreeze Landscape Photography: Images from Flagstaff, Arizona.  Tips on photography trip planning are also presented in Whirlwind Photography Trek

Tuolumne Grove photo of photographer with walking sticks courtesy of Brian Reinkensmeyer

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Bridal Veil Falls Cathedral Rock El Capitan Half Dome Mirror Lake Tunnel View Tuolumne Grove batteries charger cleats density dusk elevation exposure falls filter filter" guide inspiration Point melt national park neutral park path peak photographer photography polarizer precaution redwoods river road sights snow summit sunset telephoto temperature time exposure traction trail trees tripod valley view vista walking sticks water waterfalls, blur, focus, formation, geology, gloves, groves, ice, iconic, icons, lake, landscape, lens, light, masters, mountains, navigation, weather wide angle wilderness zoom lens https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/2/yosemite-winter-landscapes-photography-field-notes Sat, 16 Feb 2013 12:42:01 GMT
Snow Laced Grand Canyon: A Celebration of Winter Light https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/2/grand-canyon-winter-a-celebration-of-light Snow laced Grand Canyon during winter storm, viewed from Mather Point. Grand Canyon National Park.  Grand Canyon

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in the symbols of speech nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. The glories and beauties of form, color and sound unite in the Grand Canyon… It has infinite variety and no part is ever duplicated. Its colors, although many and complex at any instant, change with the ascending and declining sun.”  John Wesley Powell, 1909

NIKON D800E, f/16 @ 125 mm1/4ISO 200

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day Award

 

Reporting from the North Pole .... Actually, make that the freezing Grand Canyon, South Rim in Northern Arizona. In fact, the road and highway (Highway 67) to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park (Jacob's Lake) are closed from November to Spring due to heavy snows.  It's hard to comprehend this kind of elevation based weather, such a short drive from the high Sonoran Desert area of Phoenix. More interesting yet is the stark contrast to a couple of weeks ago - New Year's weekend - when the canyon was blanketed in snow, ice and low lying storm clouds. 

A winter snow storm blankets Grand Canyon National Park in heavy clouds, blowing snow and ice. Yavapai Point. Grand Canyon Yavapai Point Crevice This is all part of the Grand Canyon intrigue: Ever changing weather and shifting light further dramatize this overwhelming majestic geological wonderland. While every season brings a new celebration of nature, the white dusting of snow and soft winter light add yet another degree of complexity to the intricate layered canyon walls.  

With a momentary break in the clouds, a few buttes bask in warm sunlight.  The magical light of the "golden hour" is fleeting during winter storm season, given the remarkably fast movement of clouds and sporadic snow flurries.   Yet, my memories of these times on the rim remain vivid, conjuring strong visual images along with the unforgettable sense of touch in the cold, the sound of relentless wind and crunch of snow beneath our feet.  

Although the upper trails and shaded areas were still snow packed, little snow remained on the canyon walls at the time of our mid-January visit. The South Rim elevation is 6,800 to 7,400 feet, with rim edge having a significant wind chill factor.  It was wicked cold, around 3 degrees F at daybreak,  reaching a high of 25 degrees F by mid-afternoon.  While the cold seemed  bearable at first, strong winds in the open rim areas quickly "chilled us to the bone."  

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 102 mm3sISO 200

On our last Saturday evening at the Grand Canyon, it was clear, wicked cold and windy on the South Rim edge.  I shot very few photos, mainly due to the rather harsh light and memories of recent, more dramatic photo ops at this same location. 

But not so fast .... Evening graced us with a brief, but intense pink glowing sky just after sundown. In post processing, I found myself reducing the color saturation to make the intense pink color seem a bit more believable.  

It was an evening we will never forget ...

A weak orange sunset peaks through heavy winter clouds at the Grand Canyon, casting an other worldly light on the canyon.  Yavapai Point.  Grand Canyon Yavapai Point Sunset 1 pano foreground

 NIKON D800E,f/18 @ 135 mm0.5sISO 200 

A pink afterglow appears in the eastern sky at dusk. Grand Canyon National Park in winter.  Viewed from Hopi Point. Grand Canyon Hopi Point Pink Sky Panoramic Below are a couple of composite images created by using a hyper-focal technique; "stacking" a series of photos with different focus points to achieve maximum depth of field.  With the camera set on manual focus at a fixed exposure reading, the lens is manually focused on several points (5 -7 or more points) from the closest object in the foreground to the extreme background (infinity).  

This approach allows the photographer to use the "sweet" spot in lens aperture, e.g., f/8 -f/11, to achieve maximum picture quality and to shoot a relatively fast shutter speeds.  The images are systematically combined in post processing, using Helicon Focus software.

Pink Afterglow at Dusk

NIKON D800E,f/16 @ 86 mm0.6sISO 200

These particular scenes are from late afternoon at Mather Point on New Year' Eve, in the aftermath of major snowfall. 

Related post: Grand Canyon Part 3.

Light breaks through heavy winter skies, adding a sense of mystery to seemingly endless layers of frozen geology.  Frozen Geology; A winter storm at the Grand Canyon, viewed from Mather Point. Grand Canyon Mather Point 2 HF  Nikon D800E f/9 @ 70 mm1/200ISO 200.  Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day

 

 

 Nikon D800E, f/7.1 @ 180 mm1/320ISO 200. Snow covered bolder and sunlit buttes at Mather Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Grand Canyon, Winter Storm

Capture My Arizona Photo of the Day

For more winter photography, see Yosemite Winter Landscapes: Photography Field Notes and Deepfreeze Landscape Photography: Images from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Your humble frost bitten reporter, 

Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

www.mwrphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Canyon Colorado Grand Powell River afterglow art atmosphere butte camera canyon clouds crevice elevation erosion focal focus formations geology graphic highway hike hyper focus ice lens light mountains natural nature outdoors path pathway pink plateau post processing precipitation ridge rim road rocks saturation seasons snow snowfall south stone trail trek view vista weather wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2013/2/grand-canyon-winter-a-celebration-of-light Sun, 03 Feb 2013 21:10:05 GMT
West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona: Part 2 - Autumn https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/11/west-fork-trail-oak-creek-canyon-sedona-arizona-part-2---autumn Fallen tree trunk and autumn leaves on the West Fork Trail at Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona, Fallen Tree, West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona "Autumn is the second spring when every leaf is a flower."

Albert Camus,  French journalist and philosopher (1913 - 1960)

 

What a difference a few months makes, particularly given the dramatic change of seasons.  Last Spring, we hiked and photographed the West Fork Trail at Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona.  A dusty path bordered by lush greenery, with Oak Creek supporting vibrant plant life. Such a sharp contrast to our Autumn visit, just a couple of weeks ago.

This time, we found our familiar trail transformed into a celebration of Fall color, with golden leaves visible in every direction.  The leaf covered path was particularly enchanting, forming a rich visual treat and endless photography opportunities.  To top things off, we were greeted with the distinct scent of autumn. For me, the strong sensory overload brought back warm memories of crisp Autumn days in my home state of Michigan, family and friends. 

NIKON D800E,f/22 @ 17 mm2.5sISO 200

Reflecting back on this memorable day, I did not shoot as many photos as usual. I lost some time cleaning lenses and adjusting my digital SLR settings, something I should have done back at home.  Also, I took a bit more time than usual with composition and exposure, striving to capture the essence of the Autumn scenery from some fresh perspectives. Beyond that, I really enjoyed hiking and conversation my daughter, Katie, her husband Todd and their precious puppy, Lily, on her first major outing. 

Just a few notes on the photography and hiking:

Leave covered path in Autumn, at West Fork trail. Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona. Quiet Autumn Path, West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona.

- This was my second opportunity to experiment with a "hyper focus" technique, shooting a series of images of the same scene at different focal points to capture the maximum depth of field.  The photos are captured using manual focus. The approach requires that the camera be mounted on a sturdy tripod (with no movement in the scene) and that the exposure be locked in at a single setting for the complete series of images.   Using Helicon Focus software, the stacked images are combined to create a composite image with full depth of field.  The second and third photographs shown here were created using the Helicon Focus software, combining a series of six photos for each final image. The first image is a single photo taken directly from the camera. 

- Even though the forest seemed dark and we had indirect lighting a good part of the day, use of a circular polarizer was imperative to eliminate glare on the damp leaves and rocks. 

- In attempting to photograph the leaf covered path and tall trees, I found myself drawn to vertical format images most of the day. 

Nikon D800E f/8 @ 28 mm1/13ISO 400 - composite image

- A few miles into West Fork is a wonderful "narrows" area, with tall canyon walls on both sides of the Oak Creek. Venturing into this wondrous area requires a bit of river walking in extremely cold water at this time of the year. We've found that neoprene socks and water shoes can make this freezing water a bit more bearable, but the walk is still quite a shock to one's system.

And most importantly,  we've learned "the hard way" to put cell phones, car keys and other electronics in our upper shirt pockets and backpacks when hiking this wet stretch .... 

Photograph of autumn foliage at West Fork trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona, created with Helicon Focus software. Autumn Collage, West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

 

All in all, another fabulous day in Sedona, enjoying the fellowship of family and exploring  new photography approaches in "the field."  More to follow on the hyper focus technique ....  

- Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer

 

For more on photographing Fall colors in Arizona,  see Autumn Colors: Hart Prarie Road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikon D800E f/5.6 @ 22 mm1/40ISO 200 - composite image 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) air autumn capture carpet composite composition creek fall focus foliage hyper focus images leaf leaves light log path polarizer river scent seasons sensory software stacking trail tree tripod trunk vertical visual wade water https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/11/west-fork-trail-oak-creek-canyon-sedona-arizona-part-2---autumn Tue, 20 Nov 2012 12:14:10 GMT
Veteran's Day, 2012: United We Stand https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/11/veterans-day-united-we-stand United States and Arizona State flags flying together at the Capitol Times building, Phoenix, Arizona. United States and Arizona State Flags, Capitol Times

"This will remain the land of the free only so long as it the home of the brave."

Elmer Davis, journalist, author and Director of the U.S. Department of War Information during World War II (1890 - 1958)

In the aftermath of a divisive national election, the American people stand united as one nation on Veteran's Day, 2012.  This series of photos is drawn from two of my most enduring "quiet places" in the Southwest.  These are special places where the only sound is at times a whisper of wind: National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona located in the open desert in Northeast Phoenix and Wesley Bohlin Plaza (adjacent to the Arizona State Capitol), Phoenix, Arizona.

Some years, we would bring our children to these memorial sites, say on Veteran's Day or the Fourth of July, hoping to instill a sense of history and patriotism.  Great memories of these national holidays linger in my mind to this day. I think our three grown-up "children" would say the same or at least that's my earnest hope.

For some twenty years now, the National Cemetery has also been one of my half-way destinations for long Saturday bike rides on Reach 11 Recreation Area. Exhausted from the rigorous ride,  I've always found this to be an ideal rest stop and a place to light for a bit of quiet reflection. 

Our heartfelt thanks goes to the dedicated men and women in uniform, those who tirelessly defend our great nation and the freedom which we so often take for granted.  MWR

Bottom image named Capture My Arizona's "Photo of the Day," November 14, 2012. 

In memory of our veterans, Natioanal Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. Phoenix, Arizona.   National Memorial Cemetary Under Blue Skies, Phoenix, Arizona

Enduring Freedom, a bronze sculpture honoring United State military veterans. Wesley Bohlin Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona. Veteran's Day Salute, Enduring Freedom National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, a place of rest for veterans. Phoenix, Arizona. National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona quiet at dusk. Phoenix, Arizona.

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) United States Veteran's Day armed services bravery bronze cemetery desert fallen heroes flag freedom guard honor landscape memorial military monument patriots photography pole sculpture service soldiers tombstone tribute veterans war world war https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/11/veterans-day-united-we-stand Mon, 12 Nov 2012 23:31:25 GMT
Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road, Arizona https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-colors-hart-prairie-road-arizona Aspen grove in full autumn color, viewed from Hart Prairie Road, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Aspens in Autumn, Hart Prairie Road 5, Flagstaff, Arizona A couple of weeks ago, we traveled to Sedona to capture some autumn colors in Oak Creek Canyon.  As it turned out, it was still quite warm and we were way too early for the colors. One of the friendly volunteers at the Sedona visitor center suggested that we instead head up to the higher elevation mountains in Flagstaff (elevation 8,500 feet). After passing through Flagstaff about an hour later, we were most grateful for this great advice.

 

Image voted Capture My Arizona's "Photo of the Day"

Just outside of Flagstaff, we found several dense Aspen groves in early Fall transition. These areas displayed an intriguing interplay of green and yellow-gold leaves. 

Driving slowly along the ten mile Hart Prairie Road loop (FR 151), it was delightful approaching intense color bursts from the distance - along the roadside, up a hillside and crisscrossing a man made fence line. 

The real surprise of the day came near the end of the drive, a few mile before we returned to main road (SR 180).  There, a vast Aspen grove had come to life along a mountainside previously ravaged by fire. The Aspen foliage seemed particularly radiant, given the intense late afternoon back lighting.Green and yellow foliage in early autumn, in an Aspen grove near Flagstaff, Arizona. Aspen Grove 1, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona

Newly formed Aspen grove on fire ravaged moutainside, viewed from Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona. Aspens in Autumn, Hart Prairie Road 3, Flagstaff, Arizona Taking all of this in, I was once again struck by nature's power of regeneration and the cycle of life.  Given all of the forest fires across the Southwest United States this past summer, it was encouraging to see the this new life and resilience of nature. The cycle of life, celebrated in every change of seasons.

 

In one of the quiet and nearly windless Aspen Groves, I also the opportunity to experiment with a hyper focus technique, shooting a series of images of the same scene at differing focal points to capture maximum  depth of field. The images are captured using manual focus.

The hyper focus process requires that the camera be mounted on a sturdy tripod (with no movement in the scene) and that the exposure be locked in at a single given setting for the complete series of images.

Using Helicon Focus software, the images are intelligently combined to create an image with full depth of field.

Although I am still experimenting with this process, the results of this photo shoot were pleasing.  I have much more to learn about this whole process and will provide a follow-up posting.

Another memorable autumn day in Northern Arizona ... 

Autumn colors in dense Aspen grove, photographed using hyper focus and Heleoon softward. Flagstaff, Arizona.  Aspen Grove, Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona
For more Arizona autumn colors and hyperfocal landscape images, see West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona: Part 2 - Autumn. 

 

Image created using a series of seven photographs with different points of focus, intended to capture the maximum depth of field from the front to the back of the image. Helicon Focus software was used to combine the multiple images, creating this photo.

All images captured with Nikon D800E camera. MWR

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Aspen Aspens Fall Helicon Focus autumn bark colors country damage depth of field elevation fire focus foliage grove growth hike hyper hyperfocal landscape images leaves mountain mountainside multiple regeneration road softward stacking still trail treeline trees tripod windless https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/10/autumn-colors-hart-prairie-road-arizona Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:46:27 GMT
United We Stand, Chicago - Independence Day https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/7/united-we-stand-chicago---independence-day Independence Day Tribute: The American Flag flying proudly in Chicago, the Windy City.United We Stand, Chicago An Independence Day tribute:  The American flag flying proudly in the Windy City, Chicago.

 

NIKON D200,f/7.1 @ 200 mm1/180ISO 160

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) America American Flag Chicago Independence Day July 4 United States, citizen city flag furl loop metro patriotic photography red white blue urban waving https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/7/united-we-stand-chicago---independence-day Thu, 05 Jul 2012 15:02:01 GMT
Mountains in the Wake of the Gladiator Fire https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/6/mountains-in-the-wake-of-the-gladiator-fire Smoke from the Gladiator Fire, started near Crown King Arizona, shrouds mountain range. Viewed from Sunset Rest Area, near Mayer, Arizona, on Interstate 17.  Mountains in the Wake of Gladiator Fire, Arizona

Viewed from Sunset Rest Area (I -17), a smoke shrouded mountain range in the wake of the Gladiator Fire.

NIKON D300,f/14 @ 200 mm1/200ISO 200

Yesterday,  we stumbled upon this tragic but unique scene driving from Sedona back to Phoenix. My wife, Anita, and I had a truly delightful day checking out art galleries and shopping in Sedona and Jerome, Arizona, never opening my camera bag. 

Approaching the Sunset Rest Area on I-17, however, we noticed smoke from the Gladiator Fire still lingering to the West.  This fire started on May 13, at a home just North of Crown King, a small mining community situated approximately 20 miles from Prescott.  Partially contained now (approximately 70%), the fire has tragically encompassed over 16,000 acres of land. 

Shrouded in smoke, the mountain range had a rather eerie blurred look even in the bright late afternoon light, portions of the range fading off into white haze.  Due to the intense heat  of the day (approximately 109 degrees) and strong wind gusts, I shot only a few picture of this scene at the Sunset Rest Area.  For this image, I used a Nikon 80 -200 mm lens set at 200 mm,  a circular polarizer filter set at full strength and a lens hood.  

Most of the images from this shoot were overexposed, despite my bracketing for exposure (five exposures of each scene). Candidly, the photograph shown here required some significant editing in Photoshop,  which I tried to make as judiciously as possible.   

In the aftermath of yet another forest fire and massive destruction, we are reminded of the fragile nature of the environment and the need to protect our delicate ecosystem.  Our thanks go to the fire fighters and others who protect our treasured lands.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) acreage bracketing disaster exposure filter fire gradient heat interstate land landscape layers mountains photography technigue polarizer rest stop wind https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/6/mountains-in-the-wake-of-the-gladiator-fire Sun, 03 Jun 2012 22:27:39 GMT
West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona: Part 1 - Spring https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/west-fork-trail-oak-creek-canyon-arizona West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona. West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

Yesterday, I had opportunity to spend a full day at one of our favorite hiking locations, West Fork Trail in Sedona, Arizona.  I’ve been to this idyllic location many times, both for family hikes and for photography excursions.

NIKON D300,f/16 @ 28 mm1/60ISO 200

Yesterday’s  solo trip was a first for me, however, as I had ample time and the weather was agreeable for a deeper foray into Oak Creek Canyon, specifically into an area only accessible by river wading.  In my past visits, the creek water was too cold or it was too late in the day to venture into this secluded area, located about 3.5 or 4 miles from the West Fork trail head.   

The photographic opportunities on the West Fork Trail are endless, ranging from soaring “red rock” canyon walls to quiet wildflowers somehow thriving in a bed of rocks. That said, lighting conditions along this trail pose quite a challenge, with extreme lighting contrast between the brightly sunlit canyon walls and large areas of pitch black shadow. Following are a few photography strategies which I tried yesterday during this late Spring trek, admittedly with mixed results:

·        Although I generally favor broad perspective landscapes captured with a wide angle lens, some of my favorite images from the West Fork hike were more narrowly framed using a medium lens (Nikkor 28 – 80 mm).  This approach helped in limiting the high contrast situations created by the steep canyon walls, while also forcing me to more closely “focus” on some of the more unique aspect of the Oak Creek ecosystem.   Wild flowers in Oak Creek Canyon river bed, on the West Fork trail, Sedona, Arizona. West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

·        I made extensive use of a circular polarizer filter to reduce glare on the rocks and the surface of the water.

NIKON D300,f/8 @ 70 mm1/160ISO 400

·        Graduated neutral density filters (.6 and .9) were helpful in darkening the sky for some photographs, but this approach was not always workable given the high canyon walls which run often extend from the bottom to the top of the picture frame.

·        Use of a lens hood is imperative to prevent lens flare and uneven exposures. Even with the use of deep lens hoods, I found it necessary to cup my hand to the side of the lens to block the sunlight in several images. Despite these efforts, several of my images proved to be unusable due to extensive lens flare.

·        Bracketing of photographs and reading of histogram information are a must in the canyon, because of the extreme lighting conditions at Oak Creek Canyon. Also, given the intense sunlight in open areas, it’s hard to accurately view and judge image exposures on the camera display in the field.  Tree growing atop Sedona red rocks, viewed from the West Fork trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona. West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona

Duck shaped geological formation: a rock outcropping at Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona. West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona While yesterday’s hike was a total joy, I was a bit nervous about carrying my camera into the river areas and the thought of slipping on the slick moss covered rocks was foremost in my mind.  As tedious as it seems, I found it best to totally pack up my camera when moving down river, not only to protect the gear but also for my peace of mind. This proved so true when I took a very hard fall on a seemingly simple creek crossing near the end of the hike. My wrist, knee and tripod slammed into the wet rocks with tremendous force. While my ego was momentarily bruised,  my camera gear rested safely sans a drop of water, in my camera backpack.

This morning, I’m a bit sore and tired, but grateful for a day on the West Fork Trail -   this time a bit further into Oak Creek Canyon.  Converging canyon walls sculpted by river waters at West Fork trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona. West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona    

NIKON D300,f/22 @ 19 mm1/5ISO 200

Closing out yesterday’s trip, today I’ll be posting a few of my favorite images from West Fork Trail hike for the Capture My Arizona’s Springtime photography contest.

For an Autumn view of West Fork trail and discussion about a "hyper focus" using Helicon Software, see West Fork Trail, Sedona, Arizona:  Part 2 - Autumn.

MWR 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) camera camera bag canyon contrast creek filter graduated neutral density filter hike lens lens flare lens hood moss. red rocks river rock slippery trail tripod wade https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/west-fork-trail-oak-creek-canyon-arizona Sat, 26 May 2012 16:40:25 GMT
Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah - Lake Powell (Part 5) https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-and-utah---lake-powell-part-5 Lake Powell mountain formations, photographed from Alstrom Point, Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ-UT Border (3)

The final major leg of our Whirlwind Photography Trek was a half day excursion to Alstrom Point,   a dramatic overlook on the north shore of Lake Powell located in Southern Utah. Departing from Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona,  mid-afternoon, we arrived at Alstrom Point around 4:30 PM.

NIKON D300,f/20 @ 170 mm1/6ISO 200

Alstrom Point is only 40 – 50  miles north of Page,  but the driving time is nearly 2.5 hours due to a 25 mile “off road” segment requiring passage of a wash area and a high clearance vehicle.  Detailed road maps and information on road conditions are available at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center (Glen Canyon Dam) in Page.   

The first portion of the off road drive, Road 230 via the small town of Big Water, passes through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument into Glen Canyon National Monument.   Passing just below Nipple Bench, this is one of the most dramatic areas of badlands and surreal geological formations I have ever seen.  Parts of this drive look like the surface of the moon or another planet, comprised of odd pastel colors, strewn rocks and virtually no plant life. Badlands geological formation at Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument, Utah, photographed on trek to Alstrom Point at Lake Powell. Badlands, Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Lake Powell, AZ-UT Border

NIKON D300,f/20 @ 12 mm1/25ISO 200

Regrettably, our pressing schedule allowed very little photography time in this other worldly area - one we plan to revisit for an extended period in the future.   

The evening at Alstrom Point turned out to be our best photo shoot yet at this particular location, mainly due to heavy cloud cover and dramatic storm formations on the distant horizon.  

Gazing across Lake Powell from Alstrom Point, it is hard to comprehend the enormous scale of the mountains and waterways.  From a photographer’s standpoint, the wide array of shooting options at this location can seem a bit overwhelming. With the sun rapidly setting, all kinds of questions race through my head.  Is it necessary to include foreground in these kinds of photographs, what’s the best way to deal with the extensive black shadows areas and is there sufficient time to create “stitched” panoramic scenes? Gunsight Butte at Lake Powell, photographed from Altrom Point during the &quot;golden hour&quot; at dusk. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona-Utah Border

My strongest images from this photo shoot were captured with a Nikor 70 – 200m zoom lens, equipped with a circular polarizer filter set at full strength.  I opted to concentrate on one or two distinctive mountain formations (e.g., Gunsight Butte) seemingly afloat in the lake water, attempting to use the ominous black foreground shadows and dark sky areas to “frame” the mountains.  

NIKON D300,f/22 @ 86 mm1/5ISO 200

After shooting a large series of these lake photos, I turned my attention to the stormy sky on the distant horizon and finished off the session with a few moon shoots.  Rain storm and cloud formations on distant horizon, with sunlit mountain range at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ-UT Border (6)

NIKON D300,f/22 @ 86 mm1/5ISO 200

A hand held .9 graduated neutral density filter was used to darken the sky in most of the images. Unable to use a lens hood due to the graduated filter, I cupped my hand near the upper right side of the lens to block sun rays and prevent lens flare. Moon rise above the clouds, at sunset. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Southern Utah. Moon Rise Above the Clouds, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ-UT Border (8)

We headed out of Alstrom Point just after dusk, around 7:00 PM, full of excitement but a bit nervous about the rain showers clearly present a few miles to the Northeast. 

NIKON D300,f/3.2 @ 110 mm1/160ISO 200

We made one wrong turn on a dirt road, but quickly made a course correction when none of us remembered crossing what turned out to be an almost impassable steep gulley on our drive into the area.  We arrived back in Page, around 9:30 PM for a late Mexican dinner and endless conversation about our three prime photography locations -  all visited in one long day: the Grand Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon (slot canyon) and Lake Powell.   

The next morning, on our return trip to Phoenix, we stopped briefly at Horseshoe Bend.  Located about 4 miles south of Page, just off US 89,  this is the scenic location with the Colorado River bending around steep rock formations, backed by the picturesque Vermilion Cliffs.  Although we did not have the optimum lighting for this location at the time of our stop, we managed to capture a few photos of people and some rock details.

We arrived back in Phoenix mid-afternoon on day four of our trip, with a load of photographs and wonderful memories of time spent together in nature. Our only question:  When can return to Northern Arizona to spend a bit more time exploring and photographing the iconic Southwest Landscape?    

The rest of the photo excursion recap:

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Alstrom Point Lake Powell Southwest badlands buttes excursion geological formations lake landscape map moon mountains national monument off road photography storm https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-and-utah---lake-powell-part-5 Thu, 24 May 2012 17:00:45 GMT
Grand Canyon Afterglow named Photograph of the Day https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/grand-canyon-afterglow-named-photograph-of-the-day Pink afterglow at dusk. Landscape photograph at Hopi Point, Grand Canyon, Arizona. Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (5) My sincere thanks to all who cast a vote for this photo, named Capture My Arizona's Photograph of the Day.  We were fortunate to capture this image with a Nikkor ED AF-S VR 1:2.8 G 70 - 200 mm  zoom lens at Hopi Point - an overlook located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon -  during our recent four day Whirlwind Photography Trek  to Northern Arizona and Utah.  The soft pink sky color appeared just after a rather bland sunset as we were packing up our gear, lasting about 15 minutes before the canyon fell into grey darkness. 

 Nikon D300, f/970 mm0.6sISO 200

For more from this location and information regarding hyperfocal landscape photography, see Snow Laced Canyon: A Celebration of Winter Light

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Grand Canyon Hopi Point Southwest afterglow canyon formation geology glow landscape overlook pink sky sunset trek zoom lens https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/grand-canyon-afterglow-named-photograph-of-the-day Thu, 17 May 2012 04:44:45 GMT
Totems named Photograph of the Day https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/totems-named-photograph-of-the-day Monument Valley totems at sunrise, Arizona Southwest landscape photography. Totems at First Light 2, Monument Valley, Arizona-Utah Border

 

Capture My Arizona has named Totems at Dawn as the Photograph of the Day.  I was grateful to find this photographs in one of my Monument Valley photo collections from several years ago. Today, I vividly recall this chilly Fall morning, as it was my first guided  jeep tour into the valley. I was meagerly equipped with a basic SLR digital camera (Nikon D200) and two Nikkor lenses. My lack of equipment was offset by a huge dose of enthusiasm,  heading into this wondrous land.   

NIKON D200,f/22 @ 86 mm1/125.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) American Indian desert geology hike icon landscape light park silhouette southwest sunrise totem https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/totems-named-photograph-of-the-day Thu, 10 May 2012 13:17:51 GMT
Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona and Utah - Antelope Canyon (Part 4) https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-and-utah---antelope-canyon-part-4 Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

After a freezing cold photo shoot at the Grand Canyon, we made our way to Page, Arizona.  Located on the Arizona-Utah border, this small town is a good place to stay for day trips to the iconic Antelope Canyon slot canyons, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Vermilion Cliffs and Rainbow Bridge.

NIKON D300,f/20 @ 24 mm15s, ISO 200,

Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona, slot canyon,  a geological wonderland. Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Located on Navajo Nation land, the slot canyons offer endless photo opportunities and also a great introduction to the other worldly geology of the Southwest. We arrived at our first destination, Lower Antelope Canyon, by mid-day. Our plan was to purchase photographer passes, which allow photographers about two hours of shooting time in this amazing slot canyon without a guide.   As it turned out, this option is only available to photographers with a tripod, who can be accompanied by one “assistant”. 

My brother Brian – a self proclaimed expert business negotiator - made compelling arguments for our party of five to go on the unguided hike, but all to no avail.   He finally struck up a conversation with a nearby canyon guide, who quietly agreed to give our group a two hour tour without the usual wait for the next regularly scheduled tour.

Our Native American guide was knowledgeable about the history and geology of the slot canyons. He also graced us with some haunting wooden flute music from time-to-time, making the whole experience more enchanting than ever.

 NIKON D300,f/22 @ 20 mm5sISO 200

From a photography standpoint, Lower Antelope Canyon is a truly wondrous location for literal and abstract images of water sculpted sandstone.   The strongest slot canyon images are created using reflected light, which showcases both the interplay of the close canyon walls and the striated rock surfaces.

Landscape photographer Marcus W.Reinkensmeyer in Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona. Photographer Marcus Reinkensmeyer in Lower Antelope Canyon As so much has been written on slot canyon photography techniques, let me  share some quick thoughts from my lessons learned the hard way: 

·         Because it’s very dark in the slot canyon, it’s best to have a headlamp or small flashlight and to make all of your camera settings before entering the canyon. 

·         Because most of the canyon photos involve long time exposures, the camera “long exposure noise reduction” switch should be set to “on”.   The in-camera processing seems to take an eternity, especially for the long exposures, but the resulting improvement in image quality is well worth the wait. Also, some of this “extra time” in the field may be regained in post processing.  

·         Given the close quarters of the slot canyon, wide and mid range lens seem to work best. It can also be pretty dusty in the canyon, so I’ve found it preferable to start the hike with my wide angle lens (Nikkor DX 12 – 22 mm) and to not change lenses unless absolutely necessary for a particular shot.

·         Use of a circular polarizer is a must to reduce glare on the polished surfaces of the canyon walls. This make the shooting a bit tougher, as the polarizer renders images very dark in the view finder and longer exposure times are necessary given the light reduction rendered by the polarizer.

·         To eliminate random overhead skylight and lens flare, a lens hood should be used at all times. The lens hood will also protect the front of your camera lens from accident bumps and scrapes on the tight canyon walls.

·         This will sound so elementary, but double check your camera view finder to make sure that no tripods legs are in your photographs. A few of my best shots have been ruined due to the accidental inclusion of tripod legs, both of my own tripod and those of other otherwise respectable photographers.  

·         As a general rule, it’s best to avoid the inclusion of skylight and direct sunlit areas in slot canyon photographs. Although the bright lit areas are wonderful to see in the camera viewfinder, in actual photographs they are invariably overexposed (burned out) in comparison to the mid-tone and dark shadow areas of the lower canyon walls. Exposures should be taken from the brightest “highlight” areas, to avoid total burnout. Some of the richest colors and surface textures can be in found in areas adjacent to the canyon walls awash in direct lighting.

·         Although multiple exposure require some additional time and patience, we’ve found it best to auto “bracket” for 3 -5 exposures of each scene. Yes, these additional shots take more time and there is so much to shoot in the canyon, all in a limited amount of time. Perhaps, this has been my greatest  area of growth: Slowing down and having the presence of mind to capture a few “keeper” photos as opposed to a large series of flawed images … Or at least I can only hope … Photography team gazing down ladder for descent into Lower Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon near Page, Arizona. Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

 

-  Photography team gazing down steel ladder, preparing for another descent into the slot canyon. 

Located “just down the road” from Lover Antelope Canyon is a smaller but none the less dramatic ground level Upper Antelope Canyon. Time permitting, it is very worthwhile to visit both slot canyons. The upper and lower canyons offer different kinds of hiking and photo opportunities, especially with the overhead sky light shifting during the course of the day and also from season-to-season. Logistics are a bit more challenging in the narrow descents of Lower Antelope Canyon, but the hike is manageable due to well designed steel staircases.

By mid afternoon, we were heading over the Utah border to Alstrom Point, a cliff area overlooking Lake Powell, for sunset photography ….

Our travel itinerary and images from the four day Whirlwind Photography Trek to Northern Arizona and Utah.  

 - Photographer and team entering Lower Antelope Canyon through a ground level crevice on the plateau. 

Photography team entering Lower Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon Entrance

Photographers descending into Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona. The Descent, Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, Arziona

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Nation Navajo bracketing canyon dust exposure flare guide hike hour landscape lens noise photography polarizer reduction sand slot time https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-and-utah---antelope-canyon-part-4 Sun, 06 May 2012 14:29:09 GMT
SHUTTERBUG features Reinkensmeyer's "Ripples" https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/shutterbug-features-reinkensmeyers-ripples Sand dune ripples basking in evening sunset light at Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California. Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California Featured in Shutterbug magazine, "Patterns of Nature," this photograph is part of a large abstract study series from Death Valley National Park, California.

For his visit (July 2012), I opted to explore  one section of the vast Mesquite Flat Dunes,  as opposed to making various day trips across the enormous park.

This more "focused" approach allowed me to photograph the dune formations in "Golden Hour" morning and evening lighting conditions over a three day period.  

Honestly, some of the treks into the dunes were exhausting, due to unpredictable windstorms and the unrelentless heat (114 degrees, F). That said,  the whole approach proved to be even more exhilarating and productive than I had contemplated. The only question, now, is when can we return to the dunes for an extended stay? 

"Wind is the sculptor of these sand dunes in Death Valley. Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer made this photo at sunset with a Nikon D300 and a Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm lens and a B+W polarizer with the rig atop a Gitzo G1325 tripod. Exposure was f/14 at 1/20 sec."  Shutterbug.

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Death Dunes Flat Mesquite Valley abstract dunes formations hike park ripples sand shadow sunset https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/5/shutterbug-features-reinkensmeyers-ripples Sat, 05 May 2012 15:27:21 GMT
Whirlwind Photography Trek: Grand Canyon - Part 3 https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/whirlwind-photography-trek-grand-canyon---part-3 Grand Canyon National Park.  Arizona landscape photography.Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (5)

Our Grand Canyon visit was brief  - approximately 18 hours – but highly productive in terms of landscape photography. Traveling from Havasupai Falls,  we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance (South Rim) around 3:30 PM.  Our first stop was at Yaki Point for a brief hike down the Kaibab trail. This hike was for the benefit of our out-of-state guests, mainly to get a sense of the canyon trail descent and the amazing layers of exposed geology along the way.

NIKON D300, f/5200 mm1/100ISO 200

For the evening “Golden Hour” photo shoot, we set up at Hopi Point, an especially photogenic rim location on the West end of the park.  Our greatest challenge was finding  a parking spot, as this popular area was overflowing with cars and people … even in the January off-season.

Initially, I was disappointed to see clear blue skies, without a cloud or a hint of pattern. As it turned out, however, the early evening winter cross lighting bathed the canyon walls in warm tones, rendering a high level of detail. 

Grand Canyon, Yavapai Point. Aplenglow, pink sky. Arizona landscape photography.Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Just after the sunset, as I was starting to pack my camera bag, a horizontal layer of vivid pink color appeared in the sky. This cast a distinctive reddish light on the canyon walls, akin to the alpenglow seen on the summits of snow covered mountains at sunrise or sunset.  Fortunately, the pink sky remained for approximately 20 minutes, allowing us to set-up and capture some fresh canyon images in the warm light.

 NIKON D300, f/9130 mm0.5sISO 200

The next morning came around quickly enough, as we set up in the pre-dawn light at Yavapai Point at approximately 6:30 AM. Our challenge here was the intense cold and strong winds at the fully exposed overlook - elevation approximately 7,000 feet (2,135 m). It was 17 degrees, but actually felt much colder given the wind chill factor.   We found it helpful to place Grabber “Peel N’Stick” (registered trademark) hand warmers in our gloves and boots.

Convertible mittens with “fingerless” gloves are also “a must” for operating camera and tripod controls in freezing conditions.  A new “Etip” (registered trademark) glove made by The North Face is designed to allow gloved operation of cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices. We have not had an opportunity to test this product.

Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (6)

Although we noted some bands of clouds in the Eastern sky, the sunrise seemed to occur very quickly.  Whole sections of the canyon were suddenly transformed from dark shadows and soft purple tones to an intense red-orange color, almost too bright to photograph. After shooting a few wide angle vistas, I switched to my Nikkor 70 – 200 mm lens, seeking to capture more tightly composed images of a single mountain ridge and the interplay of shadows on a canyon wall.  The resulting images lack the classic landscape foreground and middleground layers, but in some ways better depict the dramatic transformation from pre-dawn to blazing daylight.

 Photographing the Grand Canyon in these rapidly changing lighting conditions, it’s hard to comprehend and even more difficult yet to capture the vastness of the canyon. On my first few trips to the canyon, I somehow felt a bit guilty and  “lazy” setting up my tripod at the touristy overlooks areas. After all, we photographers often look askance at the “drive by” shooters lined at roadside pull-outs, especially with the firing of automatic flash units. 

NIKON D300,f/4.5 @ 98 mm1/80ISO 200

Having just returned from Big Sur, California, I have a new appreciation for such “convenient” photography locations. While a hike along the coastal cliffs can afford new perspectives, some of our favorite photographs from the California trip were, in fact, shot from designated roadside pull-offs. And so it is with the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s seven wonders offering unsurpassed photography opportunities,  both top side on the rim and on less traveled trails. 

Yavapai Point: sunrise at Grand Canyon. Arizona landscape photography. Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (4)

A few other notes regarding canyon photography:  Circular polarizers are a must at the Grand Canyon and the Southwest generally, as they reduce glare on canyon walls and help to cut through the haze. The only caution is to guard against overly dark blue skies, by dialing down the level of polarization. We’ve found it’s best to shoot a series of any given scene with full and partial polarization.  Use of  lens hoods is also strongly recommended to eliminate stray light and lens flare in cross lighting situations. 

NIKON D300,f/11 @ 200 mm1/30ISO 200

We also found it helpful to use handheld .6 and .9 graduated neutral density filters, to darken the  skies and create more even overall exposures. Finally, I’ve found it most worthwhile  to bracket for 3 – 5 exposures of each scene, using the auto bracketing function on the camera.  Because it’s difficult to view the photographs on the small camera display in the field, the photographs with best exposures are better identified on computer monitor in RAW mode.   

Numb with coldness and wind burned to the max, we headed out of Grand Canyon National Park around 8:30 AM.. That said, my brother Brian and I left the park with a great sense of satisfaction, having experienced another unforgettable morning at the South Rim.

Next stop …. Page, Arizona, for a visit to Lower Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and iconic Horseshoe Bend.

Our travel itinerary and images from the four day Whirlwind Photography Trek to Northern Arizona and Utah.  

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Grand Canyon aplenglow bracket canyon exposure filter geology golden hour hike lighting mittens national park overlook polarizer sky sunrise sunset trail https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/whirlwind-photography-trek-grand-canyon---part-3 Sun, 22 Apr 2012 16:08:22 GMT
Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah - Part 2 Havasupai Falls https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-utah-part-2 Landscape photography of buttes, along the hiking trail to Havasu Falls, Arizona. Havasu Falls Hike, Arizona (2)

Our one and half day photography excursion to Havasupai Falls was fast paced and energized, offering a few surprises along the way. In planning the trip, I advised our group that the falls would not be as scenic as those depicted in earlier photographs, due to a major flood which ravaged the canyon in 2008.

Fortunately, I stand corrected.  Yes, areas of the canyon were damaged and portions of the iconic waterfalls were, in fact, destroyed in the flood.  Yet, nature has a way of rejuvenation and healing transformation. New waterways and plant life abound downstream from the old Navajo Falls, the area most heavily impacted by a massive mudslide. The newly formed Rock Falls (Lower Navajo Falls) are an enchanting oasis in the making.

Our party arrived at the Haulapai Hilltop trail head (elevation: 5,200 feet) at sunrise, around 7 A.M., having lodged at hotel in the small town of Seligman on historic Route 66 (approximately 85 miles to the Southeast).   The first photo opportunities came less than a mile down the trail, with warm sunlight illuminating some buttes in the distant vista.  Much of the 8 mile trail to Supai Village is along a meandering, rock strewn wash. In several stretches of the trail, we found ourselves hiking in the shadows of tall canyon walls.  These are great areas for wide angle photography, with warm indirect light reflected from the canyon walls.

Landscape photograph of Rock Falls (Lower Navajo Falls) in Havasupai Falls, Arizona. Rock Falls (Lower Navajo Falls), Havaupai Falls, Arizona Rock Falls (Lower Navajo Falls) NIKON D300, f/11 @ 95 mm4sISO 200

 

We arrived at Supai Village (elevation: 3,195 feet) in the late morning, got our hiking permits and lunch, and were on the 2 mile trail to Havasu Falls by early afternoon.  We explored and photographed the newly formed Rock Falls area, both on the way to and from Havasu Falls.  However, our best photographs of this area were captured early the next morning, with gold-orange canyon wall reflections on the terraced stream leading from newly formed Upper Navajo Falls to Rock Falls.  

Before the 2008 flood, Havasu Falls (elevation: 2,800 feet) had a distinctive split flow, creating two cascades.  Havasu Falls now flows from one side of a notch, with the water flowing in a single cascade. Parts of the travertine pools were also destroyed in the flood, but the pool areas seem to be rebuilding with rapid accumulation of  calcium carbonate deposits.   In the aftermath of these changes, Havasu Falls remains  a truly scenic place beyond description. Still in my mind today: the vivid sound of cascading water and the sight of crystal clear blue-green water ... soaring canyon walls.

Havasu Falls, Arizona:  a scenic oasis with travertine pools and blue green waters. Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, Arizona

 

Havasu Falls in 2008, before the flood, NIKON D70, f/20 @ 22 mm2 secs

The other unexpected part of the trip wasn’t so fun. The next morning I was stung by a Scorpion not once, but four times. A painful leg injury, but no allergic reaction per se.  An elderly resident of Supai Village recommended that I make a paste of Cottonwood bark and apply this to the stings.  Despite skeptical comments from my hiking party, I followed the kind women’s instructions and enjoyed a few hours of relief with every application of the paste. Luckily, we hardly missed a beat in our hiking that day .....  

Also, the helicopter ride ($85 one way) out of Supai Village proved to be a mixed bag. Lasting 10 or 12 minutes, the ride from the village to the trailhead (Haulapai Hilltop) affords a fresh bird's eye view of the canyon and a real sense of exhilaration. On the downside, we waited four hours for the helicopter ride, as village residents have travel priority. Our party could have hiked out of the canyon in this amount of time, as we did in an earlier visit, capturing some additional photographs on the way. Admittedly, though, we would have been a bit more tired and sore ... 

Landscape photograph of Havasu Falls, Arizona.  Havasu Falls 1, Arizona

Havasu Falls in 2012, four years after the flood,  NIKON D300,

 f/14 @ 22 mm0.3 secs

Video: Havasu Falls, Arizona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right: Video clip of photographers Brian and Marcus Reinkensmeyer setting up tripods at the Havasu Falls overlook, preparing to shoot time exposure images of the  falls in late afternoon, winter light.  Video courtesy of David Reinkensmeyer. 

Southwest landscape photography: Orange canyon wall reflections at Rock Falls (Lower Navajo Falls), Havasupai Falls, Arizona. Canyon Wall Reflections 3, Rock Falls, Arizona

Left: Canyon wall reflections at dawn, on stream leading to Rock Falls, NIKON D300, f/18 @ 65 mm1/8 secsISO 200

 

Regrettably, our tight schedule and the short daylight hours of winter did not allow us to visit nearby Mooney or Beaver Falls.  An extra day in the canyon would have been most welcome, both to visit these downstream areas  and to photograph Havasu and Rock Falls under different lighting conditions.  

The Havasupai Falls were the first leg of our high charged four and half day Whirlwind Photography Trek: Northern Arizona & Utah - Part 1.  See our new on-line gallery in the works, presenting photographs from the expedition.   For discussion regarding river walking and hyper focal landscape photography techniques, check out West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona: Part 2 - Autumn. See also, Landscape Photography Podcast.  MWR 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Havasu Falls Rock Falls canyon cascade exposure filter flood hike hiking landscape lens nature photographers photography polarizer reflections rejuvenation river time exposure trail travertine tripod tripods waterfalls https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/whirlwind-photography-trek-arizona-utah-part-2 Sun, 15 Apr 2012 12:47:31 GMT
Whirlwind Photography Trek: Arizona & Utah - Part 1 https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/northern-arizona-and-utah--a-whirl-wind-photo-trek  

Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona-Utah Border In January, 2012,  we made a whirl wind photo trek to Havasu Falls, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Lower Antelope Canyon (slot canyon) and Horseshoe Bend.  I'm still sorting through lots of images, both of landscapes and people.  Over the next few weeks, we'll post some photos and videos from the trip.

Having visited lots of other parts of the country, I know all too well that it's hard to map out these kind of photo expeditions, to make lodging reservations, etc..  As photographers, we all want to cover as much ground as possible, while still allowing some time for exploration and unscheduled photo shoots.  It's our hope that the travel information shared here may be of help to other photographers and hikers. 

Havasu Falls 2, Arizona The travel itineary for this Arizona-Utah trek was one of our most quick paced to date, involving a bit more driving time than I would prefer for such a brief trip. At the same time, we managed to hit all of our photography destinations on schedule with ample shooting time. It was also a great opportunity for my nephew and niece to experience many different facets of the great Southwest.

Our guiding principles in landscape photography trip planning:

  • Map out photography destinations and logistics in the early trip planning, taking into account lighting conditions and hiking times. 
  • Be in position - "on the scene" - to capture  photos during the Golden Hour, both in the mornings and evenings. 
  • Schedule automobile travel from to mid-mornings to mid-afternoon and during the darkness of night. 
  • Carry lots of nutritious snacks and water in the vehicle and backpacks, allowing the team to hike and photograph through regular meal times.         

Our schedule for this most recent 4.5 day photography trip to Northern Arizona and Utah: 

  • Wed evening: Travel to a hotel in Seligman, a small town approximately 85 miles from Haulapai Hilltop (trailhead for the hike to Supai Village)

  • Thur AM: Travel to Haulapai Hilltop (trail head) and hike 9 miles to Supai Village, check into lodge and have lunch

  • Thurs PM: Hike 2 miles for photo shoots at Havasu and Rock Falls

  • Friday AM:  Hike 2 miles for photo shoot at Rock and Navajo Falls

  • Friday Noon: Helicopter back to trailhead parking lot

  • Friday afternoon: Travel to the Grand Canyon (Hopi Point), South Rim, for sunset photos

  • Saturday AM: Sunrise photos at Grand Canyon (Yavapai Point)

  • Saturday AM: Travel to Page for photography in Lower Antelope Canyon 

  • Saturday PM: Off road drive into Utah to Alstrom Point, for sunset photos of Lake Powell

  • Sunday AM: Photography at Horseshoe Bend, outside of Page

  • Sunday mid-day: Return trip to Phoenix

  • Sunday evening: Family barbeque, sharing of unedited photos on I-pad and war stories "from the field," with color commentary from my brother and fellow photographer, Brian Reinkensmeyer. 

Havasu Falls and Canyon Wall Reflections 1, Arizona In retrospect, although this photography trip was one of our most productive, an extra day or two would have been ideal.  Our tight schedule did not permit us to visit Mooney or Beaver Falls. Also, as luck would have it, lighting conditions during our one afternoon at Havasu Falls were not ideal. One extra day in Supai Village would provide ample time to visit the more remote waterfalls and to photograph the falls under different lighting conditions throughout the day.  

Additional time at the Grand Canyon would also be desirable, allowing time for some day hikes on the Kaibab or Bright Angel Trails. Here again, a longer stay at the canyon also increases the likelihood of some interesting cloud formations or weather, making for unique canyon images.     

In planning this trip and other Arizona-Utah photography expeditions, we've found Laurent Matres' book, Photographing the Southwest: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of Arizona, to be a most valuable reference. The updated version of the book (2nd edition) includes many colored landscape photos, detailed travel directions and practical shooting tips.  

More about our whirlwind photography trip to follow shortly, in Part 2:  Havasupai Falls.

Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (5)

 

Grand Canyon, South Rim, Hopi Point

Related posts: Antelope Canyon, Snow Laced Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls

For more Arizona images and hyper focal landscape photography techniques, see Autumn Colors: Hart Prairie Road, Flagstaff, Arizona and West Fork Trail, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona: Part 2 - Autumn

Murphy's Law can create some unforeseen travel challenges, despite the most careful trip planning, Yosemite Winter Landscapes: Photography Field Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona GPS Utah canyon exposure falls filter gear geology guide hike hiking iconic lake landscape landscape photography map mountains navigation photography planning polarizer river southwest time exposure trail travel trees tripod waterfalls https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/northern-arizona-and-utah--a-whirl-wind-photo-trek Sun, 08 Apr 2012 01:50:35 GMT
Capture My Arizona: Reinkensmeyer's "Grand Canyon" is Photo of the Day https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/capture-my-arizona-names-reinkensmeyers-grand-canyon-photo-of-the-day Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona A new photo sharing website, Capture My Arizona, named this Grand Canyon image today's Photo of the Day. The image was captured  during our whirlwind photography trip to Northern Arizona and Utah in January of this year. Shooting conditions were good, with dramatic late afternoon cross lighting on a cold and windy day at Hopi Point, South Rim of the Canyon. More to follow on this great trip ....

 

Millions of years of exposed geology basking in "Golden Hour" sunlight. 

NIKON D300, f/13 @ 150 mm1/10,ISO 200

   

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Arizona Capture My Arizona Grand Canyon Hopi Point National Park geology landscape photography southwest https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/4/capture-my-arizona-names-reinkensmeyers-grand-canyon-photo-of-the-day Tue, 03 Apr 2012 05:40:50 GMT
Natural Coastline Shift: Big Beach, Maui, Hawaii https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/3/natural-shift--big-beach--maui--hawaii   Big Beach, Makena State Beach, Maui, Hawaii        Natural Shift: Big Beach, Makena State Beach, Maui, Hawaii

What a difference, in a fraction of a second ... The somewhat abstract photograph on the right is the result of a fortuitous "accident" - a strong undertow current shifting my tripod sideways during a time exposure. I was using a long shutter speed to capture a "blurred" effect in the white surf, depicting the water movement around the stationary lava rocks.  Bracketing was employed to capture proper exposure, shooting three photographs of this scene.

 
Now one of my favorite images of the Hawaii trip, the abstract photograph portrays the tremendous force of the sea and the relentless interplay of water, rock and sand.
 
See also, other abstracts and patterns in nature.
 
Left photo: NIKON D300, f/18 @ 12 mm0.4sISO 250. 
Right photo:  NIKON D300, f/20 12 mm1/4ISO 250. 
 
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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Big Beach Hawaii Maui abstract coastline island lava rock sand surf time exposure water waves https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/3/natural-shift--big-beach--maui--hawaii Sat, 10 Mar 2012 12:16:53 GMT
Thanks: Reinkensmeyer named Photographer's Edge Photographer of the Quarter https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/3/reinkensmeyer-named-photographers-edge-photographer-of-the-quarter Our sincere thanks to all of you who casted a vote, as Marcus has been named the Photographer's Edge Photographer of the Quarter, for publication in Spring, 2012.  Original contest submission.

Blue Misty Shoreline, Maui, Hawaii

Mystical island waterfront. This time exposure image was captured in the pre-dawn light,  on a rocky shoreline near Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. I was especially intrigued by the interplay of constantly shifting waves and the stationary black lava rock at this secluded beach. 

NIKON D300, f/22 @ 14 mm, 15s, ISO 200

Other photos from Hawaii

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Hawaii Lahaina Maui blue coastline lava rock mist pre-dawn surf time exposure https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/3/reinkensmeyer-named-photographers-edge-photographer-of-the-quarter Sat, 03 Mar 2012 13:21:36 GMT
Yosemite National Park: Lessons learned the hard way https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/2/yosemite-national-park---lessons-learned-the-hard-way Merced River Reflections, Yosemite National Park, California

 

Location where the "focused" photographer, Marcus Reinkensmeyer, fell through the ice while shooting reflections, despite repeated warnings from his younger brother, Brian. Luckily, the freezing river water was only waist high ... Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California.  

 NIKON D300, f/14 @ 14 mm1/8,ISO 200. 

For the "rest of the story" and some winter photography tips, see Yosemite Winter Landscapes: Photography Field Notes

 

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reinkensmeyer@me.com (Marcus W. Reinkensmeyer) Merced River Yosemite National Park ice landscape photography reflection snow https://www.mwrphotos.com/blog/2012/2/yosemite-national-park---lessons-learned-the-hard-way Sat, 25 Feb 2012 15:13:18 GMT