Monday, April 30, 2012

The Verdant Lagoon



The Verdant Lagoon
THAI041008
June 2004


While kayaking through the archipelago of Ang Thong National Marine Park, off the southern coast of Thailand, I visited at several different islands to tie up and hike inside.  This one, who's name I did not catch, had a steep hike up, which crested over this aquamarine lagoon sitting in the middle (yes this is the original color, no photoshopping).  It was fed from the ocean, but maintained its own unique ecosystem within the island.  The whole park was a beautiful day trip for those who love kayaking; being out on the warm water, kayaking through sea caves, reveling in the bliss of the day.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: NIkon N80
Film: Fuji Provia 100F
Lens: Nikon 28-135 mm f/3.5-4.5
Focal length: 28 mm
Exposure: 1/80   f/8   ISO 400
Post-processing: Scanned on a Nikon Coolscan 5000; toning and curves adjustment in PS4

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Tree of Epiphytes

The Tree of Epiphytes
GUAT07D-283
June 7, 2007


Sticking with Guatemala again, that beautiful Central American country.  This was found in Tikal, one of the great ruined cities of the Mayan culture.  I loved exploring the ruins of this country, especially the out-of-the-way ones like Yaxha, but Tikal is not to be missed.  It is the most immense ruin complex, and a lot of it has been reclaimed from the jungle.  However, the trees still abound; and here, right in the middle of the city, was this magnificent tree.  Covered in various epiphytes, mosses and lichens and orchids and bromeliads, the tree was a symbol of the struggle that is evident throughout the jungle, organisms clinging to each other for mutual support and protection.  I loved the complexity of the tree, its ecological importance and meaning.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Lens: n/a
Focal length:  6.3 mm
Exposure: 1/320 @ f/7.1  ISO 200
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Deepening Jungle

The Deepening Jungle
GUAT07D-197
June 3, 2007

Central America, the depths of Guatemala, highlight today's image.  This is down from the beautiful Semuc Champey area, and the water is still that bright aquamarine water flowing downstream.  But the hillsides, the jagged limestone that protrudes from the thick canopy of greenery, are so rugged, offering a glimpse of how vicious and wild this landscape can be.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  20 mm
Exposure: 1/80 @ f/3.8  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunset over Roosevelt's Country

Sunset over Roosevelt's Country
THRO09D-44
July 10, 2009

Today's shot comprises a second set of Badlands.  Not the National Park in South Dakota, but instead Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  Similar geology marks both parks, but the badlands in the north seem older.  Their peaks are less sharp, there is more scrub vegetation mixed in with the striated rock, and more wildlife (antelope, prairie dog, and bison just to name the big few).  This was looking across a short valley as the sun gently set, with the ever-present summer storm clouds passing across the sky.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  80 mm
Exposure: 1/8 @ f/16  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Monday, April 23, 2012

White Over the Badlands

White Over the Badlands
SDAK09D-28
July 3, 2009


Still with the Badlands, seeing the little bit of road at the bottom center before this massive cloud structure.  I was amazed at how photogenic the Badlands were.  If you look back at this latest series, you'll see a lot of them were taken on July 3rd.  That is the day I arrived there, after driving for ~13 hours from Illinois (a very early wake up).  The landscape immediately seemed to open up for me, and I barely had to leave the road to find these high-contrast, jaw-dropping landscapes.  This one featured a great wall of striated rock, above which the summer thunderstorm which had drenched me on the drive to the park was lifting and clearing, leaving these fluffy white clouds the towered over the ground.  I felt that the scene worked better in black and white, given the high contrast of the area.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  38 mm
Exposure: 1/50 @ f/16  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Painted Landscape

A Painted Landscape
SDAK09D-8
July 3, 2009

It was amazing, when first encountering the Badlands of South Dakota, how similar they were in some respects to the other canyons in the southwest, especially Bryce Canyon.  The striations, the unevenness and seeming random arrangement of the formations, all seem familiar.  Of course, they are totally different landscapes, when you get down to it, but still it is interesting to consider, on this Friday morning, when I'd rather be out hiking either one with the incredible Sarah.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  85 mm
Exposure: 1/10 @ f/16  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NG's Iconic Places to Photograph


Ah, National Geographic.  You always know how to tickle my wanderlust.  Today in my email box up popped a regular message from NG (cause I over-subscribe to them, getting emails on just about anything they can dream up to send me), and lo and behold, out pops their Top 10 Iconic Places to Photograph.  I don't think there is a photographer alive who would not drool over any of these places:

  • Antarctica
  • Venice, Italy
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Stonehenge, England
  • Taj Mahal, India
  • Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
  • Ta Phram Temple (Angkor Wat), Cambodia
  • The Serengeti, Tanzania
  • Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Looking over that list, I would have to pick out my few favorites.  Machu Picchu would be close to the top if not all the way there.  I would love the long trek up to the mountain, and then to stand amongst the ruins and see the immensity of what the Inca achieved there.  Rapa Nui would be another goal, out in the middle of the Pacific, seeing the moai as testaments to the failed culture.  And then there is the beauty of another ruined culture, the great temples of the Angkor kingdom in Cambodia, now swallowed up by the jungle.  And last, but certainly not least, the Serengeti, with its megafauna (and a lot of microfauna as well), through the Ngorongoro crater, the migrations of wildebeast.  (Though, in all honesty, I would prefer to see the Okavango delta in full flood, but let's not quibble).  Such a great list, I couldn't really narrow it lower than those 4, and in truth I'd love to see any of the 10; they are all such amazing adventure and photographic opportunities.  How about you?  Which would be at the top of your list??  Enjoy.

The Dreary Badlands



The Dreary Badlands
SDAK09D-55_pan
July 4, 2009

A stark contrast from yesterday's cheerful, sunny panorama, today we see the storm-clouded side of the Badlands, which I think really highlights their name.  This storm rolled through, as this panorama was taken just a day after my arrival in the Badlands (when yesterday's image was composed).  But this expanse, with the scraggly green dotted here and there, but dominated by the unending brown, desolate-looking landscape.  In a way it reminds me of my shot at the travertine terraces of Yellowstone, which also exudes this lonely aura.  All the same, I like the moodiness, so enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  18 mm
Exposure: 1/60 @ f/16  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Badlands Panoramic



Badlands Panoramic
SDAK09D-9_pan
July 3, 2009

Sticking with the Dakota images still, since this one provides such a beautiful landscape and a very sharp depiction of what the Badlands look like.  The colored rock, worn away from eons of action by rivers and inland seas, now lays bare to the view of all, the strata of ages open to the sky.  The whole area is incredible, because it doesn't strike you as canyon country, this small area is surrounded by vast prairie that run right up to the park before falling away.  Driving up to it, you wouldn't know that there were these formations, the land seems so flat (and the Badlands are not mountains, despite what it looks like here... instead you drive/hike down into the canyon, then look back up to where the average height of the land is).  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  24 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/4  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Destinations: Cordillera Huayhuash

Destinations: Cordillera Huayhuash
Peru
-10.267, -76.9 (highest point, Yerupaj√°)

If you've seen any bits of this blog, then you know I love the outdoors, and I love to hike.  It's probably not surprising that most of my dream destinations involve the wide open spaces, the infinite variety of geography on this planet.  So many incredible areas, I wish I had the funds and time to visit them all.  But for now, this blog will serve as a list of my highlights and desires.

Today we're back in South America, for a different mountainous landscape than we saw earlier with Mt. Roraima: the incredible Cordillera Huayhuash.  This small, 30km range rises through several areas, including the Ancash, Lima, and Huanuco regions.The Huayhuash also encompasses several lakes and peaks over 6,000 m (see the map from SummitPost below).

Peru

Peru

This is not the most popular route through Peru (that would be the busy Inca Trail, which winds up to the ruins of Machu Picchu), this one is certainly more demanding.  Most of the trail is above the treeline (4,000 m), so grasslands and landscapes typical of the paramo dominate, punctuated by lofty peaks. It is dry during the middle of the year, and that is generally considered the best time to go and explore the area. 
  Peru
The area is also noted for its glaciers, which dot the spaces between the mountains and passes, as well as the glacial lakes that are fed from the runoff of the ice. 

Tepuis


From what I've read, the trek takes about 10-14 days, and during that time you are likely not to see another foreign tourist, only local Peruvians that inhabit the few towns you trek through.  The area is generally considered safe these days; the area was once a base for the rebel group Shining Path, and though there have been attacks in the past (1990s and before), the locals have taken security into their own hands.  There is a "security fee" charged in order to help provide them with means, but it seems a small price to pay to be able to trek safely through this region.
Thank you to Jack Brauer and his blog Mountain Photographer, which supplied this destination file with most of the images.  Check out his fantastic collection of images while trekking here.

Peru

Peru Peru

Spring Frolic



Spring Frolic
SDAK09D-22
July 6, 2009

Ah spring, such a fun jovial time.  While this image was taken in the middle of summer, it still has a spring feeling to it.  While heading through the Black Hills of South Dakota, these young pronghorn were playing with one another, jumping, frolicking together, hiding behind trees and jumping out at their buddies.  It was such a peaceful scene (unfortunately ruined by a loud motorcycle that revved up the highway not too far away), the kind you always want to stumble upon while heading through the mountains.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 80-200 mm f/2.8
Focal length:  200 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/4  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Badlands Cactus

Badlands Cactus
BADL09D-64
July 4, 2009

It is fitting that there should be prickly pear growing in the Badlands of South Dakota, that place has such a barren feel to it at times it would be forgiven if you thought you were transported hundreds of miles south to the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, or southern Utah.  But this spiny inhabitant makes its home in the intricate erosion landscape of the Badlands, and on that gray July 4th day, hiking out in the wilderness it seemed a fitting portrait of the day.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  32 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/16  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Final Approach to the Lookout


Final Approach to the Lookout
BHUT10D-88
November 16, 2010





Wrapping up the week back in Bhutan, this country of beauty and mystery.  Prayer flags are habitually left up forever, no one ever takes them down regardless of their age.  These flags were situated near the top of a trail to the point that overlooked the town of Timphu, down in the valley below, with a sight of the river.  These prayer flags were old and tattered, having long blown their good wishes to the valley below, but remained a beautiful scene, serene in its simplicity and still powerful spirituality.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  32 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/16  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flat Water over Flat Land


Flat Water over Flat Land

ALAK08D-719
September 5, 2008


Yikes, I've been remiss in posting images.  My apologies.  Today we visit Alaska again, to see the wide open tundra of the north which is so fascinating and beautiful.  It is strange to see a natural landscape that is both lush and also without a single tree in sight (you can see that on the cornfields of Illinois, but it doesn't quite have the same feel to it).  And the emptiness of the sky, it's lovely.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  32 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/16  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beach over the Water

Beach over the Water
SLBE10D-35_pan
June 9, 2010

My apologies for missing Friday; a pretty nasty sinus infection got the better of me, and I was sidelined all day.  But today I am back, mostly, and wanted to keep up with the posting that should have gone out Friday.  This is from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, an interesting and very beautiful place to roam around.  You walk out to the end of the sand, looking out over a body of water so large you'd swear it was an ocean.  It was brisk and crisp, even in June, and you could see the summer clouds popcorning across the sky.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: NIkon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal length:  32 mm
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/16  ISO 400
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sinuous Silver Serpent

Sinuous Silver Serpent
SDAK08D-73
July 7, 2009

Today we are in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in Custer State Park.  This small cascade was running down a steep part of the trail, slicing between rocks like a kayaker, twisting and turning all the time.  This part of the cascade is not very large, maybe a couple feet high at most, but it formed a portion of a multi-step waterfall that ran about a hundred feet down the hill.  I love the s-curve the water makes between the boulders, and the patch of green at the top left from the moss.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Sigma 10-20 mm f/4-5.6
Focal length:  17 mm
Exposure: 1.6 sec @ f/16  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Teton Storm Clearing

Teton Storm Clearing
GRTE050104
September 7, 2005

Digging way back into the archives this morning for an image that dates back to 2005, my last visit to the fabulous Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  This was shot on the approach to Cascade Canyon, watching as the storm that had clung to the granite hills slowly dissipated, leaving a fog that would burn off as the day continued.  I like the haunted look to this image, the overall mystery that is involved with the fog seeping through the trees.  I hope you do as well.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon N80
Film: Fuji Provia 100F
Lens: n/a
Focal length:  n/a
Exposure: n/a  ISO 100
Post-processing: Scanned on a Nikon Coolscan 5000; minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dutch Harbor

Dutch Harbor
ALAK08D-190
July 25, 2008

Alright, enough with the fishes (for now).  This week we're back to our normal helter-skelter of images.  Today we head back up to Alaska, a beautiful destination, to Dutch Harbor, home of the Deadliest Catch crews.  This image, overlooking a secluded part of the harbor on the back of the island, has some beautiful light.  The main elements are not terribly interesting in some views, but the calm of the water, the soft light on the hillside, the lone seaplane sitting there, all combines to make a lovely soft morning image.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Sigma 10-20 mm f/4-5.6
Focal length:  20 mm
Exposure: 1/320 @ f/8  ISO 100
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Phantom Shark

A Phantom Shark
ATLA12D-99
March 18, 2012

So, Aquarium Week officially ended last week, tis true, but I couldn't help but show of one more photo from the Georgia Aquarium, again centering on my favorite of the exhibits, the mega-tank with whale sharks, manta rays, and more.  These are incredible animals, and it is unbelievable that they have been able to thrive in captivity like this.  I would love to see them in person in the wild.  Hopefully one day.  Enjoy.

Technical notes:
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Nikon 50 mm f/1.4
Focal length:  50 mm
Exposure: 1/40 @ f/3.2  ISO 640
Post-processing: Minor tone adjusted with PS 4 and LR 1.4.