Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Folly, my beach

I was back at the beach this afternoon, but it was for a different reason.  I was babysitting my granddaughter. The crowds have left for the most part, it was a weekday afternoon, so few locals were there either.  I love that on Folly you can still feel as though it's your very own beach.  I was photographing Euphrates as she explored the tidal pools and dashed fearlessly in and out of the surf, and for so many of the resulting images, she was the only person in the frame.  How awesome is that! In the summer I will find other places to go, but now and for the next few months, it's all mine.  I even get offended that I am expected to put money in a box to park down there, but if you hunt around you can usually find a free spot on the street.  Here me, Town of Folly Beach, charge the tourists in the summer if you have to, but leave the locals be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The total lunar eclipse of September 2015

I had been looking forward to and planning for this event for months.  I had arranged to rent a special lens to best capture the fine detail, and cleared my calendar so that I could travel to find clear skies if need be, so imagine my dismay when the weather maps showed nothing but cloud the size of four states for the days before, during and after the event. There are some things you just have to roll with, being obviously out of the bounds of human control. Fortunately I was able to cancel my special lens rental without penalty, and there was no sense in traveling anywhere since the viewing was going to be a crapshoot throughout the entire Southeast.  I managed to snag a few shots through hazy cloud before the show finally succumbed to clouds too dense to permit any further expectations. This is a fun composite I put together of the eclipse progression into totality before I gave up and went to bed at around midnight.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hunting Island's Boneyard Beach

I took a drive down to Hunting Island State Park to do some long exposure tidal photography.  It was fun to create patterns created by the moving water as it swirled around the dead wood littering the beach.  Here are some of them after editing using sepia tones to create a unified look.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lower Antelope Canyon, Page AZ

Next stop on my whirlwind tour of the Southwest was Page, AZ. I had admired the beauty of the Antelope slot canyons, both upper and lower for years.  Both are amazing, but the Lower Antelope Canyon is usually less crowded because it requires more effort to access. There is a walk to the entry point, and then follow a series of ladders, some very steep, going down on to the canyon floor.  I chose the less crowded option and took the Photographer's Tour which is more expensive but allows tripods and smaller groups - very necessary and not enough to allow for the time it takes to do this justice.  You still feel rushed with people pressing from behind and guides herding and prodding, but you do the best you can. Another location checked off my bucket list.  One feels a greater sense of urgency as one gets older.  Who knows how long I will still be nimble enough to climb up and down ladders and squeeze through tiny gaps :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Imperial Point Sunrise, North Rim

After we had made our way down from Hunt's Mesa, everyone said their goodbyes and went their different ways.  I headed for the North Rim, Grand Canyon, about a 4 hour drive from Monument Valley via Page.  I arrived just in time for sunset which unfortunately was a non-event, since a heavy layer of clouds obscured the sun.  It was part of a moving weather system that was responsible for all the flooding in Zion, Utah a day or so previously.  Oh well, can't win 'em all, and if you don't show up, you can't win any.  The next morning more than made up for my disappointment however as the storm was clearing out of the area and the sun broke through with glorious diffused light.  I had been waiting in the cold pre-dawn for forty five minutes, thinking I would have to get ahead of the usual crowd of photographers, but no one else showed up. There was a howling gale roaring through the canyon, and it was all I could do to hold on to my tripod.  Sometimes I had to anchor myself to the railing around the view point; another mini adventure but I was happy to pay the price.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Hunt's Mesa Experience

This was the highlight of my Monument Valley visit, and really the reason I signed up for this Southwestern Perspectives photo workshop. It did not disappoint. The views of Monument Valley from the top of course are other-worldly and quite spectacular, but the overall experience; the getting there, the supper of steaks cooked over the open fire, the overnight camp in a tiny tent, the "modesty bushes" provided by nature for personal ablutions ... these were all moments in time that will be treasured forever.  Would I want to ride up and down that rocky footpath again in the 4x4 custom fitted Suburban, with thousand foot drops only inches from the spinning wheels?  Probably not, but I wouldn't have missed any of it for anything.  Thanks to our wonderful Navajo guides, cooks and support team, and thanks to Derek and Suzanne, our workshop leaders, who put it all together.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

More from Monument Valley

These images are from day 2 in Monument Valley.  We were with a Navajo guide who knows the valley like the back of his hand.  When you go, do yourself a favor and invest the extra time and money.  Very few of the places we went are accessible to the public without a guide, and ours was so knowledgeable.  This was sunrise and early morning.  Next I will post some amazing views from the top of Hunt's Mesa down into the valley, a trip that shouldn't be undertaken by the faint-hearted!  Stay tuned ...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hello Monument Valley

For the next week or so I will be checking two destinations off my travel bucket list; Monument Valley and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  I'm participating in a workshop with a small group of other photographers (really fun people) and the getting up early, hiking, carrying heavy equipment around is really tiring, but so worth it.  I love this red rock country - makes me want to keep breaking out into my happy dance, when I have the energy that is.  Here are a few from our first couple of shoots.