Archive for the ‘Single-Image Sunday’ Tag

Single-image Sunday: Departure   2 comments

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a single-image Sunday post, and also a long time since I’ve gotten a new lens.  This is the first light for my new Sigma 150-600 mm.  At just over 200 mm. it isn’t an image that really shows off the reason I got the lens, which is wildlife.  I’m happy with it so far.  Sure it’s heavy, but that comes with the territory.  I still haven’t decided whether I’m using it during the eclipse.

This is just an average storm moving in over the Atlantic coast of Florida.  The view is north toward Cape Canaveral as two cruise ships depart for the Caribbean.  They typically set sail in late afternoon, but will try to go a little earlier if the storms are kicking up.  This is the same direction, by the way, that you’d look for Space X’s rocket launches, which take off from the Cape.

Tomorrow is eclipse day, and the weather forecast here in Tennessee is for mostly clear weather.  Yippee!  For everyone in the path, here’s hoping your skies are clear and you have a wonderful day.  Enjoy!

Canon 5D Mark III w/Sigma 150-600 mm. lens: 221 mm. hand-held: 1/1600 sec. @ f/8, ISO 400.

Single-image Sunday: Fog and Fall Color   4 comments

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Photographing fall color is never quite as easy as it seems.  It’s so easy to get excited about the vibrant trees, especially when they first turn.   I often find myself pointing the camera wherever the trees are, forgetting about finding interesting compositions and light.  And I know I’m not alone in that.  But after a bit of the enthusiasm wears off, it’s easier to settle down and shoot properly.

This morning in north-central Colorado was pretty dull.  The light at sunrise was not cutting it, and then the sun rose bright and harsh.  Although elevations are high in this area south of Steamboat Springs, there are no sharp rugged peaks.  But the area is spectacular in its own way.  The Colorado River, still fairly modest in size this close to the headwaters, winds through farmland and then plunges into Gore Canyon.

Gore Canyon was one of the major obstacles to a trans-continental railroad.  An early Denver railroad magnate named David Moffat dreamed of building tracks through and over the Rocky Mountains to tap the mining and cattle trade.  But it took a crew of death-defying men, called Argo’s Squirrels (J.J. Argo was crew leader) to complete it.

To survey the route through Gore Canyon, considered unnavigable at the time, the Squirrels came up with a plan.  Some of the crew floated logs down the river while others lowered themselves by rope down the vertical granite walls to river level.  Once there, they drove steel pegs into the rock, then caught and attached the logs to the pegs by rope, forming a precarious scaffolding.

This way the crew had a walkway, just above the raging whitewater, from which to survey the route.  Old pictures show the Squirrels seemingly at ease on the spindly logs a few feet from certain death by drowning.  They wore no life jackets, but amazingly no lives were lost.  It’s also interesting that most of the men were immigrants.

Nowadays Gore Canyon is famous among rafters and kayakers for being one of the roughest sections of whitewater in the country.  Gore Rapid is a solid Class V.  You can do a commercially-guided raft trip through the canyon, but you better be ready.  It’s considered by many to be the wildest whitewater accessible by guided trip in the U.S.  A much calmer way to see the roadless and remote canyon is to take the California Zephyr, a scenic train trip over the Rockies and on to the west coast.

Back to the picture:  I had stopped to make coffee, at a place that overlooks the river valley just upstream from Gore Canyon.  The sun was busy burning off a bank of ground fog that had collected overnight along the river.  Cold fall mornings that give way to warm sunny afternoons are perfect for this kind of fog.  I could see cottonwoods along the river, in full color, just peeking out of the fog bank.  I was some distance from the river, so I got my long lens out and zoomed in on groups of the golden trees as they emerged from the fog.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of a remote but interesting corner of Colorado.  Have a great week!

Single Image Sunday: Beacon Rock   7 comments

I often go through these little obsessions with photography.  My mind just keeps coming back to a specific image I want.  Lately it’s been getting a great picture of Beacon Rock, a famous landmark in the Columbia River Gorge near home in Oregon.  Lewis and Clark and their men, the first whites to explore the Pacific Northwest extensively, make mention of it in their journals.  This to date is one of only two good shots I’ve gotten of it.

I’m not satisfied yet; I want a great picture not a good one.  I have another place in mind; I went there once but the river was too high to get a view.  You need to sneak across private land to get to it.  The great thing is that once you’re there you are technically legal.  All Oregon rivers navigable by boat are public property up to the high-water line, a legacy of the great environmentalist and outdoorsman governor Tom McCall.  Still don’t want to get caught though.  I have in my mind a picture of fog parting at sunrise, framing the rock in golden light.  Wish me luck!

One of the problems with Beacon is that it is difficult to get access (without a boat at least) to a good viewpoint of it.  You can get very close to and very far from it quite easily.  But that sweet middle distance?  Not so easy.  This was shot awhile back from a point directly across the river from it, one of the very few views of it from this distance.  It lies in Washington and I’m standing on the Oregon side.

I like using Sunday to post a single shot that illustrates the topic on the previous Friday’s Foto Talk.  In this case it was on whether to convert to black and white. The light was pretty nice, a low sun in the west (left) giving some depth to an image that badly needed it.  In other words it is not a bad color image.

I converted to black and white using Nik Silver Effex  It has a very subtle sepia tone, which lends a bit of warmth, not too much.  The color version has what I call a russet warmth and I wanted something a little different.  I also gave it a narrow dark vignette.  I don’t know about you, but when I take a color image and make it black and white, I always mourn a little at the loss of certain colors.  In this case it is the deep green of the trees and grass in the foreground, plus the nice orange-brown of the clouds.  With black and white, you have to give something up to gain something.  Please let me know if you like it or not.  Thanks a lot!

A view across the Columbia River to Beacon Rock, Washington.

A view across the Columbia River to Beacon Rock, Washington.

Single-Image Sunday: Burnt Orange River   3 comments

The other evening I went out to the Columbia River near home in Oregon and this was the very last image I captured, just before it got dark.  I posted on “blue hour” recently, and this is very very late blue hour.  The exposure was 30 seconds, f/11 & ISO 400.

An unusual color develops in the dusk sky along the lower Columbia River In Oregon.

An unusual color develops in the dusk sky along the lower Columbia River In Oregon.

While dark was coming on fast, looking west (downriver) here gave me plenty of ambient light for a long exposure. One of the reasons I chose this image was because my last post was on reflections, and this is an excellent example. The light was being reflected off the clouds and then again off the river.  Its unique burnt orange color is mostly because of nearby Portland’s city lights.  You can see it in the sky.  But when that light is reflected in turn from the water (which is smoothed by the long exposure), other colors are mixed in and it ends up a very unique blend of orange, blue and green.  I think It’s a very interesting hue.  Do you agree?

I had already packed up and was headed back up to my bike when I noticed this very subtle color.  I knew a long exposure would bring it out even more in an image, so I went ahead and set up my tripod and camera again.  How many times have I done this, packing up and then changing my mind?  Hundreds, thousands?  The pilings make a very simple subject in a simple image.

Hope you enjoy it.  If you’re interested in purchase options (print, download, etc.) just click it.  Once you have the high-res. version in front of you, click “purchase options”.  It’s copyrighted and not available for download without my permission, sorry ’bout that.  If you have any questions, please contact me.  As always I welcome any comments and questions here as well.  Thanks for looking!

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