Archive for the ‘Two for Tuesday’ Tag

Two for Tuesday: Autumn’s Brief Glory   7 comments

Quaking aspen, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.

Quaking aspen, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.

This fall, it’s sad to say, has for me been unlike most years.  I’m not in a place that has real seasons, and so am missing the show that deciduous trees put on at this time of year throughout the northern hemisphere’s temperate latitudes.  But don’t feel sorry.  Over the past few years I’ve been able to take a lot of time, mostly in the Rocky Mountain states, photographing fall colors.

Autumn in the Rockies is all about the quaking aspen.  Starting in early September in the north and going to first of November in New Mexico, aspens spend all too brief a time showing off the dazzling golden hues they are famous for.  Since I love transitions, I like shooting aspens as their color is just coming on, when a lot of subtle greens and other hues compete with the yellows.  I like going late too, when they are starting to lose their leaves.  It’s when the trees’ graceful silvery trunks show through, and when an early winter storm is more likely to mantle them with new-fallen snow.

This pair of images, though from two different places, purposely show only the trees, with no mountains, cabins or other elements to distract your eye.  I even avoided colorful sky and dramatic light.  The first picture, at top, was captured in early October near the peak of color.  The second image below was actually captured a few days earlier than the first but on a different year and at a higher elevation near Aspen, Colorado.  These trees were desperately holding on to their last leaves, exposing their elegant white trunks.  A beautiful forest of blue spruce is in the background.

I hope you’ve been able to get out and enjoy some crisp and colorful fall days this year.  If not and you’re in the right place, don’t waste anymore time.  Winter is coming!  Thanks for visiting.

Nearly bare quaking aspen: Maroon Valley, Colorado.

Nearly bare quaking aspen: Maroon Valley, Colorado.

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Posted October 11, 2016 by MJF Images in trees

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Two for Tuesday: Close-up Signs of Spring   12 comments

Orange globe mallow in bloom.

Orange globe mallow in bloom.

Yesterday was the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.  So in celebration here’s a Two for Tuesday post.  It’s where I post two photos that are related to each other in some way.

This pair shows a couple closely related signs of Spring.   During a splendid hike through a desert canyon recently, the season was springing forth in typical desert fashion.  Spring rarely bowls you over in the desert.  But the closer you look the more you see.  It’s why both of these are close-up shots.

The hummingbird surprised me at first when he buzzed by my head, looking straight at me hovering a couple feet away before zooming off to perch on his branch.  I wondered why he was there at first, but then walkiaround I found a spring with some flowers blooming.  In fact the further up the little draw I walked the more like a lush oasis it seemed.

This little hummer was spending part of his morning checking out the visitor to his little oasis near a spring in a desert canyon: Death Valley National Park.

This little hummer was spending part of his morning checking out the visitor to his little oasis near a spring in a desert canyon: Death Valley National Park.

Get out there and enjoy springtime (or autumn for my southern hemisphere friends).  And thanks for checking in!

Two for Tuesday: A Close Call   31 comments

Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado.

Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado.

Normally my Two for Tuesday series is about someone (or something) other than myself.  This time I’ll share a personal story, something scary that happened to me recently.

I’ve been traveling in Colorado, and made a swing through the Aspen area for the quaking aspen in fall color.  I wasn’t really planning to go to the ever-popular Maroon Bells, but found myself  driving up there as sunset approached.  I knew there was no way I would be shooting the “Bells” from Maroon Lake.  There are already about a million too-many shots of this on the internet and on walls everywhere.

Instead, I hiked past the throngs milling around the lake and on up-valley.  The lake is only a few minutes’ walk from the parking lot, and is admittedly quite scenic.  If you visit this area for the first time, go ahead and shoot from there.  I did on my first visit.  I’m really not trying to be smug.  But if you’re a serious photographer, I think you’ll want to get your own take on the place and avoid the tired composition that has been shot to death.

I climbed up an avalanche chute, bushwacking through the colorful but infuriating undergrowth.  I was sure I’d miss sunset, or rather the colorful skies as the sun set behind the mountains.  The trees and brush were in my way and it was getting steeper.  But I found a rock outcrop and, breathing hard, scrambled up.  I crept out to the edge and got a great view with aspens in the foreground (image at top).  I switched lenses from my Zeiss 21 mm. to the 50 mm. lens.  This was a crucial decision.

Next day I drove to another part of Colorado.  A couple evenings later I was shooting sunset and noticed an empty spot in my camera pack.  My Zeiss 21 mm. lens was gone!  This is a fairly new lens, currently the most expensive one I own.  So I was devastated.

On the computer I reviewed the metadata for all my recent images.  Although I had stopped and shot at a bunch of different spots to shoot, the last time I had used the Zeiss was shooting at the Maroon Bells.  Hooray for metadata!  Next morning I started the journey back across central Colorado, checking every place I had stopped, just in case the lens had somehow dropped out.  In the back of my mind I suspected it was at either at that rock outcrop or it was gone for good.

By late afternoon I was back hiking past all the photographers at Maroon Lake.  I had trouble finding the spot again.  It was just a random spot on the mountainside, away from any trail.  But toward sunset I recognized a tree and then the rock outcrop.  I was nervous; this was my last chance.  But I finally allowed myself to look down at where I’d been shooting.  And there it was!  It sat happily in the aspen leaves a foot or so from the edge of the cliff.

My shouts of joy echoed off the Maroon Bells.  I thanked the gods that I wasn’t the type of person who shoots from all the usual spots.  Needless to say, had I been at the lake that night, the lens would be long gone.  But nobody would likely ever shoot from that rock outcrop.  So except for the odd bear finding it and using it as a chew toy, I knew if I’d left it, it would still be there.  The sun was setting.  So to celebrate, I turned around and shot back toward the lake, where you can’t see but 50 or so tripods were lined up along the shore.

Maroon Lake sits in its aspen-lined valley, Colorado.

Maroon Lake sits in its aspen-lined valley, Colorado.

It’s a special kind of happy to find a lost $1600 lens on a mountain.  But I was also dismayed at my forgetful nature, which I’ve lived with since I was a kid.  Oh well, at this point in life you either accept all your failings or you drive yourself nuts.

Thanks for checking out the story and photos.  Have a wonderful week!

Two for Tuesday: Malawi Village   16 comments

Lake Malawi, Africa

Lake Malawi, Africa

This is an occasional series on my blog where two pictures tell one story.  The images are from a trip to southern Africa a few years ago.  Malawi is an amazing country.  You can’t drive to this small village above Lake Malawi, and it’s a long steep walk to Livingstonia.  Everyone was very friendly.

Halfway up, passing through a small village, I met a woman who offered to guide me to a local waterfall:  so beautiful and refreshing!  After that, we passed another woman pounding casava into flour in a giant wooden mortar and pestle.  I tried and boy was it strenuous!

She was embarrassed at first to be the subject of my pictures.  She was actually afraid I would take them back home where she would be ridiculed for her poor way of life and for being similar to a monkey!  I couldn’t believe what my guide was translating to me.

My guide and I assured her none of the people I showed the pictures to would ever dream of making fun of her.  I said both she and her village were beautiful and very impressive to me and everyone else back home.  I asked to use the mortar and had her take pictures of me goofing off, trying to be funny.  It didn’t take long for her to warm up to me (she’s the one seated).

With travel, not only are your own preconceptions about other cultures shattered, you get to correct what others think about your own culture as well!

Two local women crack up while preparing casava in a small village above Lake Malawi.

Two local women crack up while preparing casava in a small village above Lake Malawi.

Two for Tuesday: Characters   9 comments

 

;-)

😉

:-(

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Two for Tuesday: Humbled   13 comments

I think the power of images to tell stories is one of the biggest reasons so many of us enjoy both making and viewing them.  It’s very hard to make a single picture tell a story, at least a story that a wide variety of people will connect with.  While that’s no reason to avoid trying, it also means you’re likely setting yourself up for failure if you expect images like that to come along frequently.

Certainly easier than a single-image story is putting together a group or collection of pictures that together tell a story.  But that may be too easy.  Which brings me to the idea behind Two for Tuesdays.  A pair of pictures is the perfect compromise!  And heck, Tuesdays didn’t really have a good (that is, unforced) theme.  So on occasion I’ll use this day of the week to post a pair of images that will tell a story or make an important point.

Like Wordless Wednesdays, I’ll let the images do the talking, and thus (from here on out) provide words only in the posts’ titles.  By the way, one of these images I already included in a post not long ago.  The second one begged to be posted as well, but I resisted for some reason.  Turns out this was the reason!

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!!

Arlington_Rodeo_5-13-12_5D_306

 

Posted January 27, 2015 by MJF Images in People, Photography

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