Monday, October 31, 2011

The Point

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On our way out of town we stopped off at Dead Horse Point. We always get up before sunset, just to get a jump of the day (yeah, right).
I have no idea who that fellow on the rock is, but I’d like to thank him for spending about 10 motionless minutes on that rock, looking out over the cracked, faulted, destroyed mess that is the topology of the southern Utah.

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I mean really, look at that. It’s amazing there are any roads there at all, or that anybody can live there now, much less before the invention of air conditioning and Camelbaks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cowboy Pants Arch (again)

I did manage to talk the mountain biking duo into taking a trip to Cowboy Pants Arch. (I still like that name better than the more-popular “Delicate Arch.” It seems so bland, and really, what’s delicate about 300 tons of sandstone? ) So I got another crack at it, this time with snow on the mountains.
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That place is such a mess at sunset. It’s like a beach party. Once again there were 30+ photographers there, all silently cursing the never-ending stream of people who just have to stand in the middle of the arch.
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After a few minutes of that, some wag yelled out “That’s perfect! We’re glad you could make it, because we all came here to take a photo of you in the arch! And we’re glad there’s a line because we wouldn’t want the arch to be empty before the sun goes down!” (or words to that effect). He got a pretty good laugh – and then the arch pretty much cleared out.

Despite the irony-lashing there were still some people hanging around on the left side of this frame, so I did some Photoshop work there. Very little though - Content-Aware Fill makes it incredibly easy to rub people out. Where'd they go? I don't know. Maybe they're sleeping with the pixels.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pocket Desert

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While I was waiting for the right light at Navajo Arch, I passed the time shooting this macro.

I think I confused a lot of people while I was shooting this. They'd walk up to this beautiful arch and see my standing right there - looking at some damn tree branch. Sometimes photographers just make no sense at all, you know?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Navajo Arch

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This was the one shot I really, really wanted to get out of this trip. I had read about the cool light at Navajo Arch. I went there in July, hoping to get this shot. Unfortunately the light doesn’t hit until mid-morning, and I wasn’t able to wait around for it. So this time I was determined to get it.

I hung around for almost 90 minutes, tried out just about every possible position, and then went and shot some macro for a while waiting for this shot. Finally I got it. I think it was worthwhile.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Moab Trip

A couple weeks ago I took another trip to Moab with Walker and Kelly. (By the way, thanks Walker!)


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Those two were out for biking. I’m not much for biking, and I couldn’t talk them off those bikes for anything. Well, except for food, hot tubs and to unload footage from their video cameras. But that left me with some more time to poke around Moab.


Larry with his bagass backpack.

This time I took a guided canyon tour. There was a little scrambling up rocks and a little bit of wading through smelly, cold water. The truly fun part was the three rappels in there. It was my first time doing that. It is definitely a charge. In my opinion dropping yourself off a cliff is even more, hmmm, interesting than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. I was so hyped up on the first one that I barely noticed that the rappel device had burned a dime sized hole in my hand. So I’ll probably be doing it again sometime.


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I also did some more photos in Arches National Park, and visited Dead Horse Point. So I’ll have more photos up over the next few days. Though if you’re really interested, and don’t mind digging through lots of vacation photos, they’re all up on SmugMug already.

Monday, October 10, 2011


After our early morning photo session we decided we should do a sunset shoot too. We headed out into the wilderness, trekking for hours to a vantage point for sunset. We pushed through high temperatures and blazing sun, then waited for hours for the perfect light. I think it turned out OK.

Colorado River

Oh, and all that trekking stuff was just bullshit. We actually went to the Red Cliffs Lodge, got a table on the veranda, and waited. To get this shot I put down the gin & tonic, rested the camera on the railing and shot a few shots. Then put down the camera and ate some steak. It’s really the only way to photograph. I think I might do a project consisting entirely of photos shot without leaving the dinner table. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Photo Geeky Tangent

If you’re like most computer users, you probably assume that any given photo looks the same on all monitors. It’s the same photo, right? Yeah, not so much. Computer monitors almost all look different due to different settings, different manufacturing, the backlight changing colors as it ages, and probably other factors. If you’ve got a computer with two monitors you can probably check it yourself by moving a windows from one monitor to the other and watching the color shift.

Similarly, not all pieces of software handle colors properly. So just like monitors different programs can show different colors. I spent a few minutes this afternoon trying to figure out why my photos on the web look different than the same photos in Photoshop. It turns out that the Google Chrome browser does a lousy job of color management.


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That’s a screenshot of my laptop. On the left is Chrome, on the right is Photoshop Lightroom, both on the same machine. Oh, and unless your monitor is calibrated, neither of them looks like mine. Ah, the joys of computer monitors.


PS: For the record, Firefox seems to handle color management properly. It probably won’t matter in most cases, but you might see differences in some cases.

A Little Moar Moab

Since it’s now just over 3 months since the Moab trip, I figured I should put up a few more photos. Wouldn’t want to go too fast with this stuff, you know.

One of the important lessons from our first day in Moab is that the desert is hot. Startling, I know. Thankfully, Arches is open 24 hours a day, so we decided to head out early in the morning to avoid the heat. Also because our incredible dedication as photographers made us willing to forgo sleep in order to get good light. Yeah, that’s it, dedication.

So that’s how we ended up in the park at 5:30 AM. Which was actually worth, both from photographic and thermal perspectives.

We even got some clouds, which is good for the photos. Otherwise those skies get to be pretty dull looking.

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And the cool temperatures led to a moderately happy Wendy, which is conducive to a good trip. Note that the misfocus here is entirely my fault. It turns out that autofocus works remarkably poorly when the idjit behind the camera has turned it off. I know, almost as startling an insight as “The desert is hot.” I’m full of them.

After we were done with sunrise we had scheduled a tour through The Fiery Furnace, one of the more remote parts of the park. It’s a confusing maze of rock passageways. The park rangers are very tired of people getting lost in there, so they strongly encourage you to take a tour group in there.

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It’s probably my favorite area of the park overall. It’s a bit like the slot canyons I hiked last summer, but shorter and less intimidating. If you’re in the area I’d recommend it.

The main path is pretty tame, but there are some fun little scrambles off to the sides. I thought they looked fun; the guide commented that I could do what I wanted, but he wasn’t obligated to carry me out. So of course I climbed them. That’s my leg at the bottom of the photo there, looking 30 or 40 feet down. Some teenager kept following after me – I think he didn’t want to be shown up. I’m such a bad influence.

Amazingly enough we even got Wendy to do some climbing. Usually she doesn’t like dropoffs, but something got into her. I think it was the threat of leaving her behind, lost in the maze. But it might also have been the promise of a cooler full of ice water waiting back in the van.


More photos…

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug My trusty adventurin' hat trying to blend in. We can still see you, orange hat!She's looming!