One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2018—The Orchid Under the Arch

Light and shadows can be dramatic at Arches National Park.  Much of our time was spent watching how the light and shadows changed minute by minute and created new scenes and stories as the sun moved across the sky.  At Double Arch, late in the afternoon, the light reflected through the double arches made what looked to me like a giant orchid on the rock face.

The structure of Double Arches is massive.  If you look closely, you’ll see at least seven people, most at the bottom left of center.

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2018—Looking Over Campbell Creek

Campbell Creek meanders through Chugach State Park near Anchorage, Alaska.  The German Bridge that spans the small creek is a welcome addition so we don’t have to ford the creek to get to optimum viewing areas for moose in the park.  On this day, I used a slow shutter speed and multiple exposures to blur the water in the creek.

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2018—Utah Rocks Stars

I have a knit cap that I bought several years ago in Arches National Park with the slogan:  Utah Rocks! on it.  That is quite appropriate as the rocks in Utah do rock.  But, as I discovered when I was there a couple of weeks ago, the stars rock, too.  And here are some of Utah’s stars with some of Utah’s rocks, in particular Sheep Rock, as a setting for the stars.  The Courthouse Towers formation was behind us and pollution from the city of Moab’s lights is clearly visible at the horizon.  The Milky Way looks almost like smoke spewing out of Sheep Rock and the long exposure creates the straight lines from air traffic in the sky.

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2018—Otherworldly Vista

The Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota have some of the most unique  geological features I’ve ever seen in a landscape.  The park itself is described as where the Great Plains meets the Badlands.  In fact, on one side of the highway, bison will be grazing on vast grasslands and on the other side, the vista is kind of otherworldly.  When I took this photograph a couple of months ago at the park, there were bison grazing behind me but looking over the precipice into the canyon, the odd features of the landscape stretched into infinity.

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2018—Circular Views of an Arch

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park lends itself beautifully to using the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye lens.  At 8mm, it creates a perfect circle.  By pinching the sun against the edge of the arch, I created a starburst in the first shot.  For the second shot, I had to drape my body over the rocks and look out over the canyon with the arch over my head. The lens’s 180° angle of view if perfect for this kind of photograph.

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2018—The Milky Way at Double Arch

During my trip to Arches National Park last week, I had the opportunity to photograph heavenly bodies each night.  The first night at Double Arch was a shake down exercise, to figure out what ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and white balance worked best.  I alternated between ISO 1600 and 3200; shutter speeds between 20 and 30 seconds; and apertures between f/2.8 and f/5.6 with my 14-24mm lens.  I also experimented with cloudy white balance but generally preferred Auto Natural Auto on my Nikon D850.  The shutter speeds were actually too long because the stars were not pin points but rather tiny streaks because of the Earth’s rotation in those seconds.  Nevertheless, it’s quite a thrill to see the Milky Way dimly in the sky, then, bring out its glory in post processing.

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2018—Hiding in Plain Sight

In Alaska, the bull moose spent much of their time feeding on the willows and other shrubs in Chugach State Park.   They can consume 50 to 60 pounds of vegetation a day.  The willows, almost as tall as the moose, did a good job os letting those giant ruminants hide in plain sight.

 

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2018—Strolling Through the Arch

Friday morning we visited Skyline Arch.  Near the northern most part of Arches National Park where the paved road ends and the last hiking trails begin, this arch seemed neglected by visitors.  There were no other people there as we watched the sun come up and enjoyed the serenity of the place.  As we wandered around, seeking different kinds of photographs, we noticed a lone hiker in the midst of the arch.  His presence in the middle of the opening gives a sense of scale to the immense structure but he looks like he’s out for a morning stroll.  We later discovered that there is access to the arch from the opposite side.

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2018—In the Mind’s Eye

One of the most interesting aspects of Arches National Park is how different the rock formations appear at various times of the day, primarily because of changes in the light. At early and late times in the day, the shadows elongate and suddenly, the mind’s eye begins to see shapes and forms in the rocks.  On Friday morning, we visited Skyline Arch, a place I’d never been and that was deserted except for us.  Because of the early morning hour, the shadows created lots of fodder for the mind.  One of the shapes that caught my eye was that of the face of a wizened old man wedged into a dark crack in the rock.   It looks a bit like one of  Ents, or tree people, in J. J. R. Tolkien’s  Lord of the Rings Triology.  It wasn’t until I looked at the photograph again that I realized his wasn’t the only face there.  Another face, a much larger face appears to react to the appearance of the wizened old man.  That face takes up the right half of the photograph, turned slightly away, with mouth agape reacting to the other face in the rock.

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2018—Under Pine Tree Arch

On Friday morning, we walked to Pine Tree Arch at the  Devil’s Garden Trailhead at the northern most part of Arches National Park.  This view is from under the arch facing east.

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