Arches National Park has many short hiking trails, each visiting a wonderland of red rock fins. One of the long-ish trails is the Devils Garden Loop.
The loop is 7 miles fantastic long, taking you through arches, up slick rock walls, along the tops of rock fins and through a labyrinth of magic.
With out a doubt one of the most fun and interesting hikes ever.
Here are a few more images!
1. The best light is in the morning and evening. Day hikes get you to your destination in the middle of the day. Plan your campsites to include the most scenic places. This may involve longer or shorter days that you would normally do, but it’s all worth it! A guide book is good for descriptions, you can get many great ideas of what and when to shoot but if I’ve never been to an area before, I do an image search for the specific place and get ideas of what’s there. I plan my entire trip around where I want to be at sunrise and sunset to take pictures.
2. Minimum of what to bring with you:
a. One lens – I always bring a Zoom Lens, a 24mm to 104mm or a 28mm to 135mm are good starting spots. This makes it possible to capture a wide angle shot and also get in close with the telephoto end. Of course it’s nice to have several lenses, but then you have to carry them!
b. Polarizer – This is a filter that attaches to the end of your lens. It handles refracted light so that the sky and clouds look wonderful and is a must for getting stunning images of water and reflections.
c. Light weight tripod, they are cheap and easy to strap on your pack. You can always weigh them down if needed
d. Simple cable release. When you use the tripod any movement of the camera makes the image blurry. This device allows take pictures without touching the camera.
e. Extra batteries, charged the night before you leave!
f. Lots of memory! Its cheap and doesn’t weigh anything
3. Avoid the auto mode for image capture. When you set the camera on automatic mode, the camera does all the thinking for you. You are a lot smarter than your camera! Instead use the Manual Mode on your camera or the various Creative Modes if there is no Manual setting.
4. Bracket your exposure. Bracketing means that you are capturing the same exact scene, but with different settings. This could include altering your depth of field (how much of the scene is in focus) or how bright or dark the image is. Scenes often have a great disparity between the dark areas and the bright ones. Try multiple shots, where you capture the details of one then the other.
a. Using the manual mode, set your aperture and shutter speed based on what the light meter tells you, THEN take several more shots of the same thing with slightly different exposures. If you have a manual setting, simply shoot over and under the recommended exposure.
b. If you are using a creative mode you can “trick” the light meter by pointing the camera a little bit above (or below or right or left) your intended subject, press the button half way, hold it, then lower or raise the camera back to your start spot and press the shutter the rest of the way.
5. Shoot in the RAW format. JPEG format compresses (and looses data from) the images, where as RAW records all the data and allows you to handle areas of over or under-exposure. It took a lot of effort to haul all your gear out there, not to mention yourself! The scenery is fantastic, the weather is perfect, who knows if you will ever have a chance to return…so shoot in RAW!
6. Four simple tips on Composition
a. The Rule of Thirds. Imagine a tic-tac-toe grid over your image. Try to get your subject on these lines, away from the middle. Get points of interest where the lines intersect.
b. Look for lines. Trails, clouds, trees, and more can create leading lines that add a wonderfully simple and compelling element to images. When you see a line anywhere walk all around it composing shots from different angles.
c. Reflections. Even a small puddle can make for a fantastic reflective composition. Get down on the ground for the best scope.
d. Near and Far. Pictures of an unbelievably awesome horizon will be 1,000 times better if you include something close. A tent, people, trees, flowers, any and all of these make a vista much more interesting.
This has been officially added to my list of all time favorite hikes. Last week was my second visit and I was even more enamored than before…
Sometimes known as the “Subway”, Left Fork Canyon is out of the main section of the park. To get there you need to go north on the Kolob Reservoir Road, out of Virgin. Permits are required for ANY hiking there, which is a wonderful thing as it makes for a real wilderness experience which is totally unlike hiking in the Zion Canyon part of the park.
The “subway” name comes from the shape of the canyon walls, as you can see here.
This last shot I managed from inside the subway using my new 14mm lens.
A truly stunning location. Make sure to book a permit before you head down there next time, you will not be disappointed!
Every spring I take a trip to Utah to go canyoneering. last year, someone asked me if I’d ever visited Antelope Canyon, and I answered that I’d never even heard of the place. Soon after I had a look on-line and was stunned by the images.
The canyon is narrow, but easy to walk through, the floor is sandy and completely flat. Being only a few hundred feet long its not a long excursion, but every step is filled with colors, textures, light and shapes out of a dream.
Sahale Glacier Camp sits at the base of Sahale glacier atop 3 piles of rubble each crowned with a ring of stone. The views are breathtaking: a 180 degree sweeping view of the North Cascades, a sea of peaks stretching out to the horizon.
I have visited many times and tried to capture the feel of the view. Here are several panoramas, some from sunrise, and several from sunset, each comprised of two or more images merged.
Focus stacking is a technique used to ensure that every part of an image is sharply in focus. What you are doing is to combine several images taken over a number of different focusing distances.
The main steps are:
1. Capture of a multi-focus sequence of images
2. Process the RAW files to ready them for merging
3. Align the image sequence
4. Merging the aligned images into a final product
I read about this technique a few weeks ago and for some reason did not get around to giving it a try until today. I was out this morning checking out the daffodil fields and remembered to get the image sequence captured.
the post-processing was easy and the result stunning as to clarity and focus! This is a technique I will be using on every photo shoot I do from now on!
If you’ve never heard about this technique, look it up and give it a try! I am not going to write up here how to do it, there are already many good instructions and write ups, including videos on line detailing how to do it.
Here is the result of today’s work.
Skagit Valley is famous for tulips in the spring. And daffodils! Each year the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival harkens the arrival of spring to the Pacific Northwest.
There are hundreds of acres of tulips and daffodils. If you want to visit, here is a link to the Bloom Map.
Daffodils bloom first, there three large fields alight now, with more to come. The arrival of the tulips generally happens in the first week of April, but it always depends on how many sunny days we get!