photography from the ground up

Archive for January, 2010

Yucca Sunset

Sunset at White Sands National Monument. A lone yucca silhouetted against the darkening sky with the San Andres Mountains in the background. This is the last image I made on my last trip to White Sands. Soon afterward, the light was gone, and I began the walk back to my car.

The white sand that makes up the dunes is actually gypsum crystals that are left when gypsum is eroded from the nearby San Andres Mountains. Over millions of years the dunes have grown into a moving ecosystem–the more active dunes can advance more than 30 feet per year! Plant and animal life must be able to adapt to this movement or perish.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 17–35 mm f 2.8 zoom lens, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 20, 1/25th sec., ISO 250

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustment, and RAW conversion in Photoshop.


Juniper Bones

This image was made in Canyonlands NP. We were doing the Slickrock trail hike, and were nearly back to the car when I saw this juniper. It showed no obvious signs that it was still alive, but there was something majestic about it nonetheless. Just the fact that it had grown through the rock was amazing, even though I’ve seen it a thousand times or more.

Like so many images that I later come back to, this one languished in one of my Lightroom catalogues for a couple years before I realized there might be something there worth working on.

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 35–70 f 2.8 mm zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 18, 1/5th sec., ISO 320

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustment, and Raw conversion in Photoshop.


Siblings

I made this image a couple days ago. I was just past the Valles Caldera when I spied this pair of aspen tress growing side by side, and knee deep in snow. Aspens are like an extended family in that they share a common root system with other aspens that are nearby. So, these two really are siblings.

I was striving for simplicity in this image, so I framed it tight to exclude any other extraneous physical features. I had visualized it as a black and white image when I was setting up the shot, so one of the first things I did after importing it into Lightroom was convert it to greyscale.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 80–200 mm f 2.8 lens, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 6.3, 1/400th sec., ISO 100

Processing: Greyscale conversion, contrast, and clarity adjustments in Lightroom, curves adjustments in Photoshop.


Winterlude

The remnants of a common weed captured on a frosty winter morning. I was taken by the way the frost seemed to outline the veins of the leaf, and the small clusters on the stem. I shot this with a wide open aperture (f 2.8) in order to throw the background out of focus and create what is called a bokeh effect.

Equipment: Nikon F100, 35–70 f 2.8 zoom lens, 81A warming filter, Bogen tripod, Fuji Velvia transparency film.

Camera Settings: f 2.8, 1/20th sec., ISO 80

Processing: Slide scanned to digital with Nikon Coolscan V–ED, Contrast, levels, curves, color balance, and Unsharp Mask adjustments in Photoshop.


Essential Crane

Another crane photo taken at Bosque del Apache NWR in November. We came upon a group feeding in the farm fields at the north end of the refuge. This one was strutting around as if to say: “I am what being a crane is all about”.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 80–400 zoom lens, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f11, 1/250th sec., ISO 400.

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, and  saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustments, and RAW conversion in Photoshop.


Valles Caldera Storm

This image was made at the Valles Caldera. The Valles is a large meadow created by the collapse of an ancient volcano. For years it was private land, a part of the 89,000 acre Baca ranch. In 2000 the federal government bought the ranch; it is now public land, protected from development, for now at least.

I made this image one day on my way home from Los Alamos. I have photographed this scene numerous times, but never with a more dramatic sky.

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 17–35 mm f2.8 lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod

Camera Settings: f 14, 1/125th sec., ISO 400

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustments, and RAW conversion in Photoshop


Upheavel Dome

Upheavel Dome is an impact crater in Canyonlands NP. It is thought to have been caused by a meteor about one third of a mile in diameter which struck the earth approximately 170 million years ago. The white and yellowish dome is composed of rock that has been pushed to the surface from more than a mile below, and is not to be found anywhere else within the park.

There are two overlooks along the Upheavel Dome Trail. The first is an easy quarter mile walk from the parking area. The second overlook, where this image was made, is another three quarters of a mile beyond the first, and affords a much better view of both the crater and the dome.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 35–70mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 18, 1/20th sec., ISO 320

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation adjustments, and RAW conversion in Adobe Lightroom, curves adjustment in Photoshop


Ojito Landscape

This is another image from the Ojito Wilderness. I can’t seem to get enough of that place. The scenery is stunning and expansive. There are hoodoos, petroglyphs, dinosaur bones, fossils, and petrified trees. I’ve only explored a small corner of it; there are innumerable canyons ,mesas, and arroyos that beckon me each time I visit.

This location is not far off the main road. It is in the area known as Hoodoo Pines due to the numerous hoodoos and dwarf ponderosa pine trees that can be found there.

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 17–35 mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 13, 1/80th sec., ISO 400

Processing: Contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation adjustments, and RAW conversion in Adobe Lightroom, curves in Photoshop.


The Rio At Little Arsenic


This image was made while we were on our camping trip to Wild Rivers back in September. We took the trail down into the gorge from our campsite on the top of the mesa. It is an 800 foot descent in a little over a mile, not bad going down, but pretty intense climbing out with close to sixty pounds of camera equipment strapped to my back.

Once we reached the bottom, we explored the area around Big Arsenic Spring, and found the petroglyphs nearby. We then followed the River Trail downstream to Little Arsenic Spring. This photo was made looking upriver from the spring where it enters the Rio Grande.

Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikkor 17–35 mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 14, 1/100th sec., ISO 400, +2/3 EV

Processing: White balance, contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, curves, and RAW conversion in Photoshop.