Ice Lake, Silverton, CO

Labor Day weekend is a prime time to hit the Colorado high country. The majority of the summer adventurers have headed for lower climes, which leaves the higher and cooler areas less populated and more peaceful. Ice Lake is just one of those places that people love to visit, but not quite as much in the early autumn of the high elevation.

This particular day we encountered rain and hail on the several miles hike up to the lake. It was a tiring trek, but this view at the end was well worth the effort. Have you ever visited Ice Lake? If not, be sure to put it on your list.

ice lake colorado

ice lake colorado

South Mineral Creek Sunrise

While on my latest vacation with my family, I decided to stop being so lazy and actually take some pictures in the morning when the light was optimal. The next thing I did was shoot straight into the sun. Ugh. Well, I think I like this image anyhow. It was just too beautiful to pass up at least attempting to capture the scene. I did take the necessary bracketed exposures for and HDR process, but haven’t gotten to that part quite yet.

The morning was cool and clear until the sun came up. Then all of these awesome puffs of clouds started to rise up out of the valleys and skitter across the sky in assorted patterns. It was actually a great time to be making images of the surrounding cliffs and peaks and I made the most of it while I could. Now I have to do the actual work part of the shots – post processing. Well, that is a story for another time. Back to the setting.

With the high mountains surrounding, jutting up to 13,000 ft, and the dark foliage of the trees I really had my challenges. I was also down in a deep canyon shooting waterfalls and rocks and sunbeams, and those images truly do need HDR processing to look nice.

Just imagine being there in the still morning air, bundled up in cozy gear against the chilly 38 degrees and the dew on the grass. It’s really a picture of peacefulness.

South Mineral Creek Sunrise, Silverton, CO

Senj Lightning

These images were captured quite unexpectedly and came in the middle of two unlikely and unexpected weather events that just happened to slam into each other: a lightning storm and a thing called the “Bura” (more on that later).

While visiting with some friends in the city of Senj, Croatia we went up into the mountains for a breathtaking look down on the Adriatic Sea. While we were up there, our friend kept watching the weather and encouraging us to make our way back to the cars and go down the mountain. I was pretty much ignoring him because it was just one of those misty, foggy, mushy types of clouds that were very slowly creeping their way toward us. When we finally did wrap up our little hike and head down the mountain all still seemed just fine. Castle in Senj, CroatiaWe got back to the town of Senj and they were showing me a castle when all of a sudden, like a fan was switched on, wind just started hammering us.  Bura. The car (Prius) was being rocked back and forth like a toy. Well, silly me wanted to get out to take pictures of the castle. Smart Jonny had Irma (driving) point the car into the wind so that it wouldn’t rip the door off. Well, good thing he did. After the car was positioned I made my move. Or, tried to. I pushed and strained with all of my might, arms and legs at the end of their power, but I couldn’t get the door open enough against the wind to get out. Even if I had managed to make a gap wide enough, I would not have been able to push with arms and legs and also magically get out at the same time.

I did manage to get a picture, though it isn’t very striking. Cancel the castle and head home.

When we arrived at the house, the wind had lessened to a manageable intensity to at least get out of the car, but at the same time unexpected event number two was knocking at the door.

For those not familiar with the geography of where I am describing, it is sunny and semi-arid. There isn’t much greenery around at all and it is VERY rocky. Everything is stone, though that doesn’t have much impact on the weather. It just doesn’t rain much along the eastern side of the Adriatic during the summer. First the wind surprised us, and then the rain. And they didn’t come from the same directions.  Quite a fancy trick.

When the rain began it was beautiful to see the sun glowing through the storm and the rain falling into the white capped vivid blue sea. A rare treat for this American boy! Then the lightning started with a BOOM to alert us. Jonny decided to get out his camera and tripod to do a little lightning shooting. Their home is up on the hillside facing the sea with the city and harbor below and to the left. He already has an AMAZING image of fireworks at the harbor and lightning striking the lighthouse. Too bad he isn’t interested in showing it to the world or I would link to it. Back to the story.

Jonny is all set up and, knowing I am a photographer, is trying to get me to take out my gear and shoot. I had no tripod. Problem. I have no intervalometer. Another problem. I have no experience shooting lightning. Further problem, but with a solution. My gracious host not only encouraged me to try it but taught me how. I did experience a lot of non-ideal challenges while shooting. I had to set my camera on the (covered) balcony railing since I had no tripod, in the rain. I had to manually trigger each 10 sec exposure. The worst issue, as you’ll see in the images below, is that because of the lack of tripod, I had to set up where there was a giant power pole right in the middle of my frame. UGH! Even more frustrating was that the lightning shots I did get were always directly behind the pole. I was hoping to avoid that by shooting with a wide lens. And since my camera was in the rain I was also getting water spots on the lens. Out of a couple hundred exposures I got a few shots with fire in the sky, and I present my favorite to you below. Please note that there are two versions of the same image. One before correction and one after.

Enjoy the lightning!

Orange Moon

As I was groggily stumbling my way to the bathroom to kitchen to get a drink of water I took a peek out the window as I always do. I love looking outside. What I saw amazed me, to say the least. At first I thought it was blood red, which would have been even more interesting if you are into Bible prophecy, but it wasn’t. It was a vivid Orange Moon glowing eerily back at me.

It was a bit strange, yes. But it was even more strange to try and photograph. I’m curious to know why I was having such a hard time getting a good shot of this. Part of me wants to believe it was due to smoke passing between my lens and the moon, refracting the light and ‘moving’ the moon around during my long exposures. Another part of me thinks it was user error of some kind. Though I did have a solid tripod set up, using a cable release, had the mirror locked up, using image stabilization, auto and manual focus and I got lots and lots of images the looked like my tripod was sinking or I had camera shake. I even tried multiple different ISO’s and shutter speeds all with the same result.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I didn’t do ANY post processing of any kind whatsoever. All I did was to crop. So this truly was an orange moon!

Whatever the case, I was able to get a couple of shots that were mostly sharp, so here is one for you to enjoy. Now if only I had a longer lens to get really close to see that awesome orange moon.

Pink Chandelier Flowers

The Oregon coast is very rainy. While there this past week I was hoping to see some whales, or maybe even see the ocean. Nope. It was just very foggy and drizzling. But it made some very pretty water drops on lots of things. These flowers were just about perfect for shooting in the rain.



Teasel or Dipsacus

If you don’t know what a Teasel is don’t worry, neither did I. It is the odd plant in this picture. If memory serves the prickly cone part is about 2-3 inches tall, so this is a fairly large plant. There were so many of them out there that I didn’t even pay much attention to them, but upon closer inspection I noticed just how beautiful they are. The ones shown here must be from last year as they are completely dried. It doesn’t take a keen eye to see this plant is very ‘pokey’, but at the same time is quite elegant with it’s long fingers wrapping gracefully up and around, embracing such an abrasive heart. Maybe that is how we humans are; we are mean-hearted and unkind but we cherish our sinful behavior by giving way to it and helping it to grow. But out of ugliness can come beauty as we see in this plant, and in what God can do in our lives if we only let Jesus in and let Him work.
Buy this picture

Chukar Partridge

On my trip to Leslie Gulch we saw quite a few of these neat birds called the Chukar Partridge. Most of them were running around among the sagebrush and across the road, but I did get to see one of them scrambling up the rocky cliffs and calling. It was like a proud chief overlooking his land, or maybe just a contented nature lover enjoying the wonder of God’s creation. He was perched atop some high rocks and calling out (mating call?). As I was watching through binoculars, he too a running jump off into the abyss (about 60 – 80 ft) but I lost track of him. What a sight to see! Sadly, my images are out of focus and cropped tightly so they are quite small. Some day I’ll manage a long enough lens to actually photograph birds. For now I’m just glad I got to see them.

Sunset Tree Silhouette


Sunset tree silhouette

While hiking and enjoying the rugged beauty of Leslie Gulch, Oregon I had to get one last shot of the day, of course. On the way out, driving up the canyon, this perfect sunset silhouette of a little tree was an irresistible treat to end such a gorgeous day. Thanks to Ross & Jodi Giem for showing us such a great place to spend Sabbath afternoon. I was able to get quite a lot of great images while we were there and I’ll be posting them later on. Enjoy this finishing beginning of what is yet to come.

California Poppies! …in Idaho?

During a nice Friday afternoon drive on this awesome May day, I saw a large clump of California Poppies growing happily along side highway 55 near Gardena. They were really in a very unsafe place between the road and a very steep hillside, but I managed a few shots. They are not perfect by any means, but what a joy to see such beauty unexpectedly!

Super Moon !

I went out to shoot the super moon in May 2012. I decided my best vantage point would be the top of a mountain pass between Horseshoe Bend and Eagle, Idaho. I got there exactly at the time the moon was to rise. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. Forty-five minutes passed and still no moon. I decided the mountains around were much too high and headed for home since the ‘magic’ hour had passed. At the last second I decided to drive up a dirt road at the top of the pass. After driving only 1/4 of a mile there it was, the super moon. And it was very super. I was stunned by the size and clarity of the moon and spent 20 minutes or more making different exposures in the freezing temperatures. It’s still cold at 4, 400 ft elevation.

The first shot of the dark sky was just to capture the moon. The second image is my attempt at incorporating the landscape. The third is a strange one because it makes the moon look like the sun and the sky and landscape day like, though the light is soft rather than sharp edged. Part of the reason is simply that it was a very long exposure, but another could be that the moon is so close. Either way, I like how it is a bit of a trick. The sun had been down for about one hour when I made these images. The fourth image shows the same scene as the third only I put an exposure in for the sky that was correct for the moon. It’s a really weird look and I don’t think I much care for it, but I thought you might like to have a look at it since I had taken the time to make it.