I was just leaving Gem State Academy after the first night of camp meeting. I was about to turn north on Karcher when I noticed how stunning the Caldwell sunset was. I had my left turn signal on, but after seeing the sky I immediately switched it to ‘right’ and headed into the sunset. Being among so much developed land I was not very hopeful that I’d find a spot to let the sky sing while the surroundings played second fiddle. I was not disappointed. The growing wheat makes a nice, gentle foreground while still letting the light dance among it. If you are ever in that neighborhood and you think it’s just ugly old farm land, think again. Caldwell sunsets may not happen all day long, but they sure do happen!
Just a bump on a hill. Lines on it’s sides. A baby bump on stripes. I stopped here to shoot a tree, but was unsuccessful at finding a shot of said tree that I was happy with. I did find a way to capture this nice little hill. It took me several months, maybe even a year, to figure out why most of the hills around here have this stripes all over them. The deciding factor was a fence – one side with stripes and the other side smooth.
I was up early a few weeks ago, with nothing much to do that day. So I decided to go out looking for a nice photograph. The sun was far from coming up so I had time to go poking around on this unplanned shoot. I came to a meadow filled with cattle, but more impressive were the approximately 200 elk grazing on the early spring grass. There were about a dozen elk calves wandering around in a clump. I did shoot a few shots of them, but simply wasn’t prepared for wildlife that morning. Nothing to show for it. I did hang around for a couple of hours watching the light do it’s little dance across the horizon to the west, gradually creeping down the sides of the mountains. As the sun finally peaked over the hill in front of me, I clicked off a few shots, but nothing was really exciting my artistic eye. As the morning wore on I suddenly became aware of the cattle guard I had been standing nearly on top of for the past two hours. The sun was glinting nicely off of it, making it a magnet for me. The sun rose higher and happily the clouds grew more interesting. The result is nothing short of pure joy for me. I hope you like it, too!
This is an American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) from the Camas Prairie in Idaho last May. I didn’t have a long lens with me, so this is a mega crop. I also didn’t have a fast lens, so my shutter speed was too slow. At any rate, I managed to get something. There are so many beautiful birds to see there for how far north it is. I was totally amazed! I’d seen this and another in a zoo in a special display, so I felt particularly honored to have seen them up close in the wild.
While at a family camp this past weekend I saw this pretty frozen sunset lake scene. I wasn’t the only one to get a panoramic shot of it, but I’m probably the only one to do it in HDR. I shoot a lot of images in HDR but I make every effort to have them appear as the human eye sees things, though I am a saturation junkie at heart and so I do sometimes boost that out of control. Anyway, this was such a gorgeous scene the picture really cannot do it justice. The fog was ever so slowly rising up off of the lake and the golden sun was shining down through it making it look like a sea of gold. If you ever get the chance, be sure to visit Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho in the winter. It is truly gorgeous!
Sometimes you don’t need a reason to shoot a location a second time in as many days. When an early autumn storm blew through this week, I knew I had to get out and see what was worth shooting. I had second guessed the sunset time wrong, again, and so was not able to continue to the location I had in mind. Instead I turned of 10 miles early and headed to where I thought I might see something nice. I was right. The elevation difference between the valley and the heights of Squaw Butte made for and excellent aerial playground. The clouds shearing across the landscape were interrupted by the stalwart ridge and forced to give way, washing around it like the sea around coastal shipwreck.
I just love old things, which I think shows through clearly in my work. Maybe it has something to do with my revere for the wisdom of the aged. They are still, quiet but when they speak there is a lot to learn. If only this old train bridge could talk. Sitting under its wise gaze learning from the years that have passed over it, the many lives it has seen and the changes it has grown though would surely fill many enrapturing volumes.
For my part, I tried to drink in as much of it as I could, even with my lowly camera lens. Sitting under this beautiful functioning relic makes autumn even that much more magical. Thanks for the memories, old train bridge.
I was watching a concert pianist on YouTube this morning and she said we could watch her practice all day long. She practices for 10 hours each day! I guess that is what it takes to become an expert at something. That really struck me hard because sometimes I think I can just pull out the camera and make an awesome shot, but that is rarely the case. It takes loads of time and practice to hone any craft or skill, not just the desire. It was with that same attitude that I got this nice Squaw Butte Sunset last night.
All day long I research and learn new techniques for improving my skills, if I’m not actually shooting. But what good is research if you never actually do anything with it? So I set out to go and find something to shoot, even if I didn’t have a solid plan. It’s a good thing I was committed before I left because as it turns out my initial target was no good. Then I remembered Squaw Butte and how nice it is up there. I wanted to get the sun while it was still up, but I was just about 5 minutes too late. As I was driving up the mountain I was watching the sun creep higher and higher, while growing softer and more faint. When I finally arrived at my destination, all was lost. Ok, not really. I just had to modify my plan and hang about for 2 hours while it got dark. I decided I could at least shoot some stars. In the mean time, there was plenty of sunset watching (and a little shooting) to do.
Plans had to change again as the clear sky turned to partly cloudy, which is no good for shooting stars. It’s funny too because the initial reason I went out was because the sky had nice clouds, but by the time I got to my location they were all gone.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at the Squaw Butte Sunset as much as I enjoyed being there. It was a cold fall treat, and I might just go do it again someday soon.
Autumn bring such nice changes to the visual world. Clear skies, crisp air to look through, different colors to paint the landscape and more gentle midday sun. In this scene I was particularly impressed with the beauty of the river that most people never see, because you have to walk across a train bridge for access to the view. What is normally a drab and dreary part of the Payette River has now become a river of color thanks to the autumn change. Enjoy this little trip to a peaceful place in a busy life.
From time to time I drive past things (ok, every day) and I have such a strong urge to stop and photograph them, but there isn’t time usually. Or there isn’t a place to pull off. Or the weather is wrong. Or whatever. In the case of this autumn oasis I found near my home, I decided the stop was worth it. The clouds didn’t seem to want to cooperate all that much as they were continually behind the tree, and never beside it. Odd that, but it was a fun scene to be a part of, watching the patches of shade and sun undulate over the hills, smelling the pungent sagebrush and basking in the autumn breeze.
This just happens to have been on the same day that I was out shooting the old train bridge, of which I’ll share more in the future. For now I hope you’ll enjoy this autumn oasis, and let me know what you think in the comments.