Sunday, April 12, 2015

La Jolla

Long exposure at the tide pools of La Jolla

Serena & I visited La Jolla, California a couple of weekends ago for some rest & relaxation and of course photography. One of our favorite places to photograph are the tide pools where crazy rock landscape, surfers and hopefully a beautiful sunset all come together.
Leading lines
It's important to use leading lines when possible as I did here with this separation in the rocks leading your eye out to the sea and sunset.

La Jolla Sunset

I appreciate your visit. Time is always a problem for me but my passion for photography never wanes. It's difficult to keep up with social media sites and a blog. I have to admit I have felt like giving up many times and just take photographs. No more blog, no website, no social media, but then I could not share. There is something inside each of us that when we create something of value to ourselves we want to share it with others. So I press on, slowly but surely. I am sure that if I did not have a full time regular job I'd be able to be much more focused on just photography. My advice to you is to just follow your passion no matter what, keep at it. I have plans to change my blog in hopefully a bigger and better way, to share many more of my photographs with many sites that I am currently on and to get my name out there more. We have several photography trips planned. It is my hope to add significantly to my portfolio this year, that at least is the goal. This is a time consuming endeavor with changing seasons, weather and light not to mention the drought has affected my money tree in the backyard. I must always remember baby steps, one step at a time. My goal is to be a full time landscape photographer and teaching workshops in the near future for photography is my passion. Are you following your Passion?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kyara Japanese Tapas

Kyara Japanese Tapas
Being a photographer takes a lot of energy. Hiking with a 20 pound backpack full of equipment and a five pound tripod for several miles and I'm ready to eat. That's the topic of this addition. 

Serena is a licensed clinical dietitian by trade so I am forced to eat healthy most of the time. That's a good thing otherwise I would be eating junk food constantly. Getting up for sunrise shots and driving long distances also takes a lot out of me. My drink of choice for those long hauls used to be Mountain Dew. I have binged on and off sodas most of my life but hopefully I have finally kicked the habit. That was one of my 2015 goals. The longest I have gone without a soda before was 3.5 years. I'm hoping this time will be forever. I feel better, my stomach feels better and I'm sure my teeth appreciate my 2015 goal. So now it's basically water, hot tea and ice tea. No alcohol, cigarettes or drugs either unless you count chocolate chip cookies. It's good to set goals especially as you get older, taking care of your body should be a priority to include an exercise routine.

While on the road it's hard to find a decent place to eat. There are too many McDonalds and Burger Kings. It doesn't mean we don't eat there, it just means we try really hard not to. Serena usually makes food to bring along and we cook on the road. I purchased an ARB 50 qt Fridge Freezer for the car that keeps the food & drinks very cold. It was a bit pricey but a perfect addition for long trips.

I like to check out Yelp before eating at a restaurant to see what the reviews say. There is nothing worse than being on a photo trip and ending up sick from a bad lunch or dinner. I have started to put reviews on Yelp, good or bad. Trip adviser is another good website to check out for hotels and things to see and do. I'm sure there are many others to include weather radar and other weather related sites. That sounds like a good topic for another post.

Anyway from time to time my post may not be entirely about photography as in this case. I wanted to tell you about our favorite Japanese Tapas Restaurant. It's called Kyara at 6555 South Jones Boulevard #120 here in Las Vegas. It's usually pretty busy in the evening so you may need a reservation. There are only about seven tables and there is also seating at the bar. The service is excellent and the staff are very friendly. After going a few times the staff knows what we like and drink, this place is a diamond in the ruff. Try the Kora Kora steak, it's one of my favorites. Serena is also a trained chef so it's hard to find a place that she thinks is worthy of going back. Kyara Japanese Tapas is always consistent in their food preparation, presentation and service. It's a place I can count on for a great meal. So the next time you're in Vegas check them out.    

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Narrows

Zion Narrows
 I told you about our adventures hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park in my "Lots of things happening" post. I thought I would share a few of the photos from our two day hike.  

Zion Narrows

If you ever get a chance to hike the Narrows it is an amazing look at mother nature in all of her glory. The light in the Narrows at various times of the year and day are simply breathtaking! Warning! Before you hike the Narrows check the local weather and with the "Outfitters" in the town of Springdale for flash flood warnings, flow rate, water temps and level. Unfortunately fatalities occur in flash floods, such as the one in late September of this year. Please be safe! Also wear some decent hiking boots or even tennis shoes. I see so many people hiking the Narrows in flip flops. The rocks are extremely slippery and the water current can be quite quick. It's pretty easy to loose your footing. Use a hiking stick! It really hurts to hit the rocks and water face first. Ask me, I did it, ouch!!!
"Floating Rock" Zion Narrows

I have hiked the Narrows several times and this shot has eluded me every time until last month. I guess patience and persistence pays off! 
Chuck & Serena at Zion Narrows September 2014

I hope you enjoyed these photographs of one of our favorite places to visit and photograph. Thanks for your visit!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Intercloud lightning using Nikon D-800 1/20sec f/2.8 70mm with 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens RRS tripod/ballhead

I purchased the Lightning Trigger LT-IV from Stepping Stone Products, LLC , Dolores, CO, USA. This lightning detector is a bit more expensive than others on the market at $369 USD. In my humble opinion you get what you pay for and this unit works and works very well! Before I get started you cannot be too safe around lightning. Read and heed the safety instructions that comes with this unit. There have been 24 known fatalities caused by lightning in the United States as of this date 2014. Please be safe!!!

My only complaint with my unit is Stepping Stone Products took one month from my order date before I received my detector. To be fair to them I probably ordered it at the height of the monsoon season, I'm sure they were plenty busy building & shipping units. Make sure you give them plenty of time for your order.

I tested my unit at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon the first week of September, 2014. At one point I was shooting next to another photographer shooting with a Nikon D-700 and a Stepping Stone Products, model LT3 lightning detector. I have to say that my Nikon D-800 was being fired off almost continuously compared to his. Much of the reason was intercloud lightning that is pretty much impossible to see in the daylight hours which is when I was making the comparison. My first photo shows what intercloud looks like at night. No lightning bolts visible, just a flash between clouds.  Their new detector LT-IV is extremely sensitive and according to their website will detect lightning up to 40 miles at night and 20 miles in daylight hours. Here's a link to their website, When ordering make sure you include what model/make camera you will be using with their product in order to receive the correct triggering cable with your unit.
Zap! Nikon D-800 1/20sec f/2.8 70mm with 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens RRS tripod/ballhead

 I basically received my unit the day before I left for the canyon and had no time to read their booklet so I just winged it on my settings.The book tells you for nighttime lightning shots to set your aperture from f/5.6 to f/4. Shutter speed from 1/4 sec up to 2 seconds. The unit runs on a single 9 volt battery and comes with a nice small case that can slip onto your pants belt. The case measures 6.5" X 3.5" by approximately 2.5" wide with the unit in the case. Not a large unit, my photo bag is stuffed full now, any more gear and I will have to look for another bag.

One of the biggest problems of course is once the sun goes down it is quite difficult to focus on the lightning strikes. You will have to switch to manual focus, as with my Nikon it refuses to take the shot with auto focus once it's too dark out. Hopefully there will be a landmark or some type of light near where the lightning is striking so that you can manually focus on it. You may have to experiment a bit with a few shots to get the lightning in focus. I know on my Nikkor lenses infinity is not in sharp focus when set to infinity. It is usually backed off just a tad from where the lens is marked infinity.

Just experiment and have some fun with it. When I was shooting with this other photographer many people came by and asked what we were doing and what was that gadget on our cameras? They were surprised to find out we were shooting lightning.

 It's a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to my next lightning storm! Thanks for visiting!

Nice one! Nikon D-800 1/20sec f/2.8 70mm with 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens RRS tripod/ballhead

Ball lightning! Nikon D-800 1/30sec f/2.8 70mm with 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens RRS tripod/ballhead

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Indian Blessing

Wild horses ~ Navajo Nation

"Let us walk softly on the Earth
with all living beings great and small
remembering as we go, that one God
kind and wise created us all."
~Indian Blessing~