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, September 28, 2014

Lots of things happening

Sunset at the south rim of the Grand Canyon

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry for my absence. I have been extremely busy. In the last month my computer crashed. I lost my Samsung SSD, it took me awhile to send it in and get a replacement. Then I had to reload my computer. Not much fun but it's up and running again finally. We hiked the Narrows in Zion National Park for two days. At one point I tripped and fell face first in the water and rocks. Ouch, that didn't feel too good. In the process I lost a compact flash card with all 416 photographs from those two days or so I thought. Luckily I had my camera set to duplicate the photos onto my SD card. It took me a week before I realized this, I would have been heart broken had they been lost.

I have some great photographs coming up for you as soon as I process them all. I also received my lightning detector which I used at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I'll have a report on that and what I think of it.

Please be patient. I am off later this week to photograph the fall colors in the Eastern Sierras, then off to Southern Utah for hopefully the same. The leaves are changing color very quickly this year, hopefully we'll be able to catch them in a couple of good places. 

In late November we will be visiting White Pockets in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. A little prayer for some good light and weather would be appreciated for these trips.

I have been trying in my spare time to learn Photoshop and the luminosity masks that so many photographers are using these days. It will happen!

Thanks for looking!

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~

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Heading towards Hana, Maui on the Hana Highway as you approach mile marker 7 on the left side (ocean side) of the road is perhaps some of the most beautifully colored trees I have ever seen and trees are one of my favorite treasures from mother nature.

 There are a few of these trees on the right side of the road as well but if you park your vehicle up the road on the right side (not much room) and walk back a few hundred feet there is an actual path between the trees in this small grove. Note-the trees may or may not be on private property! If you have a telephoto say in the 70-200mm range you can get some good shots of these trees from the road. If you miss these fret not as being one of Maui's most beautiful tree it is located on other parts of the island.

I loved seeing these trees! The bark looks as if someone hand-painted them in shades of red, purple and green. You can get another glimpse of them at the Ke'anae Arboretum a little later down the road. When we visited this grove we were getting rained on which I think brought out the colors of the trees nicely.

Hope you enjoyed seeing them and thanks for your visit!