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?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Death Valley

Mesquite Sand Dunes
Death Valley is about two and a half hours away from my front door and I try and visit in January and February before the heat sets in. These photographs are from a trip I made up there in January. The mesquite dunes were covered in thousands of foot prints. I found it difficult to get a nice wide shot without either dozens of footprints or someone in the shot. Serena and I visited on another occasion in January for sunset and the dunes looked like something out of a UFO movie. Hundreds of people standing all over the dunes observing sunset. In the majority of my landscape photographs I try to keep the human element out. On a few occasions I have included someone just to show scale but usually I like to let the landscape speak for itself.

Mesquite Dunes

The dunes need a good windstorm to wipe away all the footprints. Still a fun place to visit and the best time before it gets too warm.

Waves in the sand "Mesquite Dunes"

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.    

Monday, January 26, 2015

West Fork, Oak Creek Winter

Fresh snow in Oak Creek
We visited West Fork, Oak Creek in Sedona, AZ on the first weekend of this month because of the snow that hit the area on New Years and thought it might provide a few different if not beautiful photographs. The parking lot was closed, even so I tried to drive the 4 Runner down to park and nearly got stuck in the snow. It took me a while to get the car back out of the parking lot driveway, I hadn't made it very far, the snow was piled high from clearing the main road. So we did what photographers do at times, we chanced being towed away and left the car out in the tow away zone on the street and hiked in. The snow was pristine and we saw evidence of only a couple of other people had visited according to the footprints in the snow.

West Fork, Oak Creek
I loved the way the upper tree branch of the tree on the right appears to follow the lines in the rock. Speaking of following look at the way the small pine tree just to the left of center follows the curve of the rock wall. Do you notice things like this when you're in nature? To me being in nature is calming and so meditative.

Cold? You bet, but so worth it. We spent a good three hours hiking and photographing. When the light got too harsh we decided to get back to the car. Crossing the bridge over Oak Creek I heard what I thought was a tow truck surely loading up our car. I took off running with a twenty pound backpack full of camera gear and tripod. I ran like a crazy guy all the way back to the little building where they take your money at the parking lot entrance before I realized it was a small tractor clearing the snow away from the parking lot driveway and not a tow truck. Funny what we'll do sometimes for a photograph. I hope you enjoyed. I'll try and be a bit better at posting.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Timing is Everything!

Frozen Grand Falls (Muddy Falls), Arizona
Well it's been awhile since my last post, three months to be exact. The year 2014 was not very kind to us and I for one am glad to see it gone. I normally try to keep as positive an outlook on things as possible but sometimes you keep getting kicked in the rear and after a while the only thing you can do is hold on for the ride and hope things turn around.

I cancelled several photography trips in 2014 but in October our dog was attacked by a coyote in our back yard just before we were going to shoot in the Eastern Sierra's for fall colors. Other trips were cancelled as well as that one to include a birthday trip for me to White Pockets, something I'd been looking forward to for a year. Since October our dog has lost her right eye and we continue to struggle for her to keep her vision in her left eye. I don't take a family pet lightly. She is like a daughter to us. Others might give her away, bring her to a pound or worse yet put her down but I have a heart. When I take an animal in as my pet it is for their life or mine whichever ends first. Something called responsibility which seems to be lacking in today's society.

So here it is 2015! Our dog is finally well enough to be boarded although we are still working on saving the sight in her left eye. So we have gone on a couple of trips. Sedona, Arizona and Death Valley, California. It's not easy being a photographer for a lot of it is being a weatherman, navigator and a person with unlimited patience. I'm still working on all three and getting better at it but not all things are controllable in life.

On our way back home from Sedona on the fourth of January we had some nice clouds forming and the afternoon was rapidly coming to an end. We had the choice of heading North to Page, Arizona and the nearby Horseshoe Bend for a great sunset shot or I could head off the beaten path down an extremely muddy dirt road for miles, hmmm. Yes you guessed it the explorer in me decided to find the Grand Falls on the Navajo Reservation. First of all you don't follow the navigation in a Toyota 4 Runner. It once had me turning off of a bridge, in the middle of a bridge in San Diego and yes I have the latest nav update. Hey Toyota, how about partnering with Garmin! So after several failed attempts to use the navigation to find it I stopped at the only gas station in Leupp, Arizona and asked for directions to the Muddy Falls. The Navajo's running the store had a great laugh. I told them every place the navigation tells me to turn, the dirt road is closed. After giving me proper directions they informed me it was Grand Falls and not Muddy Falls. I guess that was pretty funny, I was just about laughed out of the off we went.

So after traveling down a very muddy road we came to the Little Colorado River. I saw tire tracks going into the river and tracks coming out on the other side. The river was quite deep. After careful inspection I noticed what looked like either a cement road or some sort of cement dam large enough to hold a car. With water, ice and mud flowing over said road I decided to proceed over it. When we arrived at the Grand Falls it wasn't too grand. Most of what would have been flowing water was frozen. There was a small trickle of water in the far corner. Most of the photographs you'll see of this place are from where the small viewing huts are on the other side. We had a beautiful sunset that afternoon that went on for quite a while. We decided to leave to cross the water before it was dark. I didn't think it was worth sticking around and chance driving off the road into the river. It would have been one heck of a long cold walk back to the main road. That's how it goes sometimes. As for the car, I'm still cleaning red mud off of the bottom and in the wheel-wells. Toyota made this great 4 Runner and then put a billion crevices in the wheel-wells so your truck could keep all that mud with it which I imagine eventually turns the metal to rust.

This year is going to be better, I know it is. I'll keep telling myself that. Smile and keep going...guess I should have gone instead to Horseshoe Bend but then there's that timing thing again.

Got mud?