landscape

John Moulton Barn

In Grand Teton National Park resides two of the most photographed barns on the planet.  The T.A. Moulton Barn, which is the most popular of the two, and The John Moulton Barn.  Both of these barns reside in an area known as Mormon Row and they are about a quarter of a mile apart.

The road to get to these barns is closed in the winter, so if you want to visit them, you will need to make a walk of about a mile, however, the walk is well worth the effort.

On this particular day, we hiked out in the dark to make sure we were at The John Moulton Barn before sunrise.  The area hadn't had near as much snow as normal this year, so the hike out was really easy.  It was cold, though, at -1 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Due to the lack of snow, it seemed several other people had been in the area before us.  What that meant was we had a lot of footprints in the snow to deal with.  The best, and easiest, way to deal with them was to get back from the barn a bit, lower your perspective and use the sagebrush to block as much of the footprints as possible. 

Aperture-priority, 0.5 sec, f/11, ISO 100, 24mm

This image was made just before the sun hit the mountain peaks.  The sky gave us a hint of color as the moon was setting.  I believe any morning is a beautiful morning in this area, but spending a morning here with friends, a camera and a sunrise is tough to beat!

Image made with my Canon 5D IV, Tamron 24-70mm Lens and Sirui 3 stop GND Filter.  Gear supported by my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and G-20X Ballhead.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

One of the lighthouses along our stop up the coast from Boston to Maine was Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  We did get to shoot this one around 9:30AM, which wasn't the best light, but not the worst either.

Pemaquid has these rocks in the foreground which make for excellent composition elements.  From the angle I shot this, there was no waves crashing onto the rocks, so I did not want to use a 10 stop ND filter here, since there really was no movement anyways.  I did use a circular polarizer, however to cut some glare off of the foreground rocks and enhance some of the colors.

Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/15th second, ISO 100

When composing This image, I simply wanted to include as much of the foreground rock as I could, so I picked a spot in the rocks that had lines that lead you into the lighthouse and jammed my lens as close to it as I could while laving the lighthouse in the upper third of the frame.  

I created this image with my Canon 5D III, Tamron 15-30mm lens and Vu Filter system.  All resting atop my Sirui W-2204 tripod.

Portland Head Light

When we arrived in Boston on our way to Maine, we knew one of our first stops was going to be Portland Head Light.  In fact, we shot it once at sunset, went back the next morning for sunrise and again on our way back home when it was in immense fog.  We certainly got our chances at it, but I think sunrise offered the best opportunity.

Portland Head light is the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine. It's also probably the most photographed lighthouse in the USA. 

Aperture Priority, F/8, 30 seconds, ISO 1250

This image was made before the sun had risen.  If you look closely you can still see several stars in the sky.  You can also see another lighthouse way off in the distance.  That is Ram Island Ledge Light, which is now a privately owned lighthouse.

I created this image using my Canon 5D III, Tamron 24-70mm Lens and Sirui W-2204 Tripod.

 

The Narrows

While on the trip to Zion National Park, I took a hike with the guys from the Tamron Mobile Learning Center up into The Narrows.  If you haven't seen the video we made you can check that out on the Tamron Mobile Leanring Center Facebook page here.

Being a guy that cut his teeth in landscape photography by shooting waterfalls and flowing water, this was one of the highlights of the trip for me!  I can not wait to get back there when there are less people.  The summer months are super crowded and The Narrows were the most crowded of any of the places in the park we visited.  We literally saw thousands of people along this hike and in the river.

The Narrows is basically an area where The Virgin River flows in between these gigantic, colorful canyon walls.  Although the hike is relatively easy, most of the hike is in the river itself, which often requires renting special equipment.  The water temp was 62 degrees when we were there, but we still rented special neoprene socks and shoes to keep our feet warm and comfy.  We also rented dry bags and backpacks to carry our gear in.  In the colder months you need to rent a wet suit due to the fact that the water is much colder and typically higher.  We never got in water that was more than waist deep on our trip.

When you do what is known as the "bottom up" hike, which is the most typical one due to the fact that it doesn't require special permits like the "top down" hike does, you can only go 5 miles up river before you have to turn around.  We made it about 3 miles up the river to the area known as Wall Street before we turned around and headed back. 

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 4 seconds

There was no way I was making this hike along the river without my tripod!  I knew I was going to be getting some slow shutter speed shots to show the water movement.

This image was made using my Canon 5D III and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.  I took my Sirui N-3204X and K-30X Ballhead along for stability.  This was the only gear I took...aside from a circular polarizer that I kept mounted on my lens.  I traveled as light as possible.  After cramming my tripod in that backpack we rented I didn't have room for much else anyways.

 

 

An Incredible Sunset

Today I am sharing another image from The Rock Factory.  Yesterday I mentioned how incredible the sunset was that evening.  It was the best I had seen in quite some time.

The Rock Factory has a bunch of these hoodoos that are very interesting.  A hoodoo is a rock formation that usually consist of soft rock topped by a harder rock that doesn't erode as easily.  The less eroded stone on top then protects the softer rock that forms the column form further erosion, too.  When you look at these formations, you think "How in the heck does that giant rock balance up there?".  That's how.  

This is such an amazing location, but despite all it has to offer the thing I enjoyed most was shooting with a few friends and avoiding the massive crowds that were at all of the popular, iconic spots.  

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 0.4 seconds, Exposure Compensation -1EV, 15mm

These giant rocks resting on the ground made perfect foreground elements that serve a few purposes.  First, they help anchor the image, which, in turn gives the image depth.  They also, in conjunction with the hoodoo, help to lead you to the real subject...the sunset.

This image was made with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  This combo was mounted on my Sirui N-3204X Tripod and K-30X Ballhead.

The Rock Factory

I'm finally home from another trip out west.  This time I got to visit areas that I had never visited before.  The trip took us to Zion National Park for a few days, then to Page, AZ and finally to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was a whirlwind of a trip with very little sleep, but they are always a ton of fun!

While out in Page, AZ we met up with a good friend, Stan Burman, who lives in the area and agreed to take us to a spot he shoots regularly that he calls "The Rock Factory".  The Rock Factory is actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.  It has all kinds of interesting rock formations there that are super photogenic.  We arrived there to photograph the sunset and it did not disappoint!

Aperture Priority, F/16, 1/15th, ISO 100, Exposure Compensation +1

This is an image I made just as the sun was setting over the horizon.  I wanted to capture the starburst of the sun, so I stopped my aperture down to F/16.  Then, in order to keep the foreground from being too dark, I set my exposure compensation to +1.

The sunset turned out to be one of the best I had seen in a long time.  Stay tuned for more pictures of it!

Image made with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  All resting atop my Sirui N-3204X tripod and K-30X Ballhead.

 

Delicate Arch

One of the places on the list while we were in Moab, UT was Delicate Arch.  It is a 65 foot tall, freestanding arch and can be found in Arches National Park.  Finding it does require a 3 mile round trip hike that gains 480 ft in elevation.  It also gets very hot here, but we got a break on our hike up for sunset...it was only in the high 80's and on our way back down it rained on us, which we welcomed at the time.

Aperture Priority, 1/100th second, F/11, ISO 100, 51mm

I shot this at "sunset". I put sunset in quotes because you really can't shoot this at sunset.  A shadow starts to come in and block the arch the closer you get to the actual sunset time.  Once that shadow starts to creep in your scene, the shooting is pretty much over.  We also had to deal with an enormous amount of people here.  People were all over the place.  They were lined up in a long line to take turns to have their picture made under the arch.  Trying to snap shots around the people was the biggest challenge.  

 I made this image with my Canon 5D III and Tamron 24-70mm Lens resting atop my Sirui tripod and K-40X ballhead.

Mesa Arch

Tomorrow we start our workshop in The Grand Teton National Park, but we arrived a few days early to visit a few other places before the workshop begins.

One of the places we wanted to visit was Mesa Arch in Cayonlands National Park.  It is a very iconic arch and probably the most photographed thing in the park.  It is located in what is called The Island in The Sky district of the park.  It is very easy to get to as it is only about 1/4 mile from the parking area along a well maintained trail, which is probably why we were soon joined by about 100 of our closest friends for the sunrise shoot, most of them iPad shooters, however.

Just to the other side of the arch is a 1200 foot drop into Buck Canyon. This creates a "bowl" and what happens is when the sun rises and reflects off of that "bowl" it lights the underside of Mesa Arch up glowing red...more of those shots to come ;)

This shot was taken after I got some sunrise images from the "iconic" few just to the left of where I am standing now.  Some of the crowd started to disperse and I tried a few quick compositions before wrapping up and leaving.   I am always a sucker for a sun star, so I tried it from a few different angles.  This was one of my favorites, although there were many from this particular morning.

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 1/40th second shutter speed, 15mm

This image was shot using a Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 15-30mm Lens.  This setup was all mounted on my Sirui N-3204X Tripod and K-30 Ballhead.

Schwabacher's Landing

I'm really getting excited about our workshop in GTNP next week.  A few days ago my teaching partner, David Akoubian, posted a bit about shooting one of the many iconic locations, Schwabacher's Landing, from different locations than the most popular spot.  David mentioned shooting it from the main parking area.  I wanted to share a few images from a different area, also.

These two images were made within feet of each other.  Honestly, I like the scene from this spot better than the more popular spot.  You don't get a good reflection of the mountains in this location, but I like the way the river leads you to the mountains.  I also like the foreground elements here a lot better, too.

Aperture Priority, F/16, ISO 100, 1/6th second, Exposure Compensation -1.0

Aperture Priority, F/11, ISO 100, 1/40th second

Like I mentioned, you do lose the reflection here.  It really is impossible to get because the water is flowing much too fast.  However, I love the scene with the river rocks in the foreground.  These images were made on 2 separate trips, so I liked it enough to go back twice ;)

Sometimes all it takes to bring new enthusiasm to a scene you've shot multiple times is changing your perspective.   Next time you are at a scene that you've shot several times before, walk a few hundred yards down river or lower your tripod...whatever it takes to get a new perspective.

These images were made with the Sony A7R, Metabones adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens.

Spruce Flat Falls

Here's an image of Spruce Flat Falls located in the Tremont area of GSMNP.  This is a really nice waterfall with the upper section being about 30 feet tall.  It is about a mile hike to get to, however.  The trail for this fall begins at the Tremont Institute.  

I took this image using my Tamron 15-30mm lens and just got as close to the water as I could.  You can't shoot these waterfall scenes without a circular polarizer.  I used a special filter mounting system designed for the Tamron 15-30 by Vu Filters.  It allows me to have a polarizer on that lens.  I can also add additional filters if needed, like a neutral density or graduated filter.

Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Tamron 15-30, VU Filters Polarizer, Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Aperture Priority, F/16, ISO 100, 2 seconds, 16mm