Posts Tagged ‘National Park’
It was pitch black when we arrived. Not a single star was visible in the heavens. It was overcast and the prospects of a spectacular sunset or even a good one were not very high. It all depended on whether the clouds extended beyond the horizon, all the way to the Colorado River, 110 miles to the east. One can always hope. Dawn photographers are always filled with hope.
Then there was a gentle tap on my cheek. I must be imagining things. And then a phantom spot materialized on my glasses. “Hey guys, it’s starting to rain. Cover up your gear,” I called. But there was no way a little rain was going to deter us. So we started wandering around in the gathering light, looking for compositions still keeping a watchful eye on the eastern horizon.
Soon it was clear that the sun was about to peep over the distant mountains and there was a thin strip of open sky that would make the sun visible for a brief minute or two. “Get ready; here it comes!” And come it did! A gossamer veil of gold filled the stormy sky, exceeding our wildest expectations. What a thrill it was to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
Tags: dawn, Joshua Tree, National Park, Rain, sunrise
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Even high up on the mountainside the parking lot is shrouded in the utter quite of the fog. I am alone. I set out, relishing the solitude. The crowns of the towering giants fade away into the mist. The fog condenses on the leaves and drops to the forest floor with barely perceptible random taps.
I continue along the trail, breathing in the moist air, breathing in the quite, breathing in the majesty that surrounds me. It is enough. And yet, there’s more.
The clouds begin to part, granting beams of sunlight passage into the cool, shadowed grove. My heart fills with joy, my eyes with wonder. And I have the presence of mind to bring it home to share.
Tags: California, coastal redwoods, fog, god rays, lady bird Johnson grove, National Park, northern California, prairie creek state park, quite, redwoods, solitude, State Park, trail
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Well, you have done it. You have spoken and selected the best of my Redwoods photographs from 2014. I chose my eight favorite photographs from trips to the magnificent redwood groves of Northern California and offered them to you for your consideration.
It was exciting to watch the results come in. At one point there was a tie for 1st and 2nd, another tie for 3rd and 4th and, believe it or not, a tie for 5th and 6th, all at the same time. But eventually, with your help, it all got sorted out.
So here are the results.
Continue reading “The Best of the 2014 Redwoods Photographs” »
Tags: California, damnation creek, god rays, lady bird Johnson grove, National Park, northern California, photography workshop, redwoods, rhododendrons, stout grove
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The Death Valley Photography Workshop of 2015 is ‘in the can.’ We had a great time and were treated to some very special weather, something photographers always seek and are thrilled when it happens. And, unlike vacationers, very special weather is not clear skies and balmy temperatures. We started the workshop with rain and snow above 5000’. It was beautiful and the desert smelled so good. Combined with the great weather was an eager, enthusiastic and motivated group. We had a great time and you can’t ask for more than that.
I want to share a few highlights of the workshop with you.
Day 1 – Sunday
The storm Sunday night and into Monday created exciting skies. We drove up to Ubehebe Crater Sunday afternoon for ‘sunset,’ although the sun was hidden behind the clouds. My favorite photograph is an abstract of the crater bottom that was rendered best in black and white.
Continue reading “Death Valley Photography Workshop 2015” »
Tags: Artist's Palette, badwater, Death Valley, dunes, Flats, Mesquite, Mosaic Canyon, National Park, photography workshop, sand dunes, Titus Canyon
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The Rule of Thirds is a compositional principle that is widely used. And for good reason because, well, it works. At least, it works in a lot of situations.
What is the Rule of Thirds? You superimpose a tic-tac-toe grid on your image, two vertical lines equally spaced and two horizontal lines equally spaced. Then you place the key elements of your image on or near those lines, or at one of their intersections. They don’t have to be exactly on the lines or intersections, just near them. This is art, not engineering, so it’s important that it feels right. But the Rule of Thirds gives us positions that are visually very strong and command the viewer’s attention. That’s why you want to use this principle for the key elements of your composition, the elements you want to draw the viewer’s eye to.
One should be cautious in overusing the Rule of Thirds. It should not be applied mechanically and certainly not universally. It does not apply to all compositions. After all, aren’t our ‘Rules’ of composition made to be broken? But on the other hand, sometimes a composition gets just a little bit stronger when you move the key element just a tiny bit to place it closer to or right on a 1/3rd line.
The fact is it works so well in so many situations that the camera manufacturers give us the ability to display the grid on our camera’s LCD screens and viewfinders. Also, software publishers like Adobe display the grid when we use the crop tool. This is true of Elements, Lightroom and Photoshop. And these aids can be very helpful in achieving strong compositions.
Why does the Rule of Thirds work so well? To answer that let’s talk about Visual Tension.
Continue reading “Mastering Composition – Rule of Thirds” »
Tags: blue, bulls eye, Center, center of gravity, composition, corner, desert, drama, energy, frame, gravity, Joshua Tree, landscape, life, morning, National Park, orange, photography, red, rule of thirds, sheep pass, silhouette, spring, static, sunrise, tension, tic-tac-toe, visual, visual center of gravity
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The results are in and you have selected your favorite photographs of 2012. Before presenting the results let me just say how much I appreciate the input from everyone that participated. This has been an exciting experience for me and I hope you had fun.
So, on to the results. There were eight photographs in the final runoff. They were the top two of their categories – California Deserts, Big Sur, Eastern Sierra and Zion National Park. So each one is a winner in it’s own right.
Let’s start with number 8 – Sunrise, North Lake.
North Lake is in the Eastern Sierra just outside the town of Bishop,, California. It is one of three lakes that are up Bishop Creek. North Lake sets itself apart from the other two (Sebrina and South Lakes) in that it is naturel. Besides being the smallest there is no dam to back up water and generate electricity. The only development is a pack station at its head. And there’s a rustic campsite upstream a little ways. I always return to this same location because of the boulders in the foreground, the soft grasses and the snag in the middle ground. The colors at sunrise are magnificent with the cool blues and greens that are still in the shade and the bright warm morning light on the peak in the back. I get a strong feeling that all is well with the world when I’m there.
Continue reading “Best of 2012 – Results” »
Tags: badwater, Big Sur, Bishop, blue, California, clouds, cockscomb mountains, Death Valley, desert, Eastern Sierra, fine art photography, god rays, gold, golden hour, green, Joshua Tree, landscape, light painting, lightning, Mammoth Lakes, National Park, night photography, North Lake, orange, Pfeiffer beach, photograph, Pinto Basin, salt, seascape, star trails, storm, Sundial, sunrise, sunset, Temples of the Virgin, thunder, Tunnel, Twin Lakes, Utah, West Temple, yellow, Zion
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In 2013 we started a fun project – picking the best of my photographs from 2012. We approached it area by area, choosing the best from each. It’s been a lot of fun so far. And now it’s time to finish what was started and select the best photograph of 2012.
There are photographs from four areas – California Deserts, Eastern Sierra, Big Sur and Zion National Park in Utah.
California has two wonderful desert national parks. Joshua Tree here in Southern California is a blend of both high and low desert, the fantastic trees that give the park its name, outcrops of granite that attract climbers from all over the world, not to mention the great photography. Death Valley is the premier desert attraction in the country.
At the opposite end of California’s diverse spectrum is incomparable Big Sur, one hundred miles of the most incredible coastline in all of North America. Big Sur is famous for its precipitous cliffs that plunge into the pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean but it also boasts redwood groves, waterfalls, classic bridges and more. One small stretch of the coast captured your imagination and for good reason. Pfeiffer Beach is blessed with some incredible rocks just off shore pounded by powerful surf. And when the light is just right the photographs are unbeatable.
The Eastern Sierra boasts the mighty Sierra Nevada mountains to the west and rivers and lakes along the Owens Valley. One of the prime attractions is the Mammoth Lakes area with it’s superb skiing and a beautiful string of alpine lakes and laughing streams.
Zion National Park in Southwest Utah attracts visitors and photographers from all over the globe. Its spectacular red sandstone cliffs create a canyon that of unparalleled beauty. And when autumn storms roll through, the drama of the already impressive cliffs and towers is intensified.
This is a sampling of the photographs that are being considered for the Best of 2012. The top two images from each of these areas are presented for your evaluation. Take our survey to view them all and pick the ones you like the best.
Thanks for participating. Have fun and enjoy.
Please feel free to share this with your friends. The more input we have the better.
Join me on an upcoming workshop. Click here for more details.
To see more of my photographs click here.
Tags: Big Sur, California, Death Valley, Eastern Sierra, fine art, Joshua Tree, mountains, National Park, Pacific Ocean, photo, photograph, photography, Sierra Nevada, Utah, workshop, Workshops, Zion
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The next step in selecting the best photograph from among the photographs I captured in 2012 is completed. And you have spoken in a loud and clear voice.
We are doing this one area at a time. The first was the California Deserts. Next came the Eastern Sierra. This round was magnificent Big Sur. And since I was there three times in 2012 there were a host of photographs to choose from – ten in all.
How did it turn out you ask? Let’s get right into the results and this time we’ll start with the most popular photograph.
In the number 1 position is Sunset, Pfeiffer Beach.
Everyone loves a beautiful sunset. But Mother Nature doesn’t pass them out freely. So you need to be patient and ready for them when they happen.
Sunset photographs have the best color when they’re underexposed a bit. But they are so inspiring that too often not enough attention is paid to the foreground. On this evening I sprinted 100 yards or so down the sandy beach to work the rock outcrop into the composition. And it worked well with the triangular shape of the rock mirroring the diagonal sweep of the clouds.
But that wasn’t enough for an strong foreground. It was important to capture an interesting pattern in the surf which completed the composition.
Continue reading “Best Photograph of 2012 – Big Sur” »
Tags: anticipation, beach, Big, bixby, Bridge, cathedral, china, clouds, composition, cove, dawn, diagonal, Earth, energy, falls, foreground, god, gold, gothic, green, light, line, lobos, mc way, middle, morning, National Park, ocean, pattern, Pfeiffer, photography, pier, Point, power, powerful, rays, Rock, rocky, sacred, salmon, San Simeon, shore, static, sun, sunrise, sunset, sur, Surf, tranquil, triangle, Tunnel, twilight, warmth, waterfall, waves, winter, workshop, Zion
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Wow, the Death Valley photography workshop was great. We had a terrific bunch of participants and good weather.
Zabriskie point is always a highlight for me and my enthusiasm for it rubbed off. Some of the other highlights were Mosaic Canyon, Devils Corn Field – at night, Aguereberry Point and Cotton Ball Marsh. Some of these were first time visits.
Another first was breakfast at the Furnace Creek Inn, a new tradition I do believe.
There’s so much more to see and do than anyone can possibly cover in three days but just being there is a joy. And, two coyotes greeted me on the way in. I was wondering if they would be there on the way out and sure enough. They said farewell as I departed.
I’ll be back next year. Come join me.
Ralph Nordstrom Photography Workshops
Tags: California, Death Valley, National Park, photography, spring, workshop
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We are choosing the best Ralph Nordstrom Photography photograph of 2012, or, more precisely, you are. We’re running a series of surveys, selecting the best photograph from each of five areas where we did workshops – Death Valley and Joshua Tree (collectively the California Deserts), Eastern Sierra, Big Sur, Zion and Bryce Canyon.
The first survey covered the California Deserts. And the results are in. But before presenting them I’d like to give you an opportunity to weigh in on the second survey – the incomparable Eastern Sierra. We were there in early June which is summer in the Owens Valley but still spring up in the mountains. There are six photographs to choose from and the survey will only take a couple of minutes. So click the link below and share your opinion.
Select the Best Eastern Sierra Photograph of 2012
OK, now let’s turn to the results of the California Deserts survey. There were four photographs, two from Death Valley and two from Joshua Tree.
Continue reading “Best Photograph of 2012 – California Desert” »
Tags: 2012, abstract, badwater, Big Sur, Bryce, campground, Canyon, clouds, cockscomb mountains, cottonwood, dawn, Death Valley, depth, Eastern, haze, interpretation, Joshua Tree, layers, Mirror, National Park, Owens Valley, pan, pattern, photograph, Pinto Basin, playa, quartz, Rain, salt, Sierra, Sierra Nevada, storm, sunrise, sunset, survey, twilight, Zabriskie Point, Zion
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