Thinking Of Yosemite

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls - Click image to enlarge

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls – Click image to enlarge

 

As I’m sure you are aware, Yosemite National Park has been in the news quite a bit in recent weeks because of the massive “Rim Fire” that as of September 26, 2013 has burned 257,134 acres or 402 square miles in and around the park.  Currently the fire is 84% contained, and fire crews are continuing to extinguish hot spots near containment lines.  Firefighters continue to monitor the slow spread of the fire in the Yosemite and Emigrant Wilderness areas between Cherry Lake and Hetchy Reservoir according to the latest fire update.  Fortunately, the fire did not enter Yosemite Valley.

Given all the recent attention on Yosemite because of the fire, it prompted me to look at my images from the park.  Yosemite is a stunningly beautiful place and although it has been almost 5 1/2 years since I was there, it seems like it was only yesterday.  The image above is of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls photographed through tall lodge pole pines during my first few hours in the park, truly a stunning view.  Taken together Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, and 6th highest in the world.

The image below is a black and white image of Tenaya Canyon, viewed from Glacier Point on a completely cloudless day.  At the right is the iconic granite massif Half Dome.  In the center is Mount Watkins, and just below it at the mouth of the canyon is Mirror Lake.  On the left are the Royal Arches with North Dome above them and beyond is Mount Hoffman covered with snow.

 

Looking Up Tenaya Canyon - Click image to enlarge

Looking Up Tenaya Canyon – Click image to enlarge

Although I have many places on my list to photograph, I wouldn’t have to think twice about going back to Yosemite.  To see more of my photography of Yosemite National Park, please visit my gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in National Parks Tagged , , |

Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin

Noah "Bud" Ogle Cabin - Click image to enlarge

Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin – Click image to enlarge

 

Noah “Bud” Ogle was a Smoky Mountain farmer who first settled in what is now Gatlinburg with his wife Cindy in 1879.  Their cabin, pictured above was built in the 1880’s and is a great place to visit to get a glimpse of what pioneer life was like in the Appalachian Mountains.  The cabin consists of two cabins sharing a single chimney, known as a “saddlebag” style.  The Ogle cabin also has a very unique feature for the time…running water.  A wooden plume ran from a spring near the cabin up to the back porch.  Once there the water poured into a double sink made from a large log.  In 1977 the Ogle homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is currently maintained by the National Park Service as part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The Ogle farm is the first stop on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.  There is also a very nice self-guiding nature trail, the Ogle Nature Trail that begins just off the back porch.  The trail winds its way through a forest of large hemlock and yellow-poplar to the banks of LeConte Creek.  Here you’ll find the remnants of the Ogle Tub Mill and sluice way seen below.

 

The Ogle Tub Mill - Click image to enlarge

The Ogle Tub Mill – Click image to enlarge

To see more of my photography from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, please visit my gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in National Parks Tagged |

Back to the Smoky Mountains Again!

I recently made another trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 2 ½ days of photography.  I had an ambitious schedule planned, with the first afternoon at the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill, then a sunset at the Morton Overlook later that evening.  The next day started with a sunrise from the Foothills Parkway West followed by Cades Cove, a hike to Abrams Falls, then photographing along the Middle Prong of the Little River in the Tremont area.  My last morning in the park was to be spent in the Roaring Fork area.

The historic Mingus Mill was originally built in the 1790’s by the Mingus Family who owned it until the 1930’s when the National Park Service acquired it.  The current mill, built in 1886 by Sion Early replaced the original mill and uses a water-powered turbine to power all the machinery in the mill instead of a traditional water wheel. Today you can buy cornmeal and other mill-related items in the mill house.  This view shows the water swiftly flowing through the millrace to the mill.  I used a polarizing filter to adjust the amount of reflection with a 4 second shutter speed to clearly show the motion of the fast moving water.

 

Fast moving water flows through the millrace to the mill - Click image to enlarge

Mingus Mill – Click image to enlarge

 

It was about a 20 mile drive across the Newfound Road to the Morton Overlook from the Mingus Mill.  The clouds were pretty heavy so I was keeping my fingers crossed when I arrived at the overlook that I would get some timely breaks in the clouds at sunset.   I chose the Morton Overlook for my sunset location because in late July the sun sets directly in the “V” of the receding ridgelines. As the time for sunset approached, the clouds were very heavy just above the horizon so I knew that once the sun reached those clouds it would be the last I’d see of the sun.  Although I’m pleased with the image below, it’s not quite the shot I hoped to get.  Little did I know that the cause of those heavy clouds on the horizon was a thunderstorm hidden from my view by the mountains.  I ran into it while driving the dark, narrow and twisty Little River Road to my hotel in Townsend, Tennessee….it was a very long, slow drive to Townsend!

 

Smoky Mountain Sunset from the Morton Overlook – Click image to enlarge

The next morning I woke to rain, but got dressed and headed out anyway. If you aren’t out there, you won’t get the shot so off I went! When I arrived at the 2nd overlook on the Foothills Parkway West, fog filled the entire valley between my vantage point and the mountains.  Only the tops of the trees were visible above the fog, with an orange glow in the sky from the rising sun.  Just minutes after this shot was taken, the fog shifted and I couldn’t see anything, including the sunrise!

 

Sunrise from the Foothills Parkway West - Click image to enlarge

Sunrise from the Foothills Parkway West – Click image to enlarge

After shooting in Cades Cove and hiking to Abrams Falls, I was hot and tired from my hike and decided it was past time to get away from all the people in Cades Cove. I thought seriously about going back to my hotel and relaxing, but decided to keep shooting for a few more hours and end my day in the Tremont area, which is a beautiful and much quieter area of the park.  I was really looking forward to the peace and quiet this part of the park offered!  As luck would have it, as I turned into the Tremont area it started raining again. Undeterred, I drove several miles until the paved road turned into a gravel road.  Having photographed in this area before, I knew that all along the gravel portion of the road there were great scenes of the Middle Prong of the Little River.  After getting my rain gear on, I started walking along the river and just a short distance from the car I came upon this scene.  The light was fantastic, the kind every landscape photographer dreams about (and knows won’t last long)…the rain, fog and mist combined to give this image a wonderful ethereal quality.  I could have easily gone back to the hotel and relaxed instead of staying out to shoot in the rain, I’m really glad I didn’t!

 

Middle Prong of the Little River - Click image to enlarge

Middle Prong of the Little River – Click image to enlarge

To see more of my photography from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, please visit my gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in General Photography, National Parks, Photographic Technique Tagged , , |

City Lights

 

Click to enlarge

Broad Street Bridge, LeVeque Tower, & Ohio Supreme Court – Click image to enlarge

 

Earlier this week I met up with some fellow photographers to do some night photography along the riverfront in downtown Columbus Ohio.  Along the riverfront where the Scioto River flows through the city, the City of Columbus built a very nice “urban oasis” made up of some 145 acres of parkland from the Arena District to the Whittier Peninsula  with an integrated system of parks, boulevards, bikeways and pedestrian paths with fountains, restaurants, benches, swings and various attractions called the “Scioto Mile.”  Some of the main attractions are an amazing 15,000 square foot interactive fountain and an authentic replica of the Santa Maria.  Many of the bridges and buildings are attractively lighted which adds even more atmosphere to the area after dark and are the main subjects for our camera’s this evening.  Taken from the promenade along the east side of the riverfront, the image above includes the Broad Street Bridge, AEP Building, LeVeque Tower, and the Ohio Supreme Court.  Below is a close-up of the Rich Street Bridge.

 

The Rich St. Bridge accented by blue lights - Click image to enlarge

The Rich St. Bridge accented by blue lights – Click image to enlarge

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in General Photography, Metro Parks Tagged , , |

Hilton Head Sunrise

Sunrise over the Atlantic – Click image to enlarge

I just got back from a family vacation in Hilton Head Island, SC.  We had a fantastic time, and no one wanted to go home when it was time to leave….that’s a good sign that everyone had a great time, and we’re already making plans to go back again!  Of course, I took all of my camera gear, but I didn’t spend as much time shooting as I usually do.  Photography wasn’t the priority on this trip, but I definitely did “some” shooting.  Our rental house was just a short walk from the beach so I got up early every morning to photograph the sunrise.  I was amazed at how many people were out on the beach walking and running at 5:50 AM!  When I thought about it, I wasn’t all that surprised since its cooler then and very quiet and peaceful.

Unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t completely cooperate with me for good sunrise photography….it rained on me twice and even though I stayed out there I didn’t get any breaks in the clouds, and two other days there were heavy clouds on the horizon again without any breaks in the clouds.  As all of us photographers know, if you aren’t “out there” you aren’t going to get the shot so I was persistent and kept going out every morning and I did get two nice mornings to shoot before the week was over.  The image above was taken the first morning we were on the island which also happened to coincide with low tide.  This situation provided a great opportunity to get some interesting reflections and I took advantage of it.  In this image I positioned the camera very low, just above the sand, and captured a reflection of the rising sun in a tide pool along with a nice foreground of many little reflections off the rippled wet sand.  I really like this shot!  For the image below, I set up the camera at the bottom of a sand dune so I could include the pattern of the vines growing in the sand and exaggerate the height of the dune, and position the fence and sky at the top of the frame.

Sunrise (and sunset) is a great time to shoot, but you have to work fast since the wonderful golden color from the low angle of the sun doesn’t last long.

 

Sunrise on Hilton Head Island – Click image to enlarge

 

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in Photographic Technique Tagged |

Old Rusted Truck

 

End of the road – Click image to enlarge

 

A photographer friend of mine told me about an old rusted truck he had photographed recently in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, just southwest of Columbus, OH.  After he showed me a few pictures that he had taken of it, I decided to go photograph it myself since I had not photographed this type if subject before.

Battelle Darby Creek is one of the larger metro parks in the system and features more than 7,000 acres of prairies, fields, and forests along the Big and Little Darby Creeks.  The Darby Creeks are noted nationally for their tremendous diversity and abundance of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.  Fortunately I knew the general area of the park that the truck was in, but I had not hiked the trail the truck was on.  My friend told me that the truck was hidden by trees and bushes and hard to see even though it was not more that 10-15 feet off the trail.  He was right, it was definitely hard to see and only after a few helpful text messages from him was I able to find it.  By the time I started shooting, it was after 7 PM and the light was already starting to fade given that the truck was situated in a relatively heavily wooded part of the park so I had no more than an hour to work.  As you can see there isn’t much of the truck left, but fortunately there was room all around the truck so I was able to shoot from a variety of angles and perspectives.  It was a fun shoot and a nice little adventure.

Looking through the rear window – Click image to enlarge

 

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in General Photography, Metro Parks Tagged , |

Tall Pines In Fog

 

Tall Pines in the fog near Rose Lake – Click image to enlarge

 

As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog, one of my favorite photography destinations in Ohio is Hocking Hills State Park about an hour’s drive southeast of Columbus.  Until recently, one area of the park I hadn’t photographed is Rose Lake which is mid-way between Old Man’s Cave gorge and Cedar Falls.

Art Wolfe is one of my favorite photographers and the evening before my trip to Rose Lake I was watching one of his Travels To The Edge episodes titled “The Southwest: Zion and Canyon de Chelly.” At the end of the episode Art is photographing a grove of aspen trees in the fog which he said were perfect conditions for photographing the aspens.  As it turned out, the day of my trip to Rose Lake was very foggy, and when I arrived at the trailhead just before sunrise the area surrounding the lake was completely fogged in.  The hike to the lake from the trailhead is about ½ mile and passes through a forest of tall pines.  As soon as I saw the tall pines I immediately thought of Art photographing the aspen’s so I was very excited to be able to photograph in these conditions.  The fog acted like a giant lightbox providing very even lighting, and as you can see in the image above the fog gave the scene depth and a sense of mystery.  Since this image was taken in the fall, the red, orange, yellow and green leaves added a nice touch of color.  I spent close an hour photographing in these tall pines before finally making my way to the lake.

To see more of my photography of Rose Lake and Hocking Hills State Park, please visit my gallery here.  If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me.

Posted in Ohio State Park Tagged , |

Tulips

Beautiful spring tulips – Click image to enlarge

 

Last week I visited the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and captured this beautiful arrangement of tulips outside on the Conservatory grounds.   A trip to the conservatory is always great, and spring is one of the best times to visit.

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, located just 2 miles east of downtown Columbus Ohio has an amazing history that dates back 150 years!  The 88 acres of land the Conservatory occupies was originally purchased in 1852 by the Franklin County Agriculture Society as a site for the first Franklin County Fair.  20 years later the land was made the official grounds of the Ohio State Fair, and in 1884 the Ohio Legislature declared the site as Franklin Park and open for public use.

Influenced by Chicago’s World Fair Exposition in 1893, the city of Columbus built a Victorian-style glass greenhouse in the park.  The greenhouse opened to the public in 1895 and is known today as the Palm House.

Franklin Park and the Conservatory became the host site for AmeriFlora ’92, a six-month international horticulture exposition.  In preparation for the exposition, the historic Palm House was renovated and a $14-million expansion began in 1989 adding 58,000 square feet and included expanded plant collections, classrooms, a library, gift shop, café and administrative offices.

Today the Conservatory is a premier horticultural and educational institution and is a very popular location for family gatherings, weddings, and a variety of events.  Needless-to-say it’s a very popular destination for photographers and I’m happy to say that the Conservatory and its staff is very photographer friendly.

To learn more about the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, please visit their website here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me or leave a comment.

Posted in General Photography, Metro Parks Tagged , |

Saltpetre Cave Cave Nature Preserve

Interior of Cave 2 with waterfall – Click image to enlarge

 

Saltpetre Cave Nature Preserve is a small but beautiful area located in Hocking State Forest, Hocking County Ohio.  The preserve gets its name from the fact that the mineral saltpetre was mined from the caves a long time ago.  Potassium nitrate is one of several nitrogen-containing compounds referred to as saltpeter.  The major uses of potassium nitrate are in fertilizers, food additives, rocket propellants and fireworks; it is one of the constituents of gunpowder and why it was mined from the caves originally.

Within the preserve there are 4 caves and 7 distinct recesses. The view above is from the second level interior of cave 2 which has 3 tiers in all.  I used an external flash to light the dark interior of the cave to reveal details in the cave walls and ceiling.  I don’t normally carry flash equipment with me when I’m hiking, but since I knew I would be photographing inside the caves, I brought my flash on this hike. Without using the flash, the cave’s interior would have been completely dark compared to the bright exterior.  If you look closely at the top left of the image, you can see some saltpetre in the ceiling of the cave.  The waterfall you see at the right side of the image is seasonal and only occurs if the has been enough rainfall.  I was fortunate to visit the preserve after an inch or so of rain had fallen in the area so the waterfall was definitely a  bonus and adds a lot to the image!  Moving outside the cave and down the hill I captured the image below by positioning the camera low to the ground with a wide angle lens and close to the lichen and moss covered tree roots to create a more dramatic image with the waterfall in the background.

Lichen and moss covered tree roots with waterfall – Click image to enlarge

 

To visit the nature preserve you must obtain a permit issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  The permit should be requested at least 14 days prior to the day you want to visit.  Information about obtaining the permit can be found here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me or leave a comment.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Photographic Technique Tagged , , |

Light Painting Ash Cave

Ash Cave after being “light painted” – Click image to enlarge

 

Located in the southernmost reaches of Hocking Hills State Park, Ash Cave is beyond doubt one of the most spectacular features in the entire park. It is the largest, most impressive recess cave in Ohio, and is named after the huge pile of ashes found in the cave by early settlers. The horseshoe-shaped cave is massive; measuring 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high. When there has been enough rain, a small tributary of the East Fork of Queer Creek cascades over the rim forming a beautiful waterfall.

This image of Ash Cave was taken about half an hour after sunset in almost complete darkness. I wanted the scene to be fairly dark so I could try a technique called “light painting.” Light painting isn’t a new technique, but I’ve wanted to experiment with it for some time and decided this would be a good opportunity to give it a try. After a few test exposures, I decided to use an exposure of 30 seconds at f/11 with an ISO speed of 800.  A good friend helped me by lighting the cave wall directly behind the waterfall with a powerful spot light while I fired an external flash several times to bring out additional details of the cave during the exposure.  I’m really pleased with this image, especially since it’s my first serious attempt at light painting. Now that I’ve gotten a little experience with it, I can’t wait to try it again…. I’ve already thought of a lot of creative uses for it!

To see more images of Ash Cave and other areas of the park, see my Hocking Hills State Park gallery here.

If you have any questions about this website or my photography, I’d love to hear from you.  Please click here to email me or leave a comment.

Posted in Ohio State Park, Photographic Technique Tagged , |