When Seasons Collide

The weather has been a rollercoaster the past few weeks. Moving from summer to first fall, then first winter and then to second fall . Yes, if you don’t like the weather, wait a few hours…

The past few days have been cold and raining, with snow in the higher elevations. All of this culminated in the photos I took yesterday with my phone as I was going to lunch. Enjoy!


Great White Throne

After work today, I decided to go catch some fall colors here in Zion Canyon before they are all gone.  I stumbled across this view of the Great White Throne. (More images coming soon.)



Gallery Updates

On the advice from a fellow blogger, I organized my galleries to be subject specific.  There is a new gallery for Bryce Canyon National Park (I realize I need to post more photos of this beautiful place), Grand Canyon National Park, and of course, my beloved Zion National Park.  I also posted galleries for flowers and birds, with a gallery for Ancient Art, Arizona, and Other Animals in the works.

Enjoy the images! Remember, they are all available for purchase.  Contact me for details.


The 500mm Lens, A Work in Progress

It’s been about a year since I upgraded my camera equipment, and I’m still a bit frustrated with my 500mm lens.  It’s a fixed f8 refracting lens, similar to a telescope.  Until recently, I’ve had absolutely no luck getting any workable (or viewable) images from this lens.

The other day, I read a blog somewhere giving a review of this lens, or one similar, and the qualities that it has.  In the article it mentioned that the lens and ISO should be about 1:1.  In the comments, there was someone who mentioned the best way to use this lens was to use Aperture priority, and to set the ISO to 400 and then go have some fun.  So I did.

Following are some images I took this afternoon with this advice in mind.  I also noticed inside the camera the speed of the shot that was automatically set by the camera, which helped a lot, especially with the low lighting here in Zion Canyon.  When the speed became low, I upped the ISO until the speed became comfortable enough to get a decent image without using a tripod.

Just so you know, all of these images were taken free hand (no tripod), so they are still a bit blurry.  Camera shake is easy with slower speeds and slower lenses.  I just need to work on the focus (or use a tripod).  Hopefully the new glasses will help.

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This is on the cliff above the employee area.  It looks like there is a remnant of some old power lines in this tree (either that or it is a ham radio antenna, hmmm, gives me an idea).

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This is Horse Pasture Plateau, which is slightly visible here in the lower canyon.  If you look on the right side of this image towards the top, just above the white section, there appears to be a straight line in the red formation.  If I’m not mistaken, I would say that’s the West Rim Trail, one of my absolute favorite trails in Zion National Park.

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Here is the view of Angel’s Landing, at least the top of it (which is about 1 mile from the lodge, and taller than the new Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, approximately 1500 feet above the canyon floor). I took this from a bench on the front lawn of Zion Lodge.  If you were on the top of Angel’s Landing on Sunday, October 11, between 4:30pm and 4:45pm, you are in this photo!

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Did you know that Zion Lodge has its own gargoyle?  Here is a closeup of it.  It is a popular climbing route (I don’t know the name of it off hand) that goes up to this cliff from the Lodge.  Someone told me it looks like a Mayan serpent, like you would see in the Mayan ruins in Mexico.   There are a few of these in the Park, who knows.

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Later this evening, I was sitting at a quiet spot and I heard a noise, so I looked up and was surrounded by mule deer.  This fawn was up the hillside from me (it’s hard to get a good shot of deer with a 500mm lens when they are just a few feet away).

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Here is the mama deer to the fawn above.  They were eating grass just a few feet away.  They are gorgeous animals.



Announcing the Opening of My Storefronts

Today I opened my Red Bubble Store and Zazzle Store.  Currently there are only two images available in my Red Bubble Store, and several images available in my Zazzle Store, and I will be adding more very soon.  There are many products available for these two images, and these options will be available for the coming images as well.  There are prints available of these images that are framed, posters, unframed, wall art, canvas, and metallic prints.  The sizes currently are 8×10 and 12×16 with more sizes coming soon.  Also available are iPhone and Samsung cases, iPad cases, totes, pillows, mugs, and greeting cards, mousepads, key chains, and speakers available.  More products will be coming soon.  Visit the Prints and Accessories page for more information and to visit my store front.

The first image is of Zion Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah.  It is one of the most popular hikes in Zion.  It was carved from solid rock by the very unassuming Virgin River and its tributaries.  The image was taken at the confluence of the Virgin River and Orderville Canyon.


The second image is The Great White Throne in winter.  This mountain is one of the most photographed in Zion.  Most photos you’ll see of it is in the summer or spring.  However, it’s unusual to see it covered in snow and clouds.
Great White Throne

Grand Canyon Revisited

On Tuesday, I was able to take a day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was absolutely amazing!  It’s over 8000 feet above sea level there, it was a nice 74 degrees, breezy, and sunny.  The first destination was Point Imperial.  While there, I was able to get some shots of Mt. Hayden.CRW_1360

After lunch, we went for a walk through the forest towards the park boundary.  Along the way, were some great views of the Canyon, and off in the distance, you can just see Navajo Mountain.


Along the trail, there were Ponderosa Pines, Quaking Aspens, and all kinds of shrubbery.  Speaking of Quaking Aspen,  they are currently changing colors!  They are absolutely gorgeous!  Take a look:


Frequently the trail meandered through glades of these trees, and it was very peaceful to be there and enjoy nature.  The smell of decaying leaves, which is the smell of fall, was relaxing and brought to mind thoughts of cooler weather, tranquility, and joy.


On the way back to the parking lot, this was the view of the fall colors:


It was an awesome view!  Just to see acres upon acres of fall colors was just absolutely refreshing!  The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the view of the Canyon from the North Rim Lodge while enjoying a good book and just soaking up the sun.

Weekly Photo’s Challenge: Hiking

I’m participating in LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s Challenge is: Hiking! 

Hiking.  It’s what I do!   It’s my favorite thing to do when I’m not working or sleeping.  Of course, it gives me the reason to go out photo shooting.  Recently I went hiking in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park.  I went on the Taylor Creek Trail and believe me, there are some spectacular views in the canyon!

This is Taylor Creek:


During the hike, it’s fun to look for things that are unusual or interesting.  Take  this lizard for instance, he’s enjoying the sun and warm rock.




Along the way, there are a couple of pioneer cabins from the homesteading days.  Here is one of them.



The ultimate goal of hiking of course is the journey and the adventure that goes with it, but sometimes there is a reward at the end of the trail.  In this case, it was a combination of all of these that prompted me to hike this trail.  At the end there is the world famous Double Arch Alcove.



After the hike, it’s always fun to go up to the view point and look at the Kolob Fingers of Zion National Park.  This section of the park doesn’t get as much publicity or appreciation as the lower canyons.  But it is just as spectacular or more so.



My philosophy with hiking is this: the journey is the reward, not the destination, although that helps.