I was just starting to pack up my gear when the sun, already underneath the horizon, shot a wide beam of light up between the horizon and the clouds.
It’s that time of year again when I get excited to travel. I’ve recently purchased a new camera and a small selection of lenses as well as a ReallyRightStuff ball head and clamp. I’ve been getting excited to learn my new setup and start traveling!
I was very lucky with this photograph. The island I’m on is called [Sand Dollar Island]. It is home to the Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area. I was originally on the island to capture a [different photograph]. The clouds drifted away, so I decided to try and find a capture of the sunset. I frantically scurried around the island, quickly grabbing shots, and this was one of my results. You’ll notice, at the bottom of the photograph, a circle of sand dollars. I was entirely unaware these sand dollars were on the ground until I imported my photographs into my computer for processing. By dumb luck, an island of sand dollars made its way into my photograph of a Sand Dollar Island sunset.
This is a long exposure taken during low tide on a seawall in South Marco Beach, Marco Island, FL. Just beyond these rocks, a dolphin was playing in the water while I was taking the shot.
[Here] is a link to a short video of the dolphin. I had one hand on the shutter cable for the above photograph and one hand taking the video with my mobile device.
I recently picked up the WCL-X100 19mm conversion lens for my Fuji X100. Here, I’m looking up from inside Dancehall Cave at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, Iowa.
I deliberately intended to not use any dynamic range techniques to capture more information. The idea was to make the light outside seem intense from down inside a dark cave. However, an overcast sky actually gave me a bit more detail than I was expecting.
Yesterday I visited what is easily the most unique terrain in Iowa, Maquoketa Caves State Park. The above picture is of the natural land bridge next to the upper entrance to the Dancehall Cave. Raccoon Creek runs beneath the bridge and seeps into the rock off frame, continuing to carve out the 1,100-foot long, 30-foot wide Dancehall Cave, the park’s main attraction.
Let’s hear more of those cornfield jokes!
It’s very difficult to shoot at the park for several reasons. For one, it is very, very humid, especially in the caves. Near their entrances, where hotter air meets the cool, damp air of the cave, your lens fogs up immediately. The second challenge is the extreme differences in light. The caves are very dark, and any light leaking into the scene is very bright. Even outdoors, you’re under the canopy. Everything is in the shade. Some areas, like the underside of the land bridge, are very dark. All of this contrasts greatly with the sky leaking through the top. HDR is mandatory, and this was trip was my first effort at the HDR technique.
Have a look at my [Maquoketa Caves State Park set] for more photos of the park.
Highest point of Independence Pass where it intersects the Continental Divide.
This is a popular stop in Colorado. There is a scenic overlook with Mount Elbert (not pictured), the highest peak in Colorado and the second highest peak in the contiguous United States, in the distance.
This is the view from one of the many tiers you’ll ascend on the way to Booth Lake. It’s a very interesting hike. Each tier is a different landscape. The trail is a bit over 6 miles (9.5km) and +3,000 feet (915m) in elevation.
Depending on your physical condition, the hike will take between 3 and 4 hours. Storms usually pound the top in the early afternoon, so I highly recommend starting before 8 am. Also, while the hike to Booth Lake is not attempted by many, the shorter hike to Booth Falls is very popular. Leaving early will help you beat the crowd which is often climbing all over the falls by the afternoon.
Avoid side trails prior to reaching the falls. They all lead to humdrum views and cost you time. Eat breakfast before beginning and bring protein bars to replenish you energy at the top. Bring twice as much water as you think you’ll need.
Made it to the top of Vail Mountain and watched a storm pass over Holy Cross in the Distance.
This photograph was taken on Ptarmigan Loop trail. I very strongly recommend starting the Ptarmigan Loop trail from the east (the side not directly connected to the Ridge Route trail). I also recommend doing it in the morning. You’ll be walking south along the side of a bowl and directly toward Holy Cross in the distance. The hill cuts across your view of Holy Cross and is completely saturated with daisies, all of which face north/northeast (toward you). Since the hill faces east, it will be illuminated in the morning.
Looking onto Mount of the Holy Cross from Vail Mountain, just west of Eagle’s Nest.