Day 3 of my Death Valley excursion. Badwater. Aptly named as this is the lowest point in North America, at the hottest spot on earth, and there’s actually a small pool of water at this point! Of course the amount of salt in the water makes it completely undrinkable…hence the name. An ancient lake bed, this amazing place collects all the minerals and salt from the surrounding land that drain in to the basin during floods. These minerals then form amazing shapes and polygons out on this seemingly endless stretch of salt. As luck would have it this was my one good sunset with clouds…and it was super promising. As I scouted the area I eventually set off on a trek out to find the best examples of this phenomenon that I could. While doing so I came across this particular formation that really caught me. With the late afternoon light it seems as if it were a tree of salt. I snapped this photo and then moved on as I was constantly looking for unique shapes. Of course little did I realize that I would try, without success, to find this spot again once sunset took hold. Glad I stopped when I did 🙂
Arriving in to San Francisco after 4 days in the desert was fun. Back to city life as opposed to deafening silence of the dunes and remote landscapes. I had one evening to shoot and then of course came the big decision of WHERE!? The clouds were looking pretty sexy and the trick was to find a spot to take best advantage of the conditions. After driving around for over an hour I decided to head down to Kirby Cove on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Having never been there I figured what a better time than now. As it goes the sunset did get crazy colorful but more to the direct west, and not east where I was facing, however the was plenty of light to go around. This is the very last shot of the evening for me as the color was just about being taken over by the city lights. Stars had already made their appearance but the high cirrus held some of that lovely pink glow. Glad I waited til the very end 🙂
We now skip ahead to my third morning in Death Valley. Having seen plenty of photographs of Zabriskie Point, admittedly I was not overly enthused about capturing this icon. Dont know why really just the pull to capture it wasnt there. However, after photographing an incredible sunset at Badwater the evening before I had the time, and was in the right part of this huge National Park, to be able to try and catch sunrise from here. Easily accessible it’s one of the first stops coming in to the Valley from Las Vegas. This particular morning it was chilly…quite chilly. Even though much of Death Valley is below sea level this overlook is around 5000ft above the valley floor. Bundled up I made my way out to this spire of earth which placed me in a great spot to capture the unique landforms and colors that this location supplies. As the sky was quite clear (not what photographer’s hope for) the best light was actually about 20min before sunrise during the intense twilight glow that happens before sunrise and after sunset. This special light brought the scene to life and really enhanced the striations in the rock. Now if only there was a hot chocolate stand nearby… 🙂
For more information on this and other recent Death Valley photos please email us through the site or contact any aFeinberg Gallery!
Back on Kauai, I have just spent 4 full days in Death Valley for the first time. Somehow it managed to coincide with the coldest tempertuares of the year as I experienced below freezing weather every night with the coldest being 14F on the last night at the Racetrack. Very bizarre considering the hottest temperature ever recorded was in this valley.
Having seen images from DV for years it was with much anticipation that I was able to visit and see for myself. The park itself is HUGE. Many hours to traverse across it with many roads needed 4wd and high-clearance. My car provided me with decent amounts of both for some good off-roading and washboard type roads. But no boulder hopping this time 😛
While there are many stories and images to share I will start with this photograph made on my first evening at the park. After getting some good advice to visit these remote dunes I headed out after my morning shoot clear across the park…2+hrs away. What I didnt realize is that these dunes were not right next to the road. As I followed the dirt roads I realized that it was going to be a park and hike kinda day. I picked a spot about in the middle of the length of this stretch of sand, packed my bag, water, WARM clothing, put a pin on my phone map so I didnt lose my car…and off I went. Looking out across the wash the dunes loom large…maybe 200+ft high. Hiking across a flood plain made for a unique experience as the evidence of rapidly flowing water (however infrequent) was apparent everywhere. Oh what a sight that must be to see (and NOT be standing where I was).
Making my arrival to my destination after approximately 1-1.5mi of hiking it was time to start finding lines. Often times I am first overwhelmed by the opportunities of locations like this…where to start!?! While taking in the fading sun and shapes that play along the dunes I knew my end goal for the night would be some star work. The sky was fairly clear and the moon was a crescent…so bright enough for some light but not too bright to overwhelm the stars. As twilight arrived I knew I needed a strong composition to compliment this scene. After playing around I settled on this edge of the dune leading up to the big peak. Then to wait. As the sun sets in the desert the temperature drops fairly quickly, that combined with the windy conditions had me in for a good introductory to Death Valley in winter. Just at the boarder of twilight and night it was time to make the exposure. Capturing the end of the magenta glow as the stars made their appearance. The clouds that happened to appear and hang around were some of the FEW that I saw my entire 4 days in Death Valley as was very lucky to have them exist where they did. After I made this exposure I waited a bit longer and did some star-trail work…but that’s for another day 😉
For more information on this and any other Death Valley images please contact us through the website or any aFeinberg Gallery!
It happens. We’re driving down the road, maybe someone else is at the wheel, and there’s that image that flys by our window. “Man, wish I had a camera”. Photographer or not we have the same experiences. On my last full day in the Eastern Sierra in Oct ’12 I was driving south to go check out the town of Bishop. Having spent the previous 2 days chasing light, I was constantly on the lookout for great arrangements of Aspens. What’s so unique about shooting fall color like this is I’m out in times of day I wouldnt even think about with other landscapes (read: middle hours of the day). The trees just glow when backlit which greatly extends the hours I normally shoot from sunrise/sunset to ALL day! This particular day, as I was booking it south, at somewhere between 70-80mph, there next to me was this cute little line of Aspens. I recall there being a momentarily thought of ‘should I keep going’ and then immediately realized that “I do what I want!” and pulled over (safely of course). Now naturally there was a fence to keep people out which meant it was time to stand on top of my car. If you ever see me photograph you’ll know this is my favorite place to be. Plus the added fun of people driving by me at highway speeds most likely thinking “what the hell is that guy doing!?”. Next step was to wait. Of course, this is landscape photography after all. With the clouds above I needed the sun to pop through to backlight these trees and make them POP. As the clouds parted a bit and the sun snuck (apparently this is not a real word, but we’re making it one) through I quickly captured this scene, climbed down off the roof of my car and was back on the road. All in a days work. 🙂
If you are interested in Collecting this unreleased image please contact any of the aFeinberg Galleries!
Lately there has been a boon of photo workshop requests and on this day, Dec 24, I met with my client on the north shore and off we went to Moloa’a Bay. Now admittedly I don’t always like getting up for sunrises…they’re early :p In the winter at least we are afforded a later start time, 715am at this point, so it’s not quite as harsh. As we drove south/east the sky had already started to glow something wicked…what one sees AFTER a crazy sunset….my assumption…a precursor to an AMAZING sunrise. Arriving on location the light was already very fun. My goals during my workshops is direct instruction both with the technical side of the camera and the artistic side of “what the hell we put in front of the camera”. Making sense of it all. As we got set up and started a few compositions the light continued to increase. My camera was already out as I was showing by example some of the techniques I was talking about. Then….BAM!!! Holy freakin light explosion. (just as I expected…of course) 😉 Quickly getting the client’s composition dialed and settings in order I excused myself and scampered about 30ft over to the side, threw my tripod down around this rock where I saw the ocean washing past. I clicked exactly 4 shots…4. And then ran back to my client to make sure we kept recording this wonder. The explosion lasted just 5 minutes. Sometimes….we just get lucky 🙂
Another trip to California in the books…and this one did not dissapoint 🙂 While I photographed a few places, the Shasta area was my target again. And after the recent storms, had completely transformed to it’s winter coat. Amazing to see. Of course, it was MUCH colder than the last time I visited in August which kept me thinking if I had brought the right clothes for the job. Admittedly I am a winter person. My body runs warm. I love playing in the snow and skiing. The cold air in the nose. Fresh. Tingling. The quite. It’s just a special time of year. How and why I ended up in a tropical paradise…I can only say that the universe knows better than I do 🙂
While there were LOTS of incredible photos taken I offer you up the story of a special sunrise I was able to capture…please enjoy 🙂
445am alarm at hotel.
Get out to car…thick frost already over everything…it’s cold alright. Drive about 30min up to the trailhead on a frost covered road. Arriving in the parking lot there’s snow…in fact there’s a nice ground cover over the entire landscape. And it’s cold. Standing there in the dark I wonder what the hell am I doing up here? It’s completely dark, approx 25F and this hike will be completely in the snow. And there is wildlife out there…where…I have no idea, but that always enters the back of my mind. Well, this is what I’m here for. I just hope I stay warm as I hike up to 6k feet.
There’s something quite remarkable about hiking in the dark. Our surroundings merely include what our headlight illuminates, leaving the reset of the world a mystery. Then of course there are the forest noises. Which, thanks to the snow, are fairly minimal. I do love winter, a lot. No silence quite like it.
Having attempted this trail in August (and getting redirected lets call it) I was happy to follow the footprints of others that had already made the snowy trek. And to my surprise I was both warm and making great time. So much in fact that I arrived at the lake, (which was of course frozen over, so no reflections), before sunrise.
An even better surprise, the high cirrus glowing absolutely radiantly directly behind Mt. Shasta. Standing up on the ridge alone taking in the light and experience it makes that parking-lot-decision all worth while 🙂
To see more images from this incredible sunrise and some truly remarkable sunset (with reflection!) photographs please contact any aFeinberg Gallery or email us for more info 🙂
Having not been to a place before there are a certain amount of ways to approach the scene. Depending on the time one has it could be just a “grip it and rip it” trip. Whatever the light/clouds/conditions have that’s what we get. However, with a few days to explore I drove around a fair amount just looking. Mentally (and sometimes physically) categorizing locations under what conditions I wanted and want time of day.
This particular image was captured on my 3rd day along the Eastern Sierra. Having found this spot on my first day out I knew it had potential. The early morning light would first illuminate the mountain sides before finally reaching over the ridge and shining in to the foreground. This of course gives lots of options. If mother nature wanted to cooperate :p
Sleeping in my car the night before (bear encounter story for another time), I awoke to be overjoyed with the fact that there were clouds! Not something that one can always count on in that part of the world. I quickly made my way down to the scouted location, temperature around 30F and proceeded to spend 4 hours watching the light manipulate. I even went as far as grabbing my camping stove to cook breakfast while sitting there and waiting for the sun.
As the sun made it’s way higher in to the sky, the clouds shifted a bit and the valley floor was finally illuminated. Added with the unique sky I knew after I captured this photo it was time to move on 🙂
So I have just returned from the wonderfully diverse state of California again. This time, the focus was fall color. Having not seen autumn in approximately 6 years I was a bit deprived. Especially growing up in New York! Having the opportunity to get my lens on some amazing color was exciting. The game plan took me across Tioga pass, bypassing Yosemite this time (I know, not easy to do), and ending up in Lee Vining on the eastern side of the Sierra, along route 395. I had some general knowledge of the area as I explored a bit in August but now the seasons had turned and a new world takes shape.
Over the 4 days and nights I spent the main goal was to do nothing more than drive around, chase the light, and explore with my camera. In doing so it was obvious that capturing the uniqueness of the foliage would require the right light. One might say of course! That’s what photography is always about, however, the leaves were almost bipolar. When front lit the trees almost seemed dull. However. Put the sun behind the trees and BOOM! They came to life…glowing on the trees. This also meant I could shoot almost sun up to sun down because even midday (a time I almost always avoid), there were intimate compositions to shoot with the vibrant leaves.
This particular image was a great combination of back-light and clouds. The sun, while technically behind and to the left of the trees, was momentarily obscured by some high clouds. Thus, rendering the seen in this soft bath of glowy light. As I looked around for a standout subject these few trees poking out among the rest caught my attention. Just as quickly as the cloud came it went and a new scene was sprung.
I’m quite excited to share the new images I was able to capture and be sure to stay tuned over the next few weeks!