Bryce Canyon National Park, Sunrise, Bryce Point Overlook

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a fairyland of red, orange, and white hoodoos and spires. The rim elevation varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

Rooms in the park can be difficult to obtain, so book early.

The images in this article were taken in Late July and Early August. As is typically the case at Bryce Canyon, sunrise generally presents more opportunities than sunset.

Continue reading “Bryce Canyon National Park, Sunrise, Bryce Point Overlook”

Bryce Canyon National Park, Sunrise, Fairland Canyon Viewpoint

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a fairyland of red, orange, and white hoodoos and spires. The rim elevation varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

Rooms in the park can be difficult to obtain, so book early.

The images in this article were taken in Late July and Early August. As is typically the case at Bryce Canyon, sunrise generally presents more opportunities than sunset.

Continue reading “Bryce Canyon National Park, Sunrise, Fairland Canyon Viewpoint”

Bryce Canyon National Park, Thunderhead at Sunset, Sunrise Point

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a fairyland of red, orange, and white hoodoos and spires. The rim elevation varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

Rooms in the park can be difficult to obtain, so book early.

The images in this article were taken in early August. Both are panoramas taken just behind the railing at Sunrise Point and just before sunset.

Continue reading “Bryce Canyon National Park, Thunderhead at Sunset, Sunrise Point”

Bryce Canyon National Park, Winter Sunrise, Sunset Point

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a fairyland of red, orange, and white hoodoos and spires. The rim elevation varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

Winter comes early. The park is open year-round but rooms at the lodge are generally closed January and February.

Rooms in the park can be difficult to obtain, so book early.

The shots in this article were taken in November. We were booked at Zion National Park which is about 90 minutes away, but when the weather forecast called for snow at Bryce, I double booked for a night hoping to catch snow on the hoodoos. These are the resultant images.

Continue reading “Bryce Canyon National Park, Winter Sunrise, Sunset Point”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Little Pigeon River – Spring

Looking for spring wildflowers? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is one of the best spots around. The last half of April is typically the peak time, but the timing can vary year to year.

If you miss the wildflowers, the streams are still beautiful. The images on this page were taken on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

Feature Image Details

To capture scenes like these you need a long exposure. Depending on how fast the water is flowing, the range may be between 1/4 second and several seconds.

One second worked nicely for this image.

But that’s not the only requirement. One needs little to no wind, especially if there are flowers that may be moving. Finally, bright overcast or very weak sunshine though is a necessity. All of the images on this page were taken under such conditions.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Aguereberry Point and Aguereberry Camp – Christmas Eve Fog

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

Aguereberry Point is one of my must-see areas in the park.

The point’s elevation reaches 6,433 ft and is named for Jean Pierre “Pete” Aguereberry, a Basque miner who was born in 1874, emigrated from France in 1890, and lived at and worked the nearby Eureka Mine from 1905 to his death in 1945.

The road to the top is very rough. The park recommends a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. I took the trip on numerous occasions in a regular car, but you better be comfortable driving in some very unpleasant looking spots, and you better not make a mistake navigating the ruts. I saw two jeeps with flat tires, undoubtedly driving too fast or not paying attention.

The road is a bit hair-raising the first time you go to the top. After you have done it once the next time seems easy or at least easier. There is no place to turn around once you start the climb.

The feature image is from a magical trip on Christmas Eve. It was completely fogged in on the way up, with some snow falling, and I was wondering what the hell I was even doing. Towards sunset, the fog lifted.

There is no view until you reach the top.

Feature Image Details

The feature image is a single shot, not a composite or focus stack.

Here are some additional images. All the ones with fog or snow were taken on Christmas Eve.

The above image is a focus stack of three images. I was inches away from the rock. The stack is at the point closest to me, then in the middle of the rock group, then at infinity.

That image was taken at another time, one Spring.

Don’t overlook the details. There are numerous opportunities for colorful lichens on marble. These kinds of images look best in quiet light. I took that image after sunset.

Aguereberry Camp

Those not interested in taking the road up to the top can make it to the Aguereberry Camp, “Pete” Aguereberry’s homestead, and the nearby Eureka Mine, relatively easily.

The road all the way is brutal deadpan so you must drive slow and watch for rocks. There are no ruts or real danger of bottoming the car if one is reasonably careful.

This is what’s left of Aguereberry Camp.

I took that car image one morning shortly after sunrise. Anyone recognize the car?

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette
  4. Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset
  5. Death Valley: Badwater, Salt Polygons, Devil’s Golf Course
  6. Death Valley: Golden Canyon Sunset and Moonrise Images
  7. Death Valley: Natural Bridge, It’s Another World

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Natural Bridge, It’s Another World

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

This post covers the Natural Bridge Trail, a two+ mile out-and-back round-trip. It’s an easy hike that passes under a natural bridge with views of faults, chutes, dry waterfalls and other formations.

The geologic formations and metallic-hued lava flows are out of this world.

If you only have a couple days in the park, this would not be one of my top choices to visit. But if you have a week, please take the time to explore the area.

Feature Image Details

This is a composite image of two exposures. There is one exposure for the bridge and a second exposure for the background mountains covered in snow.

I purposely did not include sky above the bridge making the shot look more like a hole in the wall rather than a natural bridge.  The feature image is from behind, looking back towards the trailhead.

Here is another view, as one would see the scene hiking towards the bridge.

I have seen the above shot with wild blue, green, and yellow colors. Such images are fakes. The color on the bridge, at any time of day, is simply not that vibrant.

The best part of the trail is towards the end. The metallic-looking lava flows and marble formations do not appear to be from this world.

The trail dead ends at this point.

It’s a relatively easy scramble up that lava flow for a view looking back towards the trailhead. This is what it looks like.

The above image was taken with my Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 16mm.

Blending

Every image in this set is a composite image. By that I mean I took multiple exposures for the brightest and darkest parts of the second and blended them manually, in Photoshop. I use the fewest number of exposures I can get away with. My preference is one.

All of these images were a blend of two exposures. On occasion, I use three.

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette
  4. Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset
  5. Death Valley: Badwater, Salt Polygons, Devil’s Golf Course
  6. Death Valley: Golden Canyon Sunset and Moonrise Images

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Golden Canyon Sunset and Moonrise Images

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

This post covers the Golden Canyon, a three-mile point-to-point trail that is the flip side of Zabriskie Point. The elevation gain is about 613 feet. One can walk a portion of the trail and there are alternative loops instead of going point-to-point and reversing.

We did portions of this trail on numerous occasions. Whereas Zabriskie Point is a sunrise image, the Golden Canyon is primarily a sunset view.

Feature Image Details

The person in the golden garb adds a nice sense of scale. I could have easily edited him out, but I like the effect.

Golden Canyon Full Moon Rise at Sunset

That’s the backside of Zabriskie Point on the right and the Red Cathedral on the left. The moon came up behind a layer of clouds which evened out the light.

To be precise, this was one day before the full moon. The best day to photograph a “full moon” at sunset is one day prior. At sunrise, it is one day after the full moon. The reason is ambient light. On the day of the full moon, it’s too dark.

Golden Canyon Pointed Clouds

I was hiking out of the canyon with my wife Liz and these amazing pointed clouds appeared. The above image was just before sunset. Right after sunset, those clouds turned pink.

Golden Canyon Pink Pointed Clouds Sunset

There were only a few minutes between the preceding two images. I surmise there were very strong high winds moving the clouds around.

The location was slightly different as we were walking out.

Details, Details

There are beautiful rock formations in the canyon. Do not get so distracted from the grand view that you miss these beautiful details.

The camera angle for the above image was straight down.

Note the lack of shadows. Harsh sunlight would have killed the image.

I lingered so long in the canyon after sunset taking pictures like these, that I accidentally happened to be in a perfect spot to get the moonrise image above.

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette
  4. Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset
  5. Death Valley: Badwater, Salt Polygons, Devil’s Golf Course

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Badwater, Salt Polygons, Devil’s Golf Course

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

This post covers the Badwater Basin Salt Flats.

Badwater is the lowest point in the US, 282 feet below sea level.

The salt flats in Badwater Basin cover nearly 200 square miles, among the largest protected salt flats in the world. Salt flats are too harsh for most plants and animals to survive, yet are quite fragile. Delicate crystals are easily crushed and the relatively thin upper crust of salt can break through to the mud layer below, leaving tire tracks and even footprints. For this reason, vehicles are prohibited off established roads in Death Valley.

Feature Image Details

Badwater, shown below is the popular stopping spot. You can explore salt polygons at Badwater, but they are trampled flat. To find good salt polygons, you need to park a mile or more away and walk out over some uneven but walkable terrain.

Badwater Sunrise

Badwater typically has a small pool of obviously undrinkable water. The white on the ground is salt. The white in the mountains is snow.

Devil’s Golf Course

Imagine trying to play golf on that surface. The salt is razor sharp. If you fall you will get cut with salt injected straight into the cut.

The above image is the Devil’s Golf Course at sunset with a Canon 14MM F2.8 L Lens. I now recommend the Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens as a new replacement for the 14MM lens. It is the best wide angle zoom lens in the world. Period. Yes, it is very expensive. It is sharp in the corners, little or no astigmatism, or other common zoom lens flaws. At 11-24 MM it is the widest zoom lens around and it is sharp.

These images were all taken at sunrise or sunset, in the Badwater Basin area.

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette
  4. Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

This post covers Death Valley Sand Dunes, specifically the Mesquite Flat dunes.

The dunes are easily accessible, just minutes from Stovepipe Wells. They are a very popular spot. It is nearly impossible to find undisturbed ripples anywhere near the parking lot where the tallest dunes are.

The dunes area is vast. I parked a mile away to get this image. The only time the tallest dunes will be without footprints are at sunrise following a very windy evening. Even then you better be the first one up and far away from the lot, or people will be walking in from of you, messing up the shot.

Feature Image Details

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Artist’s Palette

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

This post covers Artist’s Palette, one of the Death Valley must-see locations and an easy paved drive to get to the spot.

Artist’s Palette is an area on the face of the Black Mountains noted for a variety of rock colors. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (iron compounds produce red, pink and yellow, decomposition of tuff-derived mica produces green, and manganese produces purple).

Called the Artist Drive Formation, the rock unit provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area’s most violently explosive volcanic periods. The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet (1500 m) thick. Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration cause the oxidation and other chemical reactions that produce the variety of colors displayed in the Artist Drive Formation and nearby exposures of the Furnace Creek Formation.

I thought the green was copper, but it’s not.

Feature Image Details

Conventional wisdom says to get to Artist’s Palette late in the afternoon on a sunny day.

Throw that advice straight in the ashcan. I took these images mid-day on a rare cloudy day. Note the lack of strong shadows.

Diffuse light with very weak shadows is likely perfect. A professional I ran into told me he likes to go to this spot early in the morning before the sun hits it. I did not try that but it would seem to enhance the blues and greens.

Under direct sun, which I did try, the subtle pinks and light colors wash out.

Overcast days at Death Vallery are rare. If you get one, head to Artist’s Palette.

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Zabriskie Point

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock