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, 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”

Canyonlands National Park: Mesa Arch Sunrise

Mesa Arch is a Mesa Arch is a spectacular stone arch perched at the edge of a cliff with vast views of canyons, rock spires, and the La Sal Mountains in the distance.  It’s on the eastern edge of the Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park in northern San Juan County, Utah, United States.

This hike to Mesa arch is level, easy and only 1/2 mile long.

Canyonlands is adjacent to Arches National Park. The drive from Moab, Utah to the arch takes about 50 minutes per Google and about 40 minutes if you drive like me.

The nearness to Moab and the short easy nature of the hike makes this an extremely popular site.  You will not have this location to yourself except maybe at 2:00 AM and perhaps not even then if Milky Way shooters are out and about.

Plan the Shot

To get this shot, you need to be at the arch no later than 45 minutes before sunrise and that’s likely cutting it close.  There are 5-7 prime spots (elbow to elbow) and there may be 25 people or more at the arch at sunrise. If there is a photography workshop going on, forget about it, unless you beat them to the spot.

Assuming you get to Meas Arch in time to get a good spot, you still need clouds. And you need to have an idea of what exactly you will be doing. You might have a minute or two to get it done, at most.

Feature Image Details

This is a panoramic blend of several different exposures. One set was just before sunrise and one just after sunrise.

Normally, I take vertical images to make a horizontal panorama but I knew the light would be changing extremely fast. To reduce time, I took two horizontal frames instead of my usual six vertical frames.

I also used a Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens at 24mm, not exactly a routine piece of equipment, but that was not necessary. Any 24mm lens would have worked.

The 11-24mm lens produces an exceptional starburst pattern. So does the Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.

The Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens doesn’t. It has to do with the number of diaphragm blades in the lens. An even number of blades produces that number of rays. An odd number of blades produces double the number of rays.

  • The 11-24 has 9 blades producing 18 rays
  • The 16-35 has 9 blades producing 18 rays
  • The 24-105 has 8 blades producing 8 rays

If I am shooting towards the sun looking for a starburst, the 24-105 lens is out, unless I need to be over 35 mm.

My general lens of choice for most landscape photography is the Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.

So why did I then use the 11-24?

I planned on doing this one shot, then changed my mind. Two shots is double the number of pixels minus any overlap.

If you are at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky district, the Arches is nearby. For most, it’s probably the reverse.

Arches National Park Images

Equipment List

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

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

More Canyonlands National Park images coming up.

Please Subscribe and Follow.

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Arches National Park: Landscape Arch Glorious Sunrise

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

Landscape Arch is in the “Devil’s Garden” section of the park.

Like the “Windows” section, “Devils Garden” is very popular and it can be difficult to find a parking spot at times.

Fortunately, the best time to photograph this arch is at sunrise and in contrast to the Windows, you can often have the view to yourself.

Feature Image Details

I scrambled up underneath the arch at sunrise. The composition is a single frame with a Canon 11-24 F4.0 L lens at 11 mm. This shot only woks at extreme wide angles with a full frame sensor. 16mm or even 14 mm is not wide enough.

The shot was taken at ISO 500 at F16, for 1/20 of a second.

Those familiar with the park will note that I was not on the trail. With reservations, I followed an informal trail to the top. Don’t bother without an extreme wide angle lens and excellent light.

Landscape Arch Panorama 

For the above composition, I blended six overlapping images together in Lightroom with a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at 24mm.

The images are all ISO 200, at F13, for 1/20th second.

It’s a struggle to get such an image in one shot. You can do it with a wide angle lens in landscape mode but only by pointing up and dealing with distortions.

It’s better to take a vertical panorama to minimize the distortions while increasing the number of pixels used and thus increasing the overall resolution.

One Vertical Frame

I cropped off the right and the bottom but the overall result is a whopping 8322×4303 pixel image taking 114 MB in disk space.

Pano Tip

It’s far easier to cut out what you do not want than add what you didn’t capture.

Since you are combining images, you will end up with a huge number of pixels even when the final result is cropped.

I frequently take vertical images to make what looks like a horizontal image.

For another example of this technique, please see my previous post Arches National Park: Turret Arch Viewed Through North Window

Equipment List

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

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

More Arches images coming up.

Please Subscribe and Follow.

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Arches National Park: Turret Arch Viewed Through North Window

Arches national Park is a red-rock wonderland in Southern Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks.

The “Windows Section” of the park is the most popular area., You will not be alone in this section of the park except perhaps at 3:00 AM and not even then if there are night photographers.

Feature Image Details

This is a panoramic image. I used six different images blended together in Lightroom.

For this set of images I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.

If I had to pick one lens and one lens only, this lens would be at the top of the list. I see things from a wide angle perspective.

The images are all ISO 200, at 17MM, F16, for 1/50th second.

Vision and Timing

Ignoring the panoramic blending the hardest part of this image is being where you need to be at the right time.

This is a classic shot, and to pull it off you need to be in the right place.

  1. Walk through the North Window, resisting the temptation to photograph the sunrise.
  2. Scramble up the rocks on the other side to frame Turret Arch
  3. Be there early enough to get a good spot
  4. Pray for good light and clouds

Points 1-3 are within your control. Point 4 isn’t. I went to this spot on at least 6 times on at least four trips with one success, my last one.

Without clouds, you are starting off with a questionable picture, With too many clouds you might get dull grey.

In regards to point 3, I was at the spot I wanted to be at least 40 minutes before sunrise.

I was too late. One person beat me to the one and only spot one can take this complete panorama sequence. He was from Germany.

The odd thing is, he had the only spot to take a panorama, but he was taking a close up that included no sky. This is a good idea with poor clouds, but a poor idea with good clouds.

I got the shot bu being patient. When the sun hit, a bit after sunrise, I asked my German fellow if he would move his tripod to allow me to complete my pano sequence.

He gave me 30 seconds. The image below is the result. I cropped the result for the lead image.

Full Pano Image

One Vertical Frame

That is one vertical frame in my sequence.

Interestingly, I frequently take vertical images to make what looks like a horizontal image.

Equipment List

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

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

More Arches images coming up.

Please Subscribe and Follow.

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Mono Lake, California, Eastern Sierra, Sunrise

Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, in the Eastern Sierras. The lake formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.

Mono Lake has two major islands, Negit Island and Paoha Island, plus numerous minor outcroppings.  Among the most iconic features of Mono Lake are the columns of limestone that tower over the water surface. These limestone towers consist primarily of calcium carbonate minerals such as calcite (CaCO3). This type of limestone rock is referred to as tufa, which is a term used for limestone that forms in low to moderate temperatures.

This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp and alkali flies. Historically, the native Kutzadika’a people derived nutrition from the Ephydra hians pupae, which live in the shallow waters around the edge of the lake.

When the city of Los Angeles diverted water from the freshwater streams flowing into the lake, it lowered the lake level, which imperiled the migratory birds. The Mono Lake Committee formed in response and won a legal battle that forced Los Angeles to partially replenish the lake level.

Tufa Types

  • Lithoid tufa – massive and porous with a rock-like appearance
  • Dendritic tufa – branching structures that look similar to small shrubs
  • Thinolitic tufa – large well-formed crystals of several centimeters

The tufa types vary interchangeably both between individual tufa towers but also within individual tufa towers. There can be multiple transitions between tufa morphologies within a single tufa tower.

The above is pieced together from Wikipedia.

Feature Image Details

The feature image was taken at sunrise.

I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 16mm, ISO 640 for 2 seconds. It is a panorama blend of 5 vertical images stitched together. I often stitch vertical images to make a horizontal composite.  The resultant detail is amazing, as is the file size.

The feature image shows my favorite morning composition, but one thing is missing: clouds. Here are some additional images that were taken on other days.

Mono Lake Sunrise Images

The above clouds were nice, but they were not where I wanted them. I like strong foregrounds and would have loved some clouds in the feature image.

In the above shot, the clouds were in the correct direction, but the foreground is lacking compared to the panorama. In both of the above shots, I should have and would have used neutral density filters to smooth the water. For inexplicable reasons, I did not have my neutral density filters on this trip.

We visited Mono Lake 10 times, 5 at sunrise and 5 at sunset over 10 days, not necessarily on the same days.

Please also see Mono Lake, California, Eastern Sierra, Sunset for my favorite Mono Lake image of the trip.

Equipment List

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

Please Subscribe: Click to Subscribe by Email.

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

You can also follow me on Twitter! I have both an economic forum and a photography forum.

  1. Photography: MishMoments
  2. Economics: MishGEA

MishMoments is a subset of MishGEA. Those interested in photography only should follow MishMoments.

Please follow. I do not give away or share email addresses!

Thanks!

Mike “Mish” Shedlock