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July 2016

WPC: Narrow

This week’s Daily Post Challenge of Narrow made me immediately think of slot canyons.  The most famous (and photographed) one is Antelope Canyon, and you can find thousands of shots from inside the canyon, but have you ever wondered what it looked like from outside?  This is lower Antelope Canyon (above), and that narrow crack in the earth is about 50 to 60 feet deeper than what you can see at this spot.  Water has worn it smooth all the way, so think of this as the bathtub drain if there’s a thunderstorm nearby.

Not far from Antelope Canyon, even deeper and equally claustrophobic is Paria Canyon, with the branch known as Buckskin Gulch.  Once you’ve entered, it remains this narrow for miles, with few escape routes.  The drainage continues upcanyon for many miles, and there are logs jammed in a couple spots high above your head to remind you that this is a sunny day hike.  If it has flooded recently, you will find this impassible due to quicksand.

Buckskin Gulch - Steve Bruno

A much tighter series of canyons exist in Cathedral Gorge State Park in eastern Nevada.  No chance of being caught in a flood here, because these don’t travel very far.  In some spots you will have to walk sideways to get through.  Without some object providing a sense of scale, this may be difficult to obtain perspective, but I can’t walk through this canyon with my feet side by side.

Cathedral Gorge Narrow Canyon - Steve Bruno

One place that I find quite unique is this series of canyons at the base of Mount Charleston, Nevada.  The canyons themselves are not that narrow or deep, but there is this narrow passage from one canyon to the next one.

Secret Passage - Steve Bruno

Monochrome Madness: MM3-14

I love hidden treasures – those places you come across that very few people visit or even know about.  This is one of those places.  It’s on the edge of metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, and so close it may be in the city limits.  But, for the millions living there, most have never seen this.

The water flows year round, and it used to be the dogs’ favorite spot for a walk.  Just not today.  Photography came first.  The scents of the river covered my clothing, and I was frantically sniffed upon returning, and given looks that said How could you go there without us?  I was soon forgiven because dogs are great at that.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  You can see what other bloggers have added at Leanne’s site.

WPC: Details

Since I primarily take photographs of nature, my detail shots are mostly in the form of plant life.  Even if I lived somewhere besides the desert, I think I would still be fascinated with cacti.  Sometimes they’re shaped bizarrely, sometimes perfectly symmetrical.  And when you move in close (but not too close) they provide elaborate details.  Most would be vulnerable to damage from insects, birds, and animals if it weren’t for the defense mechanisms – all those thorns.

While many of you live in climates where flowers thrive, we are provided with only a limited showing of those.  Even in the driest of years, when the rest of the desert is stingy with blossoms, the cactus bloom.

Cactus Flower Closeup - Steve Bruno

Trees are the other guaranteed bloomers around here, such as this redbud from nearby Red Rock Canyon.

Redbud Tree in spring, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

In bloom or not, trees can be fascinating subjects, such as this one from Hawaii with a very entangled root system, or this detail of a bristlecone pine tree.

 

In the southwest, details of canyon walls can make for good photos, such as this one of cross-bedded sandstone in Valley of Fire State Park, or this etched detail in Fletcher Canyon.

 

When I think of detailed shots, the first thing that comes to mind are close-up or macro images.  But sometimes, there are landscapes that have so much going on, that it’s hard to not just look for all the details.  This one is from Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada.

Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada
Textures in eroded clay and sand in Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada. Photo by Steve Bruno.

Monochrome Madness: MM3-13

In southern Nevada, our closest escape from the heat is nearby Mount Charleston.  Many photo opportunities exist, especially on the ridges or summits of the peaks.  There a couple spots in the lower portion of the mountain that I love to explore and photograph.  One of them, Fletcher Canyon, has an easy hike and ends in a box canyon.  The walls are mostly white, and captures in b&w are usually the strongest.

This is my addition to the collection of b&w images for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. You can check out other photographers work on her site.

Fireworks, Las Vegas 2016

Hey, perfect timing Daily Post.  I think this post fits the challenge.

With the 4th of July falling on a Monday this year, the fireworks displays were stretched out over three days in Las Vegas. Last year I was able to watch two displays from my vantage point, with those from the Stratosphere being further away.  I remember there were some interesting patterns to that display, but were intended for a different viewing angle.  I didn’t attend any fireworks on Saturday, but I did make it to the Stratosphere for Sunday night’s show.  Although it was nice being that close, it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for from a photography standpoint, with many images being similar.

Fireworks, Stratosphere, Las Vegas, 2016 by Steve Bruno

That left Monday night, and a return to last year’s vantage point.  After the Stratosphere letdown, I wanted to make sure I got some images that were different from the previous year, and unique overall.  The ‘tails’ were prominent again this year, so I spent a lot of time trying to avoid those, and just getting the burst of the explosions.  No easy task.  All my exposures were on Bulb setting using a cable release.  The display seemed to start a little earlier this year, and the lingering daylight made for some nice shots.

Fireworks over Las Vegas by Steve Bruno

I never thought of shooting fireworks purely as artwork before, but think I succeeded with the top image (looking like a flower), and this one.

Fireworks

Although I did get some similar shots to the previous year, I was very happy with my results this year.

 

The grand finale was no letdown, and this was my last shot of the night.  Even though I was on Bulb setting, this was less than a 1 second exposure.  That’s a lot going on for 1 second.

Fireworks over Las Vegas by Steve Bruno

Monochrome Madness: MM3-12 High

This week’s Monochrome Madness has the theme of High, and my image comes from Harney Peak, South Dakota. It is the highest point in the state, and stands above everything for miles.  At a little over 7200′ it is not a very high altitude compared to those in the Rockies or Sierra Nevada, but its exposed summit and encompassing vistas make it seem loftier.

You can check out how others have interpreted this theme at Leanne Cole’s website

WPC: Opposites

This week’s Daily Post Challenge is Opposites, which presents many possibilities.  The above shot was taken on the Navajo Indian Reservation, and doesn’t need an explanation.

Not far from there, I spent a day at the Grand Canyon where it was fogged in.  At one point its opposite, complete sunshine, made an appearance on the distant cliffs.

Foggy Grand Canyon

When you have a positive and negative charge, you get a spark.  Opposing charges created in the magnitude of a thunderstorm produce lightning.

lightning 03

 

In northern Michigan, land and water come together in a serene setting.

Lake Superior

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