WPC: Structure

My final stop on last week’s long day trip was Cathedral Gorge State Park.  It has been a couple years since my last visit, and I wanted to see if my newer photography equipment could provide the results I wasn’t able to achieve previously in the higher contrast sunlight.  Occasional passing clouds provided the softer light which was optimum for some of the shooting situations.

Once an ancient lake, Cathedral Gorge is made up of mostly bentonite clay.  It is not a very large park, but its structure is quite photogenic with a multitude of opportunities.  Where the waters have cut deeper into the clay mesa, there are some very unique slot canyons, which the park labels “canyon caves”.  These are not for the claustrophobic individuals.  They do not travel far, but in many places are less than 2 feet wide, which requires some awkward stepping.

Much of the clay appears very solid and smoothly worn, but in one of these canyon caves, I found the texture to resemble dripping wax.  I patted the clay with my hand in several spots, returning a very hollow sound.  In this section, apparently, it was layer upon layer of “dripping wax”.

looking up from canyon in Cathedral Gorge, Nevada

abstract, detail, erosion, texture

Monochrome Madness: MM4-19

After having spent most of July in Oregon and Hawaii, I have to admit I’ve been a bit uninspired to head out into the desert.  Last week we had a beautiful day that started out with clouds and rain, and I made a relatively unplanned tour through the desert.  One of my stops was at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge along the Great Basin Highway.  I probably would have seen more wildlife if this hadn’t been towards the middle of the afternoon, but tall shade-providing trees, roads lined with sunflowers and small lakes were enough to soothe the senses.  The breezes would occasionally find a lull, and the clouds were just enough to provide a little contrast for my photo here.

You can see this photo on Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit her website.

WPC: Elemental

My recent trip to Hawaii provided me with the perfect shot for this weeks Daily Post Challenge of Elemental.  Earth, air, fire, and water are all there, but you can’t tell that the air is not exactly the best for you from this shot.  I probably could have gotten a little closer if this hadn’t been the downwind side.  I was fortunate to grab a couple shots before retreating to cooler non-toxic air.  In full size images enlarged on my screen, I can see the distortion from the heat.

Monochrome Madness: MM4-15

A large part of the land in the southwestern US is by definition, a desert.  A couple times during the year, weather patterns shift, and much needed rain covers the desert, often in volumes too excessive to benefit the land.  One of those times is happening now.  The summer rainy season, or monsoon season, can make travel tricky or unsafe at times, but can also make for tremendous lighting conditions.  In the case of the rainwater pools, above, all the smaller ones usually evaporate within a day.  The larger ones can remain for weeks, providing water for the wildlife through drier times.

This spot is in the western Grand Canyon.  The Esplanade Sandstone layer is riddled with these water collecting depressions and can be seen through lengthy, though not necessarily difficult hikes.  This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness with the theme of Season.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit her website.

WPC: Textures

I always try to find elements of texture for my photo subjects, so searching through photos with that theme in mind wasn’t so difficult.  One photo stood out for me because of its combination of textures.  From my muse, Valley Of Fire, is a photo that includes two distinct layers of sandstone, a sandy wash, and one of the most textured skies I’ve ever seen.

For this week’s Daily Post Challenge: Textures

Monochrome Madness: MM4-14

A couple days ago, I was returning from a beautiful morning along the north side of the big island in Hawaii.  I drove by this setting close to the road, which didn’t appear to be part of anyone’s front yard.  I was fascinated with the shapes and textures of the tree’s root system, and it’s bleached appearance.  I started to remove the chair, but took a few images with the chair in place first.  Clearly, with that much pine straw covering the seat, as well as how deeply the feet were covered, it had been a while since this chair had seen some use.  I took a few more photos after I removed the chair, but was more intrigued with the ones including the chair.

This is my contribution to this week’s Monochrome Madness, hosted by Leanne Cole.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit her website.

WPC: Unusual

A solar eclipse will occur across much of the United States next month, but I will not be there to witness it.  I was in Oregon last week, where the eclipse will be cutting a path across the middle of the state.  While the occurrence of a total eclipse is very unusual, I’m not expecting this to look any different in photographs from previous ones.

Not very long ago, there were four Blood Moon eclipses in a relatively short period of time.  I photographed the first one within the city boundaries, but was most excited about the last one because it was happening shortly after the moon rose for the night, thus making it close to the horizon.  I had some locations in mind at the nearby Valley Of Fire State Park, as did several other photographers.  Sporadic cloud cover looked as though it might ruin our viewing out there, but as the eclipse was nearing totality, I think they actually helped my first photo as it was passing through an arch (above).  I had to find a different arch for the totality of the eclipse, and the clouds cooperated in the desert night.

For the Daily Post Challenge: Unusual

Blood Moon inside arch at VOF by Steve Bruno

Monochrome Madness: MM4-11

For this week’s Monochrome Madness, the theme is wild.  I have been to several places so remote, not even the governing agencies could answer my inquiries as to trail conditions or water reliability.  And although these remote places are seldom seen by people, images captured there may not necessarily reflect the feelings of isolation.

Bryce Canyon, the location of my photo, has spots that you can hike to that will give you a feeling of being in a wilderness, but most of the trails will have you hiking side-by-side with a bunch of strangers.  Despite that, it is still the wildest looking place I have ever been to.  This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, visit her website.

Summer Daze

Nice to have some time to post again.  It’s my own fault – I told everyone that I wasn’t going to be available in July, so I’ve pretty much done 3 months work in the last 6 weeks.  I haven’t been hiking or touched my camera for non-assignment work in 2 months.  Thank God it’s July!

Summer usually doesn’t take its time getting to the desert.  This was one of the most comfortable springs on record, but late June doesn’t hold its punches.  Record and near record highs occurred for several consecutive days.  During this time I happened to be listening to local news when they were talking about people coming to visit here and specifically, Death Valley, to experience the intense heat.

To those of you thinking of visiting for that reason – don’t!  There’s a much simpler solution.  Instead, turn your oven on to about 200 degrees.  (Disclaimer: I don’t know who might be reading this, and don’t want to be contacting my attorney, so electric ovens only, not gas).  Next, kneel in front of the oven with your face towards it, ensuring that your head recoils in reaction to the blast of heat.  This is what all of us desert dwellers feel every time we step out of our air-conditioned cars and homes in late afternoon this time of year.

If that’s not enough discouragement, don’t visit here for the sake of the earth and our children.  Jets fly on less fuel when they’re not carrying as much weight, and the car you’re not renting won’t be putting emissions into the air.  Furthermore, you can take some of the money you’ll be saving and donate it to an environmental program that will prevent temperatures from reaching 125 degrees in the future.

For those of you wishing to visit for sane reasons, come on down!  The heat wave is gone for now, and it’s almost pleasant again (in the mornings).  It will be 103 to 108 every day for the foreseeable future, but most of those days won’t be hot (that’s according to the National Weather Service, see below).


Summer Temps

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