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Loch Brittle – Isle of Skye

Loch Brittle, Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Last light and low tide at Loch Brittle, Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Another photo from Glenbrittle, this time down on the beach.  Though opening of the Loch faces southwest, the low setting November sun actually makes it quite a good location for sunsets, while in Summer, the sun sets too far to the north for any direct light.

Ring of Brodgar – Orkney

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland, stock image

Winter dawn at Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland.

In December, the sun has little strength to rise very far above the horizon this far in the north.  The winter days are short and the nights long, only to be reversed in a few months during the endless days of summer.  Such a contrast of light at dark that I never knew growing up at a more mild latitude.  No wonder that the sun played such an important role in the lives of the ancient peoples of this barren land.

It is always a strange feeling for me to walk amongst something so old.  To think that these stones have seen some 5,000 winters, and will probably see another 5,000 more;  it helps to put things in perspective about the importance of our ‘achievements.’

Elgol – Isle of Skye

Travel stock image: Rocky coast at Elgol with Cuillins in background, Isle of Skye, Scotland

The rugged and rocky coastline at at Elgol with it’s view back towards the mighty Black Cuillins as they rise from Lock Scavaig is one of the more iconic photo locations on the Isle of Skye.  As long as one is willing to gamble on good weather, it is well worth the long drive down the winding single lane road.

Snow covered peak on the left is Gars-Bheinn at the start of the famous Cuillin ridge.  Sgurr na Stri is the lower, snowless peak towards the center.  To the left of that sits Loch Coruisk, another marvelously scenic, and isolated, place and Skye.  There is a nice hiking route that starts in the north at Sligachan and passes by loch Coruisk and then around the coast under Sgurr na Stri to Camasunary and eventually finishing here at Elgol.

One of my stupider moments in life happened along the coast under Sgurr na Stri.  It had just finished raining ( = slippery rocks), I was trying to eat a piece of chocolate while at the same time messing with my camera to take a picture of Bla Bheinn rising above the Camasunary bothy.  Well, I slipped and ended up upside down; nothing bad, just a little ‘oops’ moment.  Not wanting to drop my camera on the muddy ground, I couldn’t use my hands to get myself up.  And not wanting to drop the piece of chocolate in my mouth that I had been munching on, I couldn’t talk clearly enough to ask my friend to pull on my backpack to help me up.  So was upside down with my backpack on top of me and unable to move.  Totally stuck, but only because I didn’t want to drop my camera or chocolate.  Finally my friend came to the rescue after a moment of wondering if I was practicing some new form of mountain yoga.  Luckily there was only two of us to witness this event.

Landscape stock photography - Elgol and Black Cuillin, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Salton Sea – Bombay Beach

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California panoramic stock travel photography

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California.

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California stock travel image

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California stock travel photos

Badwater Dawn – Death Valley

Badwater basin, Death Valley national park, Californai

Winter sunrise over Badwater basin and Panamint mountains, Death Valley national park, California.

This light lasted 3 minutes before the color faded into a washed out and overcast day.  At 6am I counted 19 other photographers within sight.  Quite the popular place to be on that morning.  The next morning however, I only saw 3 other photographers.  Though it was raining so maybe that scared all the others away…

Alabama Hills – California

Mobius arch at Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California

Mobius arch, Alabama Hills, Owen’s Valley, California

I think one of the coolest things about the Alabama Hills is that no matter how many times one has been there, there is always something new to photograph.  Be it exploring some new area, different weather, or different time of year. The hills and mountains are always changing.  One of the reasons it is one of my favorite places to go.

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills with Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Lone Pine Peak

Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains panoramic image

Lone Pine peak in dawn light, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Mount Whitney Sunrise

Mt. Whitney and Sierra Nevada mountains, California panoramic landscape photo

Winter sunrise over mount Whitney and the Sierra Nevada mountains as seen from the Alabama Hills, California.

This is a location that is better photographed in winter/early spring.  Besides it not being 110˚ F as it can be in summer.  The main reason is that the winter sun rises further towards the south, which creates better patterns of shadow and light on the mountain ridges than occur in summer.  And then there’s always something nice about the day’s first light on freshly fallen snow.  I find in summer this scene can also appear slightly ‘tired’ and dry, for lack of a better description.

Footprints Everywhere! Wanderings Among the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes – Death Valley

Panoramic landscape photo - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley, California

Mesquite Flat sand dunes, Death Valley national park, California.

It was a frustrating exercise in futility wandering among the dunes, in search of the Dune that I had in my mind.  The Dune with that perfectly sculpted ridge, gently rounded and allowing the late afternoon shadows to gently fall across.  The untouched patterns of a thousand years of wind blown into the sand, like a sea of snakes racing into the distance.  The Dune, rising alone into the sky above all others, casting ever growing shadows as the sun determines the day has been long enough.

Judging by the amount of footprints, half the world must also be searching for that perfect dune.  I wandered for miles and hours.  In straight lines, circles, and zigzags.  To the tops of the highest dunes and into the lowest valleys.  North, south, east, west, and at one point, clear across the whole of the dunes.  My water bottle empty, mouth dry, I still wandered.  And everywhere, footprints!

It’s mostly my fault though.  The Mesquite dunes are right on the side of the road in a fairly popular national park, so what should I expect other than that lots of people walk among them. If  I was in some middle of nowhere place in north Africa and experienced the same, then I would be a bit more frustrated.  And winter is the best time in Death Valley as the temperatures are tolerable.  This year especially, with higher than average rain has probably drawn more people to the park to see the normally dry lakes not dry.

California landscape photography - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley national park

Panoramic landscape photo - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley, California

California travel photographer Cody Duncan - Self portrait on sand dunes in Death Valley

Autumn in the Lofoten Islands Photo Gallery

Landscape stock photography: Reflections of autumn trees in Steinbakkvatnet lake, Hinnøya, Vesterålen, Norway

Photo gallery of Lofoten Islands in autumn: Click here

I’ve created a stock image gallery of Lofoten islands, Norway from September and October 2009.  Most of the pictures are from Moskenesøy, Flakstadøy, and Vestvågøy islands, with a couple from Vesterålen as well (such as the above photo of the lake).  I spent about 2 weeks at Stamsund, one of my favorite places in the world where I’ve returned to again and again since 2001 (I should probably just try and move there one of these days).  I rented a car for a couple days with a fellow traveler and Lofoten addict so I was able to get out to some of my favorite beaches at Utakleiv and Unstad, as well as the nearly tropical looking beach at Ramberg.  I also got to explore a few new areas, such as Gimsøy, where I had never previously been on my normal hitchhiking journeys through the islands.

My last few trips to the islands had always been in the late winter/early spring so I decided it was time for a change of scenery from endless snow to actually having some color in my photos.  Weather wasn’t always so good, hence the need to stay for 2 weeks just to get a day or two of sunlight and blue sky, but I think I had pretty good timing as far as the turning of the trees.  I think it’s always something magical to watch the snow level creep lower and lower down the mountains each night until one day the first big snow storm comes and turns the whole world white.

travel photographer: Scenic beach at Ramberg, Flakstadøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Ramberg Beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Travel stock photo: Snow covered rocky coastline at Stamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Autumn snow on rugged coast at Stamsund, Lofoten islands, Norway.

If you have any trouble seeing the below slide show, please let me know.