Ghost – Panoramic

Lenticular cloud sierra nevada mountains at night

Photo: Lenticular cloud illuminated by full moon over Sierra Nevada mountains, Alabama Hills, California

A 4 image panoramic of the same scene I posted a couple weeks back.  Lone Pine peak is the high mountain on the left of the photo, Mount Whitney is about 1/3 from the left, while Mount Williamson is slightly right of center.  For a sense of scale, from my position to the summit of Whitney is slightly less than 10,000 ft of elevation gain.


Callanish Standing Stones

callanish standing stones

Photo: Nikon SB 800 illuminates Callanish Standing stones at night, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Stopped by one calm evening, until the rain arrived, at the Callanish Standing stones on the Isle of Lewis.  Once it was dark I pulled out the SB 800 and played around with some off camera lighting.  The results are nothing special, but it’s always fun for me to experiment with stuff like this.  Had the weather cooperated better I could have stayed for several more hours.

callanish standing stones

callanish standing stones

Best Photos of 2010 Part I

I’ve put together a list of what I think are my best image from each month of 2010.  That’s not to say these are all my best images of the year, as nearly all of them would have been from the Lofoten islands in January.  It’s been a good look at my consistency throughout the year.   There are definitely a few filler images from months where I wasn’t able to shoot much for whatever reason.   I’d say, April, June, and September are the weaker images of the year, Jan and July my favorites.

As a whole, it was an okay year photographically. I think I’ve captured some of my best images ever and had a couple productive trips.  But I’ve also felt a fair amount of frustration in being unable to realize a fair amount of my vision.  I guess I could say it better as: more often than not, I’ve failed to return with the images I wanted.  This is quite normal for landscape photography, but part of the problem is that I don’t want to be shooting landscape photography, I want to be shooting adventures and journeys surrounded by those landscapes.  Hopefully I’m able to find my vision better in 2011 and take my images to the level at which I want them to be…

Lofoten islands winter beach norway

January:  Arctic twilight on Haukland beach, Lofoten islands, Norway

This was a difficult month to pick only a single image from.  The 6 days I spent on the Lofoten islands at the beginning of the month were some of the most inspiring days I’ve ever had.  Jan 6th in particular, my first full day on the islands, was especially memorable and the light was simply amazing.  I was completely frozen after a chilly night sleeping in a wind rocked car.  When dawn arrived in mid morning, all was perfectly calm with a brilliant pink glow.  It was one of those days that I wished I could have been in 100 places at once; there were so many photos to be made, yet only a painfully few 4 hours of light of the arctic winter day.

This image is from Haukland beach and the first place I stopped in the morning.  It was nearly perfectly still, only the gentle waves that seemed more like a lake than ocean disturbed the silence.  While several images from this location could easily be my favourite images, I think this is the best.  For me the single piece of ice helps show the isolation of the frozen beach and lets the cold reach out to the viewer.  I only stopped shooting at this location when I wasn’t able to feel my feet for some 30 and decided I should try and warm up a bit.  My only critique is the otter tracks that pass through the image.

Lofoten islands winter: Click here to view gallery

Devils racetrack death valley

February:  Night on the Devil’s Racetrack, Death Valley national park, California

Another difficult month to choose from, mostly due to a fairly productive trip to Death Valley towards the end of the month.  After having spent the autumn and early winter in Scandinavia and the UK, I was in need for a bit of a change in scenery.  So I headed out to explore some parts of Death Valley national park that I’ve never been to before.

This image is from the Devil’s Racetrack, more commonly know as the location with the moving rocks.  Unfortunately, the above average winter rains had flooded the southern part of the lake where the rocks are, leaving it impassible due to the danger of leaving permanent damage to the fragile area.  Fortunately the northern half of the playa was dry and walkable.  A bit bored, with my planned shooting location off limits, I thought I’d just go lay down in the middle of the lake.  It was quite amazing really, all alone in the middle of nowhere, full moon overhead, cold night temperatures of winter desert, some AM talk station coming out of the radio.  I stayed out there shooting late into the night.

Abandoned walkay in water, Salton Sea, California

March:  Abandoned dock, Salton Sea, California

My last journey to the Salton Sea was in 2005, or was it 2004? Can’t remember at the moment.  Anyhow, in March, before temperatures became unbearably hot for me, I headed down.  I had been to this location on my last trip, so as I arrived in the dark of early morning I thought I knew where I would be.  How I was wrong.  The sea level was now far lower and the shore nowhere near as I remembered.  Anyhow, as I explored a bit, I found this cool old dock just as the first light of the sun was arriving.

Burnt tree in Mojave national preserve, California

April: Charred tree, Mid Hills Campground, Mojave national preserve, California

In 2005, lightning strikes started the Hackberry fire which swept thought the high desert area of the Mojave national preserve.  On the first night of a 4WD trip of the Old Mojave Road, we camped at the Mid Hills campground which was partially burned.  I’d never been to this area, nor heard about the fire, so It was quite interesting to see a charred desert landscape.

Mt whitney tent

May: View from tent towards east face of Mt. Whitney, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

Nearly five years to the day of my last trip up Mt. Whitney, I found myself looking at the mountain again.  It was sort of a last minute trip, but everything worked out and I made a successful climb of the mountain.  This is the view from my camp at Iceberg lake towards the east face and Mountaineers route of Mt. Whitney.

Brecon Beacons wales

June:  Stormy weather over Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Black Mountain is the westernmost range of Brecon Beacons national park.  Just an image from a less-than-sunny day wandering among the mountains.

Part II July – December: CLICK HERE

Pottenstein Germany Light Festival January 6th

Pottenstein light festival germany

Photo: Fires of the Ewige Anbetung light festival above Pottenstein, Franconia, Germany. Jan 6, 2009

As the light of a cold January day fades into night a thousand fires are lit, illuminating the hillsides surrounding the town of Pottenstein.  The fires are part of the Catholic celebration of the Ewige Anbetung (Eternal Adoration)  which occurs in Pottenstein on the 6th of January every year.  The light and fire festival attracts thousands of visitors who line the hillsides and fill the streets, braving the cold and watching a display that can only described as spectacular.  To see the Lichterfest in person would be a memorable moment of any winter holiday in Germany.

Pottenstein light festival ewige anbetung

Photo: Burg Pottenstein and fires of Ewige Anbetung Lichterfest, Pottenstein, Franconia, Germany.  Jan 6, 2009

Thursday, January 6th 2011
The festival begins around 5pm as the sky gets dark.  Be sure to arrive early to find parking.  The fires will burn for a couple hours into the night.

Pottenstein is located in wonderful countryside of the Franconian Switzerland (Fränkische Schweiz) region of Upper Franconia (Oberfranken), Northern Bavaria.  By car, Pottenstein is approximately 1 hour north of Nuremberg or 30 minutes south of Bayreuth; 10 km west from the A9 autobahn.  Postcode 91278.

Pottenstein, Franconia, Bavaria, Germany

There are also several other light festivals of the Ewige Anbetung celebrated elsewhere in the Fränkische Schweiz region in the weeks preceding the festival in Pottenstein.  CLICK HERE for more information and dates (in German)

Pottenstein light festival ewige anbetung

Pottenstein light festival ewige anbetung

Pottenstein light festival ewige anbetung

Pottenstein light festival ewige anbetung

Maen Llia

Maen Llia standing stone, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Photo: Maen Llia standing stone, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

It’s been on my mind lately to try and make some portrait style photos of some of the standing stones in the Brecon Beacons region.  Last night was my first attempt at this, using a single Nikon SB-800 as an off camera flash and the gigantic Maen Llia stone as my model.  Unfortunately, and what seems to be my luck these last few months, it started raining after about 10 minutes, before the sky was dark enough to really create the photos that I wanted.    Hopefully I can make it back again in the next few weeks and have another try.

Also, if you read my blog by RSS feed, stop by and have a look.  I’ve made a few changes, the biggest of which will be larger images, now up to 950px wide.  Though if your monitor resolution is less than 1200px, it might look a bit funny, sorry…

Maen Llia standing stone, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Racetrack – Death Valley

Night photography at Devil's Racetrack playa, Death Valley national park, California

5 minute self portrait on a cold night under a nearly full moon out on the playa at the Devil’s Racetrack in Death Valley national park, California.   I took two seperate 5 minute exposures with the Nikon 24mm tilt-shift lens to get the ‘square’ format.  One upper, one lower.  No tricky Photoshop needed.

I had my stopwatch going to measure the exposure but since I was afraid to move my arm and risk putting it back in a slightly different location I had to count in my head as best I could. When I got to 5 minutes in my head I took a peak at my watch, 4:57, and quickly ran back to the camera.  Pretty good internal clock. I could have left the scene earlier, but some ghosting would have occurred as I was gone a greater percentage of the overall exposure, so I wanted to remain as close to the full 5 minutes as possible.

The Racetrack is better know for the ‘moving rock.’  Unfortunately, that section of the normally dry lake bed actually had some water, so I couldn’t go there as footprints last a long time out there…


Santa Barbara, California - 4th of July fireworks over harbor

4th of July fireworks over Santa Barbara Harbor.

Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Alabama Hills are one of my favorite places here in California and a usual stop anytime I head to the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Normally I avoid the area during summer as the temperature is often well above my level of tolerance,  But I decided to check things out anyhow.  On the way up as I was crossing the Antelope Valley before entering the high desert area, I knew I would be in trouble from the heat.  I guess after too much time in Northern Europe, I had forgotten that I really don’t enjoy myself in 100˚ (37˚c) temperatures (yes, I’m spoiled living on the coast).  Turning off in Lone Pine during the late afternoon I headed straight through the Alabama hills and up to the 8,000 (2500m) foot coolness of the Whitney Portal to get a bit of an escape from the heat.  The light was pretty bad anyhow, so I sat around up there and got eaten by mosquitoes for an hour or two.

I have a couple favorite places to camp, but since there is so much to see, I usually do a little exploring to see if I can’t find some cool new place.  The whole area is open for wild camping, so I like to look for a spot where I can roll out the back of my truck at dawn, walk about 10 feet or crawl up some rock and start shooting.  Sure beats having to drive anywhere!

Alabama HIlls, Owen's valley, California

Panoramic landscape stock photography: Alabama Hills, Owen's valley, California

Night panoramic landscape photography Nikon d700 85mm tilt-shift lens: Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

The sunset was actually one of the boring-er ones that I’ve witnessed, but what can you do.  Took a few night photos, but a pretty good wind picked up around sundown which was blowing a lot of dust around.  So after a five minute photo, I’d have to clean everything off again.

NIght photography Nikon d700: star trails over rock formations, Alabama Hills, California

Dawn broke to a perfectly clear sky, again, nothing spectacular.  Better weather for climbing than photography.

Tilt-Shift panoramic landscape photography: Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Lone Pine peak in the center of the photo, with Mount Whitney (14,505 feet – 4,421m, highest mountain in California and lower 48) on the very right of the photo in the pre-dawn light.

Landscape stock photography: Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, Owen's Valley, California

Mobius Arch, one of the more famous icons in the area.

Alabama Hills and Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lone Pine, California

By 7:00 am it was already getting hot and the light hazy and washed out.  So I decided to some place higher and cooler for the day…


Bright moon and clear night over the weekend.