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Monochrome Madness: MM4-23

I love this time of year when the air gets cooler and the leaves change color.  Occasionally, cold fronts come through with a little moisture, and hopefully, not much wind.  That was the case for this photo from the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, Arizona taken a couple years ago.

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

Monochrome Madness: MM3-51

As spring transitions towards summer, cold fronts still pass through the desert, but they rarely contain significant moisture.  They always bring a little breeze, and sometimes, a lot.  A couple weeks ago we had wind gusts in the 70-80 mph range, and there’s never enough moisture to hold down the sand and dust when those fronts come through.  Usually this is landscape photography hell, but if you happen to be in the right spot, you can turn it into opportunity.

My photo was taken in the desert of southern California during one of these spring fronts, and is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.  Instructions on how to participate, and the contributions of others can be found on her site.

Window Seat IV – Storm Front Sierra Nevada

The territory covered on the flight from Las Vegas to Seattle can be quite spectacular, and my recent trip along this route coincided with the arrival of a storm front that allowed me to capture some of my favorite images ever from the air.  We had passed Death Valley and still hadn’t reached full altitude when we came across this scene.  I probably would have been thrilled to be on the ground for this one, especially if I were close to one of the snow-capped ridges in the distant range.  Stepping back and seeing the whole picture can be good once in a while, and in this case, seeing below the clouds and the top of the approaching front made for a unique perspective I was glad I was able to photograph.

I thought this place was supposed to be dark and gloomy

The day before I headed off to Seattle, I checked the NWS forecast – Rain 100%, or Rain Likely every day.  I didn’t think there would be much chance for photography, other than a few window seat shots (more on that to come).  Oh, there was some rain, alright (see previous post), but there was much more time when it wasn’t raining.

I think the biggest surprise was that there was plenty of autumn color still.  Much of the country has seen the leaves all go away, and this is when the lowest deserts are starting to peak.  Somehow Seattle, despite being this far north, and despite all the rain and wind, manages to hold on to autumn.

Autumn Seattle 01-Steve Bruno
Autumn afternoon view from airplane landing in Seattle. Photo by Steve Bruno.

It was evident that I would have a reason to take my camera out before the plane even touched down.  As soon as I was checked in, I grabbed my camera and started walking around.  I saw a small group of trees amidst the tall buildings that were in various phases of changing color.  I didn’t realize that I had stumbled upon Freeway Park.  Appropriately named, the park sits above the freeway running through downtown Seattle.  Many of the foliage shots I took were in this park.

Mid-week Mixings: Jacob Canyon

The start of autumn in Jacob Canyon, in Kaibab National Forest, northern Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.
The start of autumn in Jacob Canyon, in Kaibab National Forest, northern Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.

There are places where it seems you have to fight for elbow room to get your photographs, nowadays.  Most national parks come to mind, but even those have room to venture about, unless you’re looking for that classic shot.  In autumn, places like the Maroon Bells in Colorado, and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona are just as packed as any national park in peak season.

I’ve always liked finding hidden gems, and this place, Jacob Canyon, certainly comes to mind.  In between Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce, there’s little chance of it becoming a destination for many.  The canyon runs for some distance, and is a great place to just get out and walk in the fresh air.  The area that the leaves change is quite condensed, as the forest is dominated by ponderosa pines.  To me, its main beauty is that I can have the place to myself most days of the year.

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