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Cathedral Gorge State Park

Midweek Monochrome 9-18-19

Slot canyons are amazing places in the way water can cut so deeply and intricately without removing the materials further out and above.  They are also great places to hang out when the temperatures are soaring.  Fortunately, we are heading into fall, and the relief factor is yielding to the fun of just exploring the desert.  This week’s photo comes from Cathedral Gorge State Park in eastern Nevada.  Unlike slot canyons in sandstone, these crevices don’t run very long, and are so narrow you have to side-step in a couple places to get through.

WPC: Favorites

Back when I shot with a large-format view camera, I would certainly agree with Mr. Adams.  Now that I use a camera that can shoot hundreds of frames in a day, oddly enough, I still agree.

I spent time in Hawaii this summer, and I’m sure I have twelve photographs that I like from just the first couple days.  When I look at all of the images I have captured this year, and try to envision those which I will still cherish years from now, the process of choosing twelve became clearer.  My time in nature was limited this year, but I made those moments count.  In some situations I had similar lighting or compositions where I couldn’t really define one shot as a clear favorite, but in the end, I think I’m very happy with these 12.

I don’t own a drone, but I love taking photos from airplanes.  This photo from over White Sands, New Mexico looks amazing at full size, with all the dunes at the edge looking like bubbling foam.

aerial photography, desert, dunes, White Sands, New Mexico, Steve Bruno

My ‘backyard’ location of Red Rock Canyon didn’t see me as much as in years past, yet I had plenty of images which made the A list.

sunrise, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada, gottatakemorepix

rainwater pools, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada, Steve Bruno

reflection, Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada, Steve Bruno

 

 

Oregon was another place I spent some time last summer.  Although the trip was mainly for a family gathering, I had time afterwards to head to the trails in the Columbia River Gorge.

waterfalls, Oregon, Columbia River Gorge, Steve Bruno

As I mentioned earlier, Hawaii was part of my travels this year, and gave me many great photo opportunities.  My time on the lava fields at sunset certainly stands out as one of my favorite experiences, not just for this year, but for a lifetime.

 

Pacific Ocean, cliffs, Hawaiiold growth forest, Hawaii, trees, gottatakemorepixwaves, lava, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean, Steve Brunolava flow, Hawaii, sunset, gottatakemorepix

 

Monochrome Madness: MM3-52

As spring storms start to lose their punch, it’s time to start venturing further northward.  One place I love to photograph is Cathedral Gorge State Park.  It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of spot along the Great Basin Highway in eastern Nevada.  Full of texture and contrast, it offers many opportunities for black and white photography, and there are places and times where color photography works too.  Storm clouds added another dimension on this spring day.

This photo is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  Next week starts the fourth year for this project for Leanne.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, visit her website.

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

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.

WPC: Enveloped – in deep, narrow canyons

I’ve hiked many miles, and early on I discovered I preferred canyon hikes over those on a mountaintop or ridgeline.  It’s not just about having shade or water, but more of the adventure of coming around a corner and being amazed with something unexpected.  And while canyon exploring tops my list, some canyons are more memorable.  Those are the ones where the skies disappear and I might have to take off the pack and step sideways for a moment or two.  At that point, it’s hard not to feel enveloped in the land.  Sometimes it’s challenging to find an angle to photograph these spots, because there’s no moving around for a better angle, and looking up just yields a washed out image.  Whether it’s a slot canyon or just another thin slit in the earth’s crust, sunlight rarely penetrates to the bottom.  If it does, the contrast is too much, so the best light is often reflected sunlight.

Here are some of my favorite places to become enveloped:

Top:  small side canyon in Zion National Park, Utah

Second:  Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona

Third:  Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada

Fourth:  unnamed canyon in Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona

Slot Canyon-Steve Bruno

Cathedral Gorge-Steve Bruno

Deep Canyon-Steve Bruno

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Enveloped.”

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