The monsoon season has been a good one this year, but for the most part, appears to be over. Sunny and hot dominates the upcoming forecast once again. We had almost a month straight with cloud cover, many small rains, and some downpours. Sadly, from a photographer’s standpoint, most of the big rains happened at night. There are a couple spots with normally dry waterfalls that have safe access no matter what the weather, and I’ve been wanting to capture those in full force. Two weeks ago, we had a daytime thunderstorm in the right part of town, and I headed out to see some waterfalls. As I got closer, I realized the rain had missed the area I hoped to see, so I kept driving. When I came upon this canyon, I could see a waterfall going. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get closer before the flow ceased, so I had a moderate telephoto lens along for that reason. Errant raindrops were still coming down as well as thunder rumbling from somewhere overhead, without seeing any lightning. Despite that, I could see blue skies about to take over. I took a photo from this same spot five minutes earlier that shows all the waterfalls because of the soft light. When I saw the sunlight coming through, I knew this was going to be a b&w. All those cliffs were still very wet, and in this shot you can still see one waterfall clearly. If you’re seeing this on a larger screen, you might see a couple of the other ones.
Hard to believe this was just three weeks ago. Snow flurries were on the mountain, thunderstorms were rolling through town. Now the spring/summer temperature yo-yo has begun. Not for long, I’m sure, as summer is inevitable.
Last week we had a late season winter storm which brought snow to the mountains and a decent amount of rain to lower elevations. I went out to hike around the rainwater pools before they evaporated, and was fortunate to have plenty of fast-moving clouds for long-exposure photos. 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 Leanne’s website.
As we approach winter in the northern hemisphere, scenes like this should be common. Instead, the nightly news talks about fires in California, and how the firefighters will be on the job until Christmas, and now perhaps until New Year’s Day. Here’s hoping for rain and snow soon for our neighbors in California.
This image is from the Mammoth region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and 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 Leanne’s website.
On my first full day on the big island of Hawaii this summer, I set out to return to some locations that I had visited my previous time there. I hadn’t checked the weather before I set out, so I was unaware that a tropical storm was a couple hundred miles offshore. The first place I stopped at was too wet to get out for pictures, and I thought the day might be a bust. I was pleasantly surprised to drive a little further, and see drier conditions for another spot with fond memories.
I chose my first location cautiously because the waves were more robust than my last visit. The area I picked didn’t have a single drop of water anywhere under my feet. Nonetheless, I waited about 10 minutes and watched wave activity before unpacking the camera and tripod. That first spot was on a ledge about 15 feet above ocean level, and the bigger waves splashed close to that height, but all towards the left. I spent over half an hour there, getting some great stills and video. Afterwards, I moved to some other areas along this point where the water was calm by comparison.
I thought I was almost done, but returned to the first spot, just slightly further back. The contrast between the close rock formations and the ones slightly further, with occasional light splashes of water, gave me a different perspective. I had my shutter release cable attached and my drive on high speed, because you never know what you might get with water splashing. You can always delete the boring ones.
All I will say is that I heard this one coming. Instinct told me to keep holding the shutter. This is not a telephoto shot, but actually a bit of a wide angle lens. Somewhere under all that airborne water is the spot I had been standing earlier.
This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. In the first week of the month, there is a theme, with this theme being up in the air. To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit Leanne’s website.
Last week I was back in the Pacific Northwest, although I did not see any conditions like this again. This was from a couple years ago, when there was fog in very cold conditions. Ice coated all the vegetation, but not the roads – conditions I could photograph in all the time if it happened that way!
This was my entry in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness last week. Running a little late with a lot of travel taking place.
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.
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.
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.
Seasons Greetings to everyone!
This week’s Monochrome Madness photo comes from the state of Washington, and some unusual winter conditions for the rest of the country. My rental car had a temperature gauge which indicated that it was 24 degrees outside. At the same time there was moderate fog in the air. All that moisture was freezing on the trees and bushes, but not the road. As the sun started to move higher in the sky, it did start to melt the fine ice coating, but I had at least an hour of photographing with these amazing conditions.
This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. You can find the work of other bloggers on her website, as well as instructions on how to join in.
Not my backyard. More like backyard to the city of Las Vegas. But close enough that I refer to it as my backyard, and a favorite spot to get out and take photos, even if I don’t manage to get very far from the car.
Earlier this month I had a morning that I was able to get away. A storm had dusted the higher elevations with some snow, and as I waited for the sunrise to give the cliffs a red glow, I watched the clouds dropping onto the cliffs behind me and moving in.
After I took the above shot, I was feeling many semi-frozen drops of water, so I headed down the road a short stretch, in between bands of lowering clouds. I missed one very exquisite lighting opportunity, as the slush drops started hitting the ground before I could get to my location. That brief bit of weather passed, and it remained mostly dry long enough for me to find a couple more settings for photos.
I then returned to where I started the morning, as the clouds seemed to have hit a barrier there, and just lingered on the cliffs without lowering any further.
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.