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Finally…A Little Fresh Air

Recently, I had a chance to get out to our closest high elevation hiking spot.  A friend had wanted to get away from the heat, and as with most people I know, didn’t want to to a hike on ‘photographer’s hours’.  With that in mind, I wasn’t going to bring a camera, just my phone.  Then I remembered the last time I did that, and we encountered butterflies and tiny flowers, so I packed my older smaller sensor camera and macro lens.  That’s my idea of keeping it light.

The trail started around 8000 feet, and some of the trees down there had something I had never noticed before.  Coming off the leaves was a thread-like material, covered with fine hairs.  Most of these had a pigtail kind of curve to them, and their lighter color glowed in the backlight.  My first shot of the day is actually one of my favorites.

fine art, tree, sunshine, abstract, steve bruno

Even though these trees were present further up, the threads were not as abundant on those trees.  I think I need to spend more time in this forest to notice the details of seasonal changes.

nature, tree, detail, forest, steve bruno

The photo at the top of this post was taken near the top of the trail.  With my smaller sensor camera I don’t have an extreme wide angle lens, so this was a composite of 10 frames.  We had started out with clear skies, but these timely clouds came passing through, looking more like fall than summer.

We arrived at the end point of one trail, then continued partway on another.  I was wanting to see if the springs were still there after so many dry years.  Just before the springs we found ourselves in the midst of the forest affected by the Carpenter 1 fire which happened in 2013.  Although signs of recovery were evident, these trees will not be coming back, and the eerie feeling remains.

forest fire, trees, nevada

If there’s a positive side to not being in great shape anymore, it’s that the hike took long enough so that we finished with late afternoon light.  Often this is the time of day i would start a hike with photos in mind.  The young aspens were a stark contrast to the trees consumed by fire higher up.

aspen trees, summer, mountains, nevada, landscape photography

The cliffs in the lower part of the trail were beginning to get the glow of reflected light.  The trees here are generally tall, but I couldn’t help but notice there was a giant amongst them.

Mount Charleston, nevada, forest, hiking, fine art, landscape photography,

In addition to better quality of light, late afternoon usually brings out the wildlife.  This young deer showed up trailside in the last half mile, but really wanted nothing to do with me.  There was a significant barrier of shrubs between us, and the one moment I had a clear view, it moved out quickly, so I only got a parting shot.

deer, wildlife, forest, nevada

It’s been a busy summer, and when work has slowed down, I’ve been catching up on lots of backlogged projects.  We’ve had some of the worst looking skies I can ever remember here in southern Nevada, and we haven’t had any fires to speak of.  We’ve had dust blowing in from storms in Arizona, but mostly the smoke from California’s fires.  Most of the big fires throughout the west in the last few years have been human caused.  I’d like to believe that Nevadans are smarter and more respectful of the environment, but the law of averages tells me that stupid people show up everywhere.  I think because we are not a glamorous outdoor destination like our surrounding states, we luck out by getting less people overall.  That’s OK…..more for us to enjoy!

Monochrome Madness: MM4-11

For this week’s Monochrome Madness, the theme is wild.  I have been to several places so remote, not even the governing agencies could answer my inquiries as to trail conditions or water reliability.  And although these remote places are seldom seen by people, images captured there may not necessarily reflect the feelings of isolation.

Bryce Canyon, the location of my photo, has spots that you can hike to that will give you a feeling of being in a wilderness, but most of the trails will have you hiking side-by-side with a bunch of strangers.  Despite that, it is still the wildest looking place I have ever been to.  This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, visit her website.

Monochrome Madness: MM3-41

One of the great places to hike and take photographs in the southwestern US is Arizona’s West Clear Creek Wilderness.  Hiking becomes wading in many places, and swimming in a few.  Despite being in the middle of Arizona, there is a short season.  From July through August, there are many days when the thunderstorm threat makes this canyon a bad choice.  Mostly the short season is due to the cold, not the heat, and the fact that you will get wet at some point.  The longest of the pools is unswimmable, even at the end of summer, due to hypothermia risk.

For photography, the creek is more about pools than flowing water.  Mornings usually have the stillest air, and glass-like reflections can occur.  As the name implies, the water has a beautiful clarity to it, and the rocks in the creek bottom add to the subject matter.  The shot above is a mixture of the reflection from the cliffs above, and seeing to the rocks below.  I took this in early afternoon, and my timing was based on waiting for the passing clouds to produce shadow in the foreground while the cliffs remained lit.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week, and the theme of reflection.  You can see what others have come up with this week on her website, or join the madness yourself next time.  Instructions for participating are on her site as well.

Wordless Wednesday: West Clear Creek Canyon

Sunlit cliffs reflect in a dark corridor of West Clear Creek Canyon, Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.
Sunlit cliffs reflect in a dark corridor of West Clear Creek Canyon, Arizona. Photo by Steve Bruno.

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