Layered

Turtlehead Peak, a mountain visible from nearly any spot in Vegas. With its signature shape, I'd probably call it something a little more badass, like Sabretooth Peak. The way it thrusts sharply out of the landscape. It's intimidating, especially for the way the setting sun often casts rays of light across its bow, the way low-lying storm clouds curl around it. This photo gives the peak context, right in the heart of Red Rock Canyon. We will climb this one day soon.

La Madre Springs

Our first hike in at least a couple of months. I shake the cobwebs loose from my legs. The sensation of peace slowly comes back to me. I remember with every step why I love to hike. I stop once in a while to listen to the silence, to feel the cool air. The sky is bright and blue, the air crisp. These little breaks are vital. more important that getting to the end of the trail, I must take in my surroundings. Focus on the now. And then take some pretty pictures. Ya know, for funsies.

The Light Over the Land

What compells me, more than any other aspect of photography, is the mood of an image. A feeling, a sense of the place that reaches beyond my intellectual understanding of what I'm looking at. Many of the images that move me most give me a sense of the mood of the scene. Perhaps I can hear the wind, smell the pine, feel the snow fall and melt on my forehead. I want, more than anything, to inspire you to feel what I was feeling when I made the image. I want you to journey alongside me. My favorite photos take me to places I've only dreamt of. Come along with me, I promise it'll be fun.

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season. I took this opportunity to do a nighttime HDR test of the lights in front of my house. The best part of it all is the lovely ADT security stake in the ground. It really warms my heart. Happy New Year, folks, you'll love what I have in store for The Adventure Book in 2012!

A Foggy Afternoon at Mt. Charleston

On a whim, we decided to take a trip up to Mt. Charleston for the afternoon. The weather app on my phone assured me that the temperatures were only mildly colder than in the Las Vegas valley. That prediction was very much off the mark. Despite the biting cold and our unpreparedness for it, we enjoyed some hot cocoa at the lodge and I managed to keep my shutter finger just warm enough to snap some photos. There were lovely low-lying clouds surrounding the mountains. They really gave place a magical air. The blue sky peeked through the clouds to introduce much color to the cold monochrome nature of the place. A wonderful detour.

Grand Canyon Adventure! Part 2

Here's the second part of my epic Grand Canyon Adventure Trilogy! Although I came away with a few shots I like, I can't wait to return with all the lessons I have learned. I'm really looking forward to hiking down into the canyon to get a whole new perspective. I would love to do some still water and white water rafting down the Colorado.

This first photo was taken just outside the Kolb Studio along the South Rim. It almost feels like a Martian Landscape!

This next photo is a wide view from one of the lookouts on Hermit Road.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Grand Canyon Adventure! Part 1

Beatriz and I took a trip to the incredible Grand Canyon South Rim. It was the first time either of us had been there. The grandeur of this place cannot be described in words, nor could we fathom the scale in person. We spent a quick two-day trip introducing ourselves to this beast, and I feel we've barely scratched the surface. Unfortunately, the sky had but a few wisps of clouds the day we arrived, giving way to a completely featureless, blue sky the next day. Sometimes the weather isn't at your side. Nevertheless, the first sunset we viewed along Hermit Road gave us a glimpse of the beauty so many others have photographed. This is a shot from that first evening.

I have become known for using HDR as a part of my technique, however the beautiful lighting at this moment didn't call for it. More to come in the next few days!

 

To The Wetlands (with some really expensive gear)!

I had the wonderful opportunity to tag along with GW, the head of the Las Vegas Photographic Society, to scout a new location, The Wetlands! Wetlands in Las Vegas? Yep. The scenery looks completely alien in the middle of this desert, but quite fascinating nonetheless. GW was gracious enough to lend me his Nikon D3 with the amazing Nikon 14-24mm lens! It was great to spend a couple hours with all new gear, however it was difficult to give it all back! Here are some shots I took while testing this amazing kit:

Now I'd better start saving up!

Journey to the Old West

I had an amazing adventure last week with the Las Vegas Photographic Society. We all headed out to Kelso Depot, an old restored train station that used to be a part of the Union Pacific Railroad. The location was great, but it was the journey there that yielded the most interest for me. Our first stop was in the tiny California railroad town of Nipton. I love the starkness of this scene.

Our next stop was at a forrest of great Joshua Trees. As a Las Vegas native, I was surprised I had never seen so many of these fascinating trees together. We stopped in front of an enormous Joshua tree to take pictures. My eye was drawn more toward this dying tree just a few yards away. It looked so much like a withering, dying hand.

Next up, we stopped at an old, (hopefully!) abandoned junk yard. We hopped the fence at our own peril and snapped some photos. The rust turned these old machines into beautiful colored sculptures.

Now onto the Kelso Depot itself. I enjoyed the clean lines and vintage architecture, I can almost imagine this place in its heyday, hitching a train to parts unknown.

An old post office just outside the Depot, I wonder if they still deliver?

After being set on our own, Beatriz and I headed back to an old, destroyed shack we spotted on the way out. This place was so photogenic, it looked as if it were built as a movie set to a film about the wasteland.  Decay can be so beautiful. This whole trip made me fall in love with the old west and I look forward to doing a whole series on the Old West.

There are more shots from this trip. I'll continue to post them as they are ready. Let me know what you think so far!

Sky Ablaze

Taken about a month ago atop Exploration Peak Park near Blue Diamond. I perched myself on the edge of a wall surrounding a giant compass rose the top. From this viewpoint, you get a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley as well as the mountains surrounding it. It was nearing sunset and I looked at the sky with anticipation. This was going to be a beautiful sunset, I just had to wait it out. It was very cold and windy, and my fingers began to numb very quickly. I had absent-mindedly forgotten my gloves, and boy was I paying for it. The wait was worth it, though, and the sky raged with brilliant reds and oranges. I don't often like to make the sky the focus of an image, but this took my breath away.

This next image was taken a few minutes before the above photo. Just before the sun had passed behind the mountain, rays of light burst through and fell upon the houses below. I like the contrast between the natural world above, and the civilized world below.

Bridalveil Fall

This is a black and white conversion of a photo from my Yosemite trip last april. Black and white photography is a whole new beast for me. You have to deal more with tones and contrast than in color photography. I love the drama of this photo and the way the foreground pines frame the image.

The Way Back

Dense, dramatic clouds cover the sky above on our way back to Las Vegas. This mountain in the distance drew my attention. The shape is very volcanic. The clouds in this scene seem to separate the world below from the realm of the gods above. 

Ominous Morning

A dark sunrise just outside of Rockville, UT, near the gates to Zion. We awoke in the dark and set out to capture a sunrise. I had been eyeing the bluffs (or Mesas, as my Bea put it) on our way to Zion and wanted to catch these beautiful rock formations at sunrise. The morning was very cloudy and overcast, but there was just a lick of sunlight coming through to warm up the cool atmosphere. The light was soft, and the wind blew just hard enough to blur the marigold-colored flowers (weeds?) near the road. I've been trying to incorporate more foregrounds into my landscapes, and I love how the colors contrast. The morning sky soon became dull and overcast, I'm glad to have captured this light before it disappeared.

Zion in (nearly) Winter

Beatriz and I spent a weekend in Zion for our one-year anniversary. The whole park was very quiet and tranquil. I love Zion in the off-season, it's like we had the whole park to ourselves. This view is from the end of the Canyon Overlook trail, a short but lovely hike to an amazing viewpoint of Zion Canyon. We had intended on getting to the top before sunset, but some mischievous mountain goats blocked our path. We had to wait for the goats to continue up the trail in order to progress. They were our mountain guides! Luckily, the creatures eventually made their way off the trail and down the mountain before kicking one of us off the edge! By the time we reached the end of the trail, the sun had set, but it still burned red below the horizon. The scene's cool blue and purple light contrasted well with the burning sky.

Another adventure at beautiful Zion Nat'l Park! More photos from this trip coming soon!

Street Walking

Beatriz and I took a walk around the Las Vegas Strip today before work for some HDR fun! Where else can you travel from Paris to Rome to New York City in just a few minutes of walking? The strip is definitely not my cup of tea, but it makes for some fun snapshots and interesting sights.

This was taken just outside The Mirage, where my day job is located. I didn't bring my tripod out of laziness, so I had to crouch down and prop my camera against a railing to steady the camera enough to blur the waterfall and get the exposures I needed for the HDR. Just another example of my willingness to look silly in public for my art! No blisters this time, though.

These next two shots were either taken in Ancient mythological Rome, or just outside Forum Shops at Caesar's. Your guess! This first one makes me imagine this horde of mythological beings charging toward the unassuming tourists. Cherish the thought!


Wispy Morning in Zion Canyon

This is another shot from the Vault. Taken back in June during one of our many visits to Zion National Park. I wasn't quite happy with how I processed the image at the time. A little bit of learning and a fresh perspective helped me recreate the scene more true to how I saw it. I love that place, it always feels like a homecoming when we return there. Although it was June, the morning was crisp and cold, the air clear and invigorating. I took this on our last day of the trip, just prior to heading back to Vegas. I can feel and smell the air when I look at this image.