November 2016

November 2016 (4)

Friday, 25 November 2016 10:06

First Light

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There is a very long, thin remnant of uplift on the eastern side of Castle Valley. Along this ridge are three prominent locations where the caprock has resisted erosion to produce some outstanding geological features. Toward the south is the rock dome of Castleton Tower. Northward along the spine are the spires known as the "Priest and the Nuns", and on the north end of the ridge, closer to the flow of the mighty Colorado, is a massive monument, which is unnamed on the maps I have studied, but which because of its orientation to the great mountains to the southeast is often the first place in the surrounding terrain to receive the morning light. On a day in early-November recently I found this monument bathed in the dawning glow, beneath a sky filled with drifting stratus and rafts of wonderful cirrus. A focal length of 36mm, the cusp of wide-angle, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/13, given the camera-to-subject distance, provided depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/4th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. The Colorado Plateau in first light is a world apart.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 10:53

Only for a While Do the Aspens Sleep

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The aspen forests that flow down the slopes of the La Sal Mountains are places of great beauty regardless of the season; but here's the interesting thing: An aspen grove is not a collection of individual trees, but rather, more accurately, is a single huge organism, whose life force is hidden away under the ground. Aspens send out "runners" which regularly sprout above the ground to form "trunks" which act just like trees. Moreover, in contrast to other deciduous forms, aspens are never dormant, but continue growing - synthesizing sugars - by means of a thin photosynthetic layer located just under the outer bark. So "sleeping" is a misnomer when applied to this marvelous species. I was willing to forego the bases of the "trees' in the foreground, as well as their tips, so that I could avoid both ground and sky. The opening into the forest gave me a pathway through the trees into the background. A focal length of 78mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter sped of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. Not dormant; perhaps not even really a tree, but a world of wonder and beauty for everyone.

Saturday, 12 November 2016 11:08

A Light from Within

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Bryce Canyon (not really a canyon, but rather a collection of natural amphitheaters) adorns the eastern flank of Paunsaugunt Plateau, the penultimate step of the Grand Staircase, in a way that can only be described as iconic; and the typical expression of this amazing fairyland is the creation of an icon, which is wonderful fun to say the least. However, in the very first light of a rising November sun, there are intimate sections of fairyland that seem to glow with their own light from within and seem to demand to stand alone as the intimate landscapes that they are. Several days ago, as I stood watching this drama unfold, I found this glow among a small cluster of hoodoos and it seemed to require that I share it. A focal length of 210mm gave me the angle of view I wanted, medium telephoto. An aperture of f/20 provided depth of field, and a shutter speed of 0.3 seconds at ISO 100 gave me an overall slightly lighter-than-medium exposure. The intimacy of fairyland icons shines with its own glow.

Sunday, 06 November 2016 00:34

A Capital Light

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In mid-autumn the light that shines on Capitol Reef National Park can easily be described as otherworldly. There is a richness to it that seems to radiate from within the redrock itself producing an illumination that pulses across the desert. One of the beautiful locations - among many - where this can truly be appreciated is from any point near the top of the Cohab Canyon Trail looking northwest where the Fremont Gorge Overlook Trail bends around the base of its ridge above the junction of Sulphur Creek and the Fremont River and the once-thriving Mormon community of Fruita. The western escarpment of the Waterpocket Fold breathes in the waning sun and exhales a glow that warms the entire Colorado Plateau. A focal length of 78mm - very short telephoto - gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth of field and a shutter speed of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. A capital light in a land of red rock.

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