September 2017

September 2017 (4)

Friday, 22 September 2017 19:09

As Shadows Spread

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For nearly four hundred years the Chacoan culture flourished in the canyon that now bears its name. There, these Ancestral Puebloans fashioned a way of life and a technology not previously seen in that part of North America now known as the United States. The capstone of their construction, Pueblo Bonito, contained more than six hundred rooms and was both grand and great by any definition of the words. To the present-day Puebloan peoples, Pueblo Bonito and Chaco remain a place of the spirits, a place where ancestors arose and thrived. Every stone is sacred to their memory. Several days ago we made certain to be at the Great House an hour before sunset to catch the last rays of the day's light and to watch the shadows spread across the stones and into dusk. I found a location where I could use the lines of two long-ago reduced walls as leads across the ancient structures and into the far wall of the canyon beyond. A focal length of 28mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, spanning the entire central section of the pueblo. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/13th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall slightly lighter-than-medium overall exposure. As the evening wanes the voices of the past arise on the wind. Listen to their story.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 18:28

The Graphics of Pounding Mill

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By the time the sun has traversed its lengthy arc from summer solstice to autumnal equinox, it rises into the southeastern corner of the Pink Beds, potentially, under the appropriate conditions. casting long rays of color across the forest below and into the far reaches of the French Broad River Valley many miles away. If the valley happens to be covered on a thick blanket of fog, the rays will color the topside of the fog as well. In the earlier minutes of our recent adventure to Pounding Mill Overlook, before the sun had topped the far ridges, the golden rays spread across the upper layers of the French Broad's valley of fog creating a graphic wonderland of color, shape, contrast, and light. A focal length of 230mm gave me the narrow angle-of-view and magnification I wanted. An apreture of f/8, given the camer-to-subject distance, provided depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/60th second at ISO 200 gave me an overall somewhat darker-than-medium exposure, but not an undue amount of noise with which to process the result. When Pounding Mill is in "Show" mode, the show doesn't get any finer: graphics are good.

Sunday, 10 September 2017 00:51

Prelude to a Storm

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Pounding Mill Overlook is one of the finest sunrise and early light locations on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and if there is fog wafting through the Pink Beds far below, there is created an ethereality that is almost otherworldly. Yesterday as the far outer bands of clouds of Hurricane Irma slowly, almost breathlessly, coalesced and marched over our heads, the valley floor of the Cradle of Forestry below flowed on a river of cotton. In between, the sun rose crimson and tangerine, and outside of our mountains the South braced itself for a wind from the depths of the lungs of the earth. We wish for all only safe travels and Godspeed. A focal length of 300mm, moderate telephoto with an angle-of-view of eight degrees, isolated the portion of the valley floor that attracted me. An aperture of f/11, given the camera-to-subject distance, provided depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/60th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. For a brief moment, the world around us stood on a toe and did a slow pirouette into the new day.

Saturday, 02 September 2017 23:44

The Light That Remains

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In the fading light of a cloudless fall day, the upper slickrock of Zion National Park gives up the last of the sun's rays foot by foot, slowly, wash by wash, rock by rock, and tree by tree. The sinuous run of Pine Creek, mostly dry year-round until a passing shower fills its bed, becomes a haven for big-tooth maple and Gamble's oak, overcrowned with ponderosa pine and the great masses of Navajo sandstone. The curving wash is a paradise, too, for lenses of all sorts, including the wide-angle variety. I knelt on the edge of the soft, sandy bottom, where it met the layered rock that became a leading line down the creekbed and into the waning day. A focal length of 20mm, fairly extreme wide-angle, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field and a shutter speed of 0.8 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. The upper slickrock of Zion is like another world; it draws you into its many contrasts and holds you until can fathom its eternal depths. 

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