December 2017

December 2017 (4)

Friday, 22 December 2017 10:57

In Beauty I Walk

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The wonder-filled world that is Zion National Park is a place of nooks and crannies, so that for all of the grand designs to be found there, the intimate landscapes are always quick to capture my attention and my imagination. Pine Creek is one of those places. Dropping off the east shoulder of Deertrap Mountain, Pine Creek joins Clear Creek before falling down through a technical slot canyon and sliding below the Great Arch, past the base of East Temple, and on to rendezvous with the Virgin River at Canyon Junction. The middle section of this meandering is a gurgling, pool-filled place of solitude that has become increasingly popular with hikers and canyoneering lovers over the past several years, but it continues to draw me in whenever I am there. In a corner of the south wall I found a shaded area where a quiet pool reflected the unseen tip of East Temple as the light began to pour in all around. A focal length of 24mm, moderate wide-angle, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, still an intimate scene. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field, given the camera to subject distance; and a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds in calm air at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. As with the Smokies, we are loving Zion perhaps to death. How can we keep from destroying that which we so deeply love?

Friday, 15 December 2017 21:51

Reflecting on the Place of the Sermon

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Shortly after the Virgin River has gnawed its way through The Narrows, bursting into the great canyon that is Zion, it flows toward the base of an amazing piece of geology, a resistant sandstone remnant called The Pulpit. In the late afternoon autumn light, when the west wall of the main canyon is shaded below, the waning day illuminates the rock and its apron of golden fall cottonwoods, casting its colors back upstream across the shallow, rock-strewn waters. Standing mid-stream, I moved side-to-side until I could maximize the reflectant surface, keeping in mind that I wanted to have the glowing rock remain near the top-left power point. The lines of the stream, the two streambanks and the trees along the right bank, all came into play as leading lines for the eyes toward the rock. This perspective also allowed me to isolate The Pulpit against the far (east) wall, some distance away. A focal length of 22mm, moderately wide-angle, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 3.0 seconds at ISO 100 gave me a slightly-darker-than-medium exposure. Zion National Park broke its all-time attendance record in the 2017 calendar year. How this will be factored into the planning for this incredible place remains to be seen. How can we love it, but not to death?

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 23:03

Whiter Shade of Autumn

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Sometimes in the midst of a weather pattern you are handed a surprise to play with, and so it was that on October 29th, the class at Arrowmont was treated with a major dusting of snow that settled itself all over the autumn colors which had barely found their way to peak condition. With the main road closed to our fondest wish otherwise, we made do with a trip down Little River Road and were surprised by the wonderful juxtaposition of fall foliage dipped in white that created a wonderland of intimate landscapes. A focal length of 82mm, short telephoto, isolated the angle-of-view that attracted me. An aperture of f/16 and a shutter speed of 1/6th second at ISO 200 gave me an overall medium exposure; and of equal importance, it allowed me, with patience, to work with the very slight breeze that wafted through the trees above me. Weather surprises can be a lot of fun most any time, especially when they create wonderful seasonal contrasts for your enjoyment and creative energies.


Saturday, 02 December 2017 13:33

Southwest by the Crest

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Southwest from Clingman's Dome, the Appalachian Trail traces the Smokies Crest Ridge across Sliers Bald, Cold Spring Knob, Derrick Knob, and Thunderhead Mountain before starting its long, slow descent into the valley of the Little Tennessee River at Fontana. From boundary to boundary it is 72.371 miles of some of the most beautiful land on Earth. It seems to me as though my soul was born here. On an overcast October morning I watched the clouds moving from the northwest across the face of this ridge as I stood in Webb Overlook on Thomas Divide where the colors of fall were almost at peak. Light from the East raked across the face of the forests and beauty in multiple forms was on display.


I want to gratefully acknowledge all of the kind expressions I have received in the wake of my mother's passing, Your beautiful thoughts will go with me always. She and my father brought me to this place for the first time in 1955, and I knew then that this was home. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.


A focal length of 90mm, still fairly short telephoto, 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 very slightly-darker-than-medium exposure.

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