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Splishy Splash

Splishy Splash

On our first full day in Zion we hiked into one of the most amazing slot canyons in the world: The Narrows. We rented drysuit pants, neoprene socks, canyoneering shoes, and a walking stick and trudged 9 miles up and down the Virgin River. Some times the water was almost up to our thighs but mostly it was knee to ankle deep.

One of the photographs on our bucket-list was a photo of flowing water captured with the sunrise reflecting back in the water. As we hiked towards the Wall Street section of the Narrows we kept an eye on the color of the water. About 45 minutes into the hike we finally spotted the beautiful color reflecting in the water. I found a slightly shorter shutter speed brought out more of the color and definition in the water. I liked this particular spot because water was bouncing off one of the rocks in the river.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
48mm, f/7.1, 1/15 sec, ISO 640
BW Circular Polarizer

Narrow Glow

Narrow Glow

One of the most amazing hikes in Zion National Park is The Narrows. Once Willie, Yan, and I donned on our drysuit pants, neoprene socks and canyoneering shoes we trudged 9 miles up and down the Virgin River through this beautiful slot canyon. In the morning the suns rays bounce off the red rock walls, causing them to glow with beautiful color.

After finding the end of Wall Street we hiked back towards the beginning and found some beautiful light, which we photographed for a while. Another photographer had already been there and informed us that even though it was still only 10:30am, we had missed the good light back at the end of Wall Street. We didnt believe him so we raced back to the end of Wall Street only to find out that he was right. We went in search of some more of the good light, which seemed like it was further towards the beginning of Wall Street.

On our walk back towards the beginning we found this small section of canyon wall that was just glowing with beautiful orange color. We stopped and used the water flowing around the rocks as a foreground element.

Dont you hate when you come home and find out that you partially ruined your shots with something as stupid as focusing slightly too close Even at f/10 the canyon walls are slightly soft here because I focused on the rock super closer to the camera, causing a DoF issue with the back walls. Oh well, Ill have to go back sometime

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
29mm, f/10, 3 sec, ISO 400
BW Circular Polarizer

Narrow Beauty

Narrow Beauty

One of the most amazing hikes in Zion National Park is The Narrows. Once Willie, Yan and I donned on our drysuit pants, neoprene socks and canyoneering shoes we trudged 9 miles up and down the Virgin River through this beautiful slot canyon. In the morning the suns rays bounce off the red rock walls, causing them to glow with beautiful color.

One of the first spots we found with glowing walls was here in the middle of Wall Street. This is only a small section of the rock wall that was lit with a beautiful orange and yellow but I really loved how the water was also reflecting the color. I decided to use a less traditional landscape (horizontal) orientation so that I could include the glow of the water in this photo.

We set out fairly early in the morning with the goal of being at the end of Wall Street by 10:30am. We stopped a couple times along the way and made it to Wall Street around that time but apparently missed the light show at one of the more popular spots. We back-tracked to find the light and stopped here around 10:45am with the light just blazing! Such an awesome place!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
24mm, f/11, 1.3 sec, ISO 320
B+W Circular Polarizer

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Packer' Up (and go home!)

Packer' Up (and go home!)

When the San Francisco Giants won the World Series this past year the entire city bathed itself in orange to celebrate the victory. Various buildings lit up the city skyline in orange. When Willie texted me to say that the city was bathed in Orange, Gold, and Red for the 49ers playoff game I knew I had to make it into the city Only there was one hitch: my roommate and I had just invited her parents over for dinner to see the apartment for the first time. With a sigh and If youre not home by 7pm Im throwing your camera gear out the window while you sleep I was granted permission to go

Willie and I made our way over to Twin Peaks. This was my first time here and we arrived early and walked around taking in the sights. There are a number of curvy roads that lead up to Twin Peaks and we wanted to use the winding roads in our photos. The plan was to first stay wide angle and include the winding roads while there was still some light and then throw on the telephoto lens as blue hour started to peak and focus on the colorful buildings.

I made the prediction earlier in the evening that the Beacon might make an appearance tonight and sure enough it did They couldnt turn the crown jewel on at 5pm during the holidays but they could for a sports team Dont question this, I was happy it was on As the sun went down and blue hour kicked in the orange and gold lights became more evident. Blue hour came and went before I really knew it (perhaps it was only about 5-10 minutes long).

I included Market Street, City Hall, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Building, and just a smudge of the Bay Bridge to commemorate the 49ers kicking the Packers tuchases (yiddish for BUTTS) You can also see that the tops of the Embarcadero Center buildings are lit in interlocking red and gold, just to the right of the Transamerica Building. What a neat sight

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF:
112mm, f/11, 5 sec, ISO 200

Glowscape

Glowscape

One of the most popular scenes near Moab, Utah is sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. The previous night Andy and I had met up with Phill Monson and his brother-in-law Jeff to photograph Delicate Arch, and we arranged to meet on this particular morning at Mesa Arch at 5:30am. This meant leaving our hotel at 4:30am (ick). We wanted to be the first photographers at the arch so that we could stake out our favorite spot. To our delight we were the first photographers for a couple minutes at least. 5 minutes later our solitude was broken as groups of photographers began to arrive.

For a saturday morning we were extremely lucky – only about 15 photographers showed up. No pushing or shoving, knocking tripods, or being rude. Everyone politely came over, found a spot, setup their tripods and waited. As the sun began to rise over the La Sal Mountains in the background, the rays of light hit the underside of Mesa Arch and caused it to glow

I chose this composition because I wanted to include as much of the plateau below the arch as I could. There are beautiful mesas, buttes, spires, canyons, and rivers here and I wanted to try to include them all I also knew that I wanted to include some sky and as much of the arch as I could; at times I wished I could have even been more wide angle than I already was. I took a number of photos as the sun rose and I wanted to include the largest sunstar that I could; I chose this photo because it has the suns rays on both the mountains and the arch.

This is NOT an HDR. Phill challenged me to take advantage of the amazing dynamic range of the Nikon D800 and this is only 1 exposure All it took was some simple dodging and burning, a curves adjustment to bring back some contrast, and some additional minor tweaks here and there.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/22, 0.6 sec, ISO 100
No Filters

The Burning Bush

The Burning Bush

After flying into St. George Municipal Airport and picking up our rental car, a 4×4 Jeep, we hit the road to Bryce National Park. Turned out that renting the AWD Jeep was a good idea because about 30 minutes into the drive the snow started coming down. Apparently we had flown in just as a blizzard was about to hit. For about an hour the snow came down so hard that we could barely see the lanes in the road. At some point the storm disappeared, we found a route to Bryce, and we arrived at our hotel 2 hours later than expected. We went to bed expecting that sunrise at Bryce would be covered up by the clouds.

We were treated to a nice surprise when we woke up: the radar showed an opening in the clouds right around sunrise. Drudgingly we got dressed, put on as many warm clothes as we could and headed out to Sunset Point to watch the sunrise (yes, its a bit of contradiction that Sunset Point is one of the best places to watch sunrise at Bryce). The clouds did stay away long enough for sunrise to occur and it lit up the hoodoos at Bryce beautifully. Unfortunately the sky was dull of color and none of those photos came out well.

After warming up in the car my buddy and I decided to hike the 1.5 mile Navajo Trail Loop into the canyons. The hike is absolutely stunning and we were treated to some beautiful light. As we descended into the canyon we came across this dead tree, that must have split in some previous storm. The light was hitting it perfectly — making it glow, almost as if it was on fire. I thought that it was neat that this photo combined the beautiful light with the falling snow — which shows off the wonderful juxtaposition of Bryce National Park: a dessert with huge red rock canyons, crazy rock formations, yet at the elevation that it SNOWS

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 500

Available for Purchase at Aaron M Photography