Rocks

El-o-wah Mess

El-o-wah Mess

Pretty much everything at Elowah Falls on this morning was a mess. The hike down to the waterfall was a mess. The colors near the falls were a mess. The branches stuck in the stream, the leaves fallen in random places, the complaints from Willie and Alan, and the rain trickling down on us all made for quite the messy scene. We had hoped for some beautiful fall colors for our long weekend in the Columbia River Gorge but most of the colors hadnt peaked yet or just died out into dead, brown leaves.

Elowah Falls is pretty majestic and our first inclination was to get close to it. Unfortunately, there werent any fall colors and we found ourselves slightly down stream. Elowah became blocked by some trees but we did finally find some autumn color to include in our photos. Leaves fell on top of the rocks near us, ripped off their trees by the rain from earlier in the morning. We tried a number of compositions before lining up in a row and settling on this little cascade here.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S:
17mm, f/10, 1.6 sec, ISO 250

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

Arky

Arky

Archangel Falls, or Archy for short, are the cascading falls along the Subway hike section of the Virgin River. Willie, Yan and I woke up early on our 2nd day in Zion and thought we were getting an early start to the hike. When we arrived at the parking lot we found that a large number of other cars had already beaten us here We decided to see if we could pass them all and practically ran the first 4 miles of the 5 mile Subway hike. We got to Archangel Falls thinking that we really were the first group to arrive. Nope. A man and woman had beaten us there.

Willie and I setup closer to the falls so that we could use the largest section of the waterfall as our foreground element. We both use the same Feisol tripod and had ordered the short column for our tripods so we could get lower to the ground. Unfortunately my regular tripod column was screwed so tight onto my tripod that I was never able to get the short column on. If I had been able to get lower you would see more autumn color and a larger portion of the beautiful red rock canyon walls.

I really liked how the water was splashing off the rock on the middle left of this photo, creating an almost fountain like section of spray. I placed the red rock in the lower center to help draw the eye through.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
24mm, f/18, 1 sec, ISO 50
BW Circular Polarizer

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

Muddy Reward

Muddy Reward

Whenever I tell someone that Im going to the beautiful island of Kauai they usually ask me Are you hiking the Na Pali coast On my first trip to Kauai I ran out of time and never got to do the hike along the Na Pali coast. Going back a second time, I made sure to do all the things I didnt have time for before, and hiking to Hanakapiai Falls was towards the top of the list

The Kalalau Trail starts at the end of the road at Kee Beach and goes up-hill and then down hill for 2 miles until you hit Hanakapiai Beach. This is the point at which if you want to keep hiking the Na Pali coast you need to get a permit and backpacking is recommended. From the beach its 2 miles inland to the waterfalls. Once you hit the falls, you turn back and retrace your steps until you get back to Kee Beach.

Originally we wanted to plan our hike along the Kalalau Trail so that it would coincide with a dry day before, giving enough time for the wet trail to dry out a bit. Unfortunately we packed to much in and had to do the hike on a specific day. We set out early and immediately began wondering what we were getting ourselves into: the very beginning of the hike was already slippery. About a mile into the hike it started to POUR on us. Luckily my ClikElite camera bag had a rain cover or my gear might have been completely soaked/ruined. For a couple minutes we thought about taking cover under some trees but realized quickly it was useless and we kept hiking in the rain. In typical Hawaii fashion the rain stopped about 15 minutes later and eventually we made our way across the river and down to Hanakapiai Beach. After a short break we started the 2 mile trek inland.

We hadnt gone more than 200 feet when the trail turned from hard packed dirt to wet slushy mud. At one point we gave up trying to find dry land and just started trudging through the mud. The rest of the trail includes crossing a stream another half a dozen times and eventually my friends gave up completely on trying to keep their feet dry and just trudged through everything (I might add that my feet stayed completely dry on this hike)

Tired, wet, cold, and frustrated we finally made it to Hanakapiai Falls And man is it a beauty The waterfall drops 300 feet down, and bounced off numerous cliff rocks as it falls — some of which you can see here. I took a few quick photos, took a group shot of us, and then scarfed down some lunch before we hit the trail to return home.

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
70mm, f/20, 0.4 sec, ISO 100
BW Circular Polarizer

Purchase at Aaron M Photography

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