Monday, September 17, 2012

Let there be Light

Been a long time between posts.

Lately I have been playing around with (for me) a new way of lighting and taking pictures in the dark of night.
Last month I took a little trip to Copper Basin to do some ATV riding and some photography.  The area I was riding was absolutely beautiful and the ATV trails real bladder busters.  The first day of riding took me up to some high altitude lakes, five in all, that made me wish for a cabin in the area.  If a person were so inclined, there is a campground near one of the lakes that would handle a large party quite well.  About 3:30 am I woke up, unable to sleep, and tried to decide what to do to fill in some time so I wouldn't be completely bored.  What else, I grabbed the camera bag and went out to take pictures.  After playing around for awhile, I remembered the small rapids in Lake Creek not far from my tent that could be an interesting subject.  Using a flashlight I set up the camera on the tripod, framed the shot, set the aperture and the exposure time, and set a delayed shutter release.  When all was set, I tripped the shutter release and started taking pictures using the flashlight to light the scene.  After half a dozen shots that didn't have the affect I wanted, I finally got around to getting the light on the rapids from a location that really showed the rapids the way I had envisioned.

The success of this photo, somewhat, got me to thinking about a picture I had tried to take several years previous.  I had even come up with a possible solution, a long exposure with a large flash using a grid to control the angle of the beam.  I never got around to that shot and would still like to try it some time.  The picture of the rapids being lit with a super bright led flashlight got me to wondering if I could do the same thing with something as large as Upper Mesa Falls.  I figured, all I needed was the flashlight.  Finding a light that could cast its beam 1500 feet was an interesting task.  One day while looking at another photographers site, he made mention of a flashlight he was using.  I looked it up on Amazon and eBay and just about had heart failure at the price.  I did, after several days of research, find one on sale for half price.  After it came, I planned my trip.  I left mid afternoon to Island Park and Upper Mesa Falls. 

After a dozen shots or so, I came up with this image which consists of five exposures of thirty seconds each with my camera set in multiple exposure mode.  So each picture I took of the falls took about ten minutes total.  This was to allow the camera to do in camera processing of each of the five exposures for each picture.  

I think it turned out very well.  I am going to enter it in a photo contest coming up next month.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Future of America

We've all heard it said, "a picture is worth a thousand words". A picture or a scene can evoke a myriad of emotions. If you don't think so, just think about how you feel when you look out over a brightly colored fall landscape, or see Old Faithful for the first time.

Sometimes, emotions are more difficult to put into words than the visualization of a scene or picture. It is fairly easy to describe a scene or picture just by saying or writing what you see. But to describe the emotions of that scene or picture are different for every individual and therefore very personal. To some, tears might be shed, and others might just think, "oh, that's nice".

It seems, the older I get, my emotions play a much more important part in my day to day life than it used to. For example, on Monday I was driving down a road I had never been on. It was a back country road in an area I was covering for another inspector. Now, two things happened in fairly rapid succession. The first, a wolf ran across the road in front of me, much to my surprise. I knew it was a wolf because it was much to large to be a coyote. That brought me out of my gravel road boredom in a hurry. The second, came rather sudden also. In fact, I was glad I was the only one on the road at the time. I hit the brakes so quick, anyone following might have run into me. I pulled off into a field road, got out of my vehicle and just stood there in the road staring. The scene is very ordinary, but the emotion it evoked brought tears to my eyes. I then remembered I had a camera with me. This is what I saw.

Like I said, very ordinary.

The flag and its condition is what brought all my feelings out. I felt I was looking at Americas future, if we didn't do something to change the direction this country is heading.

Here is what I felt when looking on this scene.

The flag holds a two fold representation. Torn and tattered, it represents the destruction of our constitution and freedoms. Wired to a branch, which is then wired to the dilapidated wood structure, represents the few who valiantly try by any means to preserve our freedoms.

The old derelict farm machine represents our economic and industrial downfall.

The untilled earth and the weeds growing all around represent the unwillingness of the people to work, and leach off those who do.

Maybe you won't see what I saw. That's OK.

What emotions does it bring to you?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Island Park Fun and Beauty

On July 31st, Lyle and I had the opportunity to go do some playing. We hopped in the pickup and just started driving. We had no idea where we would end up. In conversation it came up that Lyle had never been to Cave Falls. So that is where we made our first stop. It was a little sad that such a popular land mark in the southwest corner of Yellostone Park had to be put on a no access (to the cave) basis because of falling boulders from the cliff above the cave. The cliff can be seen on the left side of the falls, and the cave is located at the bottom of the falls. Pictures could be taken from inside the cave, of the falls, in the past. I hope they make it accessible again.

Our next stop was up near Mesa Falls. While driving, I told Lyle about an old railroad tunnel in theat vicinity. He had never heard of it, so we naturally had to make a stop and hike down to it.
This picture is the first glimpse of the tunnel as you round the bend in the trail.

When the tunnel came into full view, it became painfully obvious we would not have the opportunity to walk through it. Jolene and I had walked through it several years ago. Now when you look at the following picture, you can see a timber had fallen some time in the past and they have fenced it off to public access. When we walked up closer, we could see a cave-in had occured about half way down the tunnel. I guess after 102 years, the timbers had to rot out at some time.

We could still walk around the canyon side of the tunnel to the other end, but the journey through the tunnel would have been more memorable.
By this time we were getting kinda hungry, so we made tracks to Ponds Lodge and had a hamburger for lunch.
From there, I decided to take Lyle out Shotgun Valley road toward Spencer. About 11 miles out this road is where an old gentleman lives that we had done work for in the past.
Just a few miles past his place, we turned off the main road and started back up into the mountains to the north. The road was rough, winding and steep. The higher we got, the more beautiful it became. Near the top, we came to an area covered with wild flowers, the most prominent being the Indian Paintbrush. There were acres of flowers to be seen. All the wild flowers at the lower elevations were already past the blooming stage. Up here it was absolutely glorious.

In among all these flowers, I noticed one I had never before seen. It was the most unique flower in the whole area and when I got home I had to find out just what it was. I picked one to show the wives, hoping it would last long enough to let them see the whole blossom. What I didn't know, is the toughness of wild flowers. The one I picked had a bloom and two buds. When I got it home, I put it in an glass of water, and the other two buds blossomed during the next week.

After spending some time up on top, we decided it was time to head home. But no trip would be complete without a stop at the Frost Top in Ashton for a root beer float. Then home and the computer. I had to know what kind of flower I brought home.
It took several hours of searching web sites and pictures, but I finally found out it is a "Meriposa Lily". Sometimes, because of its shape, it is called a three petal tulip. I think meriposa lily suits it much better.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Between

I love the time in between sunshine and rain. The air smells so fresh and clean, and the colors are bright and beautiful. Saturday was one of those days. I just had to get out with the camera and spend some time enjoying the "in between". I had seen this old shack many times in my travels around the area doing inspections and thought it would possibly make a good subject for a photo at some time. Like my previous post, the sky was absolutely spectacular with dark clouds contrasting against blue sky. And with the help of a polarizing filter, the blue sky was darkened and the clouds detail became sharper to increase the dramatic effect of the setting. The shack sits off the road about 50 yards surrounded by roads and tilled ground and crops. By composing carefully, I made it look as though it were in the middle on nowhere. Just the shack and broken down fencing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Montana History

In October 2008, Carlene and I had the opportunity to go to Montana with Pauline, Norms wife. We were taking a U-haul trailer load of stuff to Helena for her son Dan. After meeting Dan and his family and lunch (chinese) in Helena, we started home. The route took us through a little town called Boulder and past a little country church several miles south of town. I have seen that church in my travels from Chinook to destinations in Idaho my entire life. I even took some pictures of it in the early 70's. It was always a landmark for me. This time was different. Never have I seen that church, as near as this old man can remember, under the conditions as that afternoon. I just had to stop and break out the camera.

The church was built in the early 1880's by Irish settlers, and is one of the oldest in Montana that is still in original condition. The only thing different from the last time I saw it is the "In memory of" statue, the historical monument and the fence. Oh, the grave yard has grown some also. It was just a wonderful day to take some marvelous pictures. The overcast as seen in the picture, didn't last that way for much more than 15 minutes. I was lucky to get there and see it as shown.

Friday, September 19, 2008

OOOOH! What a Night. Day 2

Is it morning already? Did I actually get any sleep? All night long, every time I moved I could hear this annoying squeak in my ear. Guess I should have tried out the new inflatable backpacking pillow long before using it while camping. Oh, wait, I couldn't, I bought it the night before. Oh well, suns coming up and I'm hungry. Maple and brown sugar oat meal, yum. Devin's propane stove ran out of fuel early, so it was a good thing I brought my Swiss self generating stove and a bottle of white gas for it.
With breakfast over, Devin and Bryce took off to go fishing down along the south shore, Ryan, Gordon and I went up along the north shore. On the way out I was watching a moose with its head under water having breakfast also. I managed to get a picture of it as it was raising its head out of the water with water flying everywhere.

We hiked east on the trail until we found a nice spot down through the trees, on the shore, in a little cove. Gordon and I fished while all three of us visited. Gordon caught two fish, I didn't catch anything except some very nice pictures of the lake with the mountains reflected on the water.

One of the fish Gordon caught was injured too bad to return to the water so I suggested he have it for lunch.

While we were sitting there, we watched the moose walk along the shore heading east, while Bryce and Devin were heading west. Made us curious as to who would spook first.
After the fishing went south, we went back to camp to fix lunch. As I said, Gordon had trout for lunch. Lets see, no cooking oil or butter to fry it in and no salt or pepper for flavoring. He seemed to enjoy the boiled trout anyway. During lunch the discussion was: "what do we do next". The three amigos, Gordon, Bryce and Devin, thought it was a great idea to go swimming. I opted out since I didn't have a swimming suit and Ryan didn't either so we just watched and took pictures. Devin was the first to brave the cold mountain lake water and after diving in, stood waist deep just of shore shivering. Bryce and Gordon soon followed. Devin got on an old drift log and Bryce, with Gordon's help, launched him toward the island. Needless to say, he didn't get very far and ended up swimming to the island, taking the log with him. Once on the island, he went over to the makeshift flag pole and flag that had been blown down the before and stood it up, securing it better than it had been previously. Gordon followed Devin to the island, swimming over with his own piece of driftwood. After an exploration of the island, they both swam back. After a little more splashing around in the water, we all went back to camp, some to get dressed again, and all to discuss what to do next. Being extremely tired from lack of sleep, I decided to stay around camp, the three amigos decided to go climb a mountain, Ryan stuck around to keep me company.
While trying to take a nap, a new visitor to the camp provided some entertainment. He moved around camp without fear, although cautious in he movements. At one point he came up and was doing something on the bottom of my boot, while I was stretched out on the ground. As the afternoon wore on and we had wandered around visiting and taking pictures, the weather started to get bad. Soon we were in a full fledged thunderstorm that included rain and hail. My biggest concern was for the other three. It isn't too good to be up at high altitudes in that type of weather. Not long after the storm blew over, the three amigos got back to camp just in time to have supper.
The evening discussion was on what to do the next day. Our last day. The three amigos decided to take a twelve mile loop that would take them into some interesting back country. I didn't feel I could go that far and then hike out with a full pack the next day. As the campfire died down, so did the conversation, and tired bodies made their way to tents and a restful nights sleep. After letting some of the air out of my pillow, that's just what I got.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Are We There Yet? Father and sons backpacking trip. Day 1

The city, Pocatello, a clear beautiful morning. Now how was I to know that. My eyes were still glued shut, trying to find the button to turn off that @#$%# alarm. The sun isn't even up yet and I just want to sleep. Tired? You Bet! We spent the night before loading and weighing our backpacks and of course, stupid me, I loaded mine as though I were a pack horse. At around 50 lbs with my tripod, mine was the heaviest pack of all. Gordon took pity on me and carried my tripod. Still, over 45 lbs, what was I thinking??
I manage to haul my old, over-weight body out of bed and stumble around the house bleary eyed making sure the rest of the crew is up and preparing to hit the road. We manage to get our gear loaded and after a quick breakfast at McDonald's we are on our way. Destination-Upper Palisades Lake. We had to make a stop for fishing licenses on the way - well - two stops. The first place didn't sell them. Little did I know, until the end of the month, I had accidentally used my state credit card to buy my license.
At the trail head, we donned our packs and got under way. Did I just say donned? More like I managed to struggle into mine without falling over. Bryce and Devin led the way and most of the time were well ahead of Ryan, Gordon and I. We stopped to rest for awhile at a nice wide area. Looking around, we saw a small bird an a branch, and with binoculars, determined it was a hummingbird. I got my camera out, put on my long lens to take a picture just in time to see the bird fly off as I was raising the camera. What happened next was good for laughter all around. Believing the bird was gone for good, I started to put the camera and lens away again. I had it almost back into my pack when it came back to the same branch. Out comes the camera and lens again just in time to see it fry off again. Darn camera shy bird.
After what seemed like an eternity and on shaky legs (for me anyway) we reached Lower Palisades Lake. I was sure glad to be using my mono pod as a walking stick. It was probably the only thing keeping me upright. Bryce and Devin decided to try their hand fishing Lower Palisades while the rest of us trudged on. After all, the rate we were traveling, it wouldn't take long for them to catch up and again take the lead. The hike from Lower to Upper Palisades was, for me, the toughest part of the hike. The last 200 to 300 yard was absolutely excruciating. Selecting our camp site was determined by the best places available to pitch our tents. Me, I collapsed on a log and watched Devin and Bryce put up their tent and Gordon and Ryan put up ours.

Doe a deer, a female deer! Yes, we had camp company almost immediately. We saw the doe as we entered the camp site and it hung around eating, watching and just generally checking us out. After awhile, Devin asked if he could chase her off. With an affirmative, he ran yelling and screaming at the doe effectively chasing it out of sight into the woods. We all had a good laugh over the whole thing.
Who would believe a person with an innocent face like this would be so ---- .

Time came to go look around the lake, try a little fishing and just generally see what we had gotten ourselves into. Then it was time to try out our Wal Mart purchased dehydrated meals. Surprisingly they were very good.
Did I mention the rain? Well, it rained. Gordon didn't have a rain fly for his tent so we stretched Ryan's poncho over it to protect the interior as much as possible. Fortunately it didn't rain much.
As darkness fell, we sat around discussing what we would do the next day. Fishing in the morning was the first order of business. Then it came time for - Sleep, glorious sleep.