Friday, February 6, 2015

Warner Valley Sand Dunes at Sunrise

warner valley dunes at sunrise
Warner Valley just outside St. George is a beautiful desert jewel
Warner Valley sand dunes is a hidden location just outside St. George.  Local no about it although I have not seen it in a guide book nor are there any signs on the roads to this destination.  It is a small gem but easy to reach and beautiful in the morning light.  From downtown, it takes nearly 20 minutes to reach this gorgeous location.  I love living in southern Utah!
warner valley sand dunes and bush
Warner Valley Sand Dune Sunrise

Marching Men of Arches National Park

marching men sand dune landscape photography
Marching Men:  Arches National Park
Marching men are located in the northwest corner of Arches National Park.  This area is also called Klondike Bluffs and is located at the end of the dirt road.  The drive up to that point is relatively easy.  A hike is then necessary to reach the marching men.  This takes about one hour of hiking (one way).
There is a climb just north of the marching men that has quite a bit of sand as well as vegetation and rock.  These are all choices for foreground subjects when composing a photo.  With the sun creeping low, the shadows across this sand dune caught my eye.

A word on camera settings:  the marching men are are in the distance, so a small aperture of f/16 and hyperfocal distance were used.  I shot two different configurations:  each as the 3 largest "men".  The horizontal was shot at 32mm focal length.  The vertical at 45mm focal length.  You may notice that the higher focal length brings the sand dunes closer to the distant "men".

If you want to get away from the crowd in Arches National Park, this hike is highly recommended.
Marching men arches national park
Marching Men photograph at Sunset

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Arches Sunset of Windows Section

Utah arches national park sunset
Arches Windows Section Panoramic Sunset
Having only one sunset in Arches National Park, I thought long and hard about which location to choose.  This was near the end of my trip to Moab and I felt weary.  I'd previously debated between the Windows section, delicate arch, and the marching men.  Perhaps choosing the easy way out, I decided to shoot a panorama of the Windows section.  However I did not simply take one picture and call it quits.  Instead, it shows the location far away from the Windows and set up my 300mm f/2.8 lens on a heavy tripod.  Shooting quickly but deliberately level at sunset, I captured more than 20 images from the left to right.  The golden hour was truly beautiful.

At home, I stitched these together to create my most successful and beautiful panorama.  The power of a panorama comes out when these are viewed very large.  I encourage you to visit my website where you can see this in original size.  It's huge and you'll have to slide down and around in your browser to see it all.  You will see people under Turret Arch and climbing around North Window.  You will see amazing details.  This panorama allows you to see the BIG picture and then zoom into the small details as much as you like.

Panorama in original size.  (Give it several seconds to load)

Desert Waterfall Near Moab

millcreek canyon waterfall moab utah
Desert Waterfall near Moab, Utah
As readers of my blog can attest, I love finding desert waterfalls.  Consequently I searched for a waterfall when visiting Moab, Utah.  I didn't take too long to discover Millcreek Canyon.  This little gem appears to be a local favorite and a wonderful swimming hole in the summertime.  When I visited, several hikers were going up and down the canyon but I did not find any other photographers.  It took several compositions but enjoyed the one above because of the submerged rocks, deep pool, surrounding canyon cliffs and the waterfall itself.  If you're in the Moab area,a short hike up Millcreek canyon leads to this wonderful wonderful.