Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Small Format

I had another article published this week. It is about using a point and shoot camera to photograph the landscape. I call it SMALL FORMAT.

The point and shoot is very much the opposite of large format and even very different than using a DSLR. I felt that Small Format was both an apt title as well as a fun way to say it.

The article is on Naturescapes, which is an online magazine and all around excellent site for the nature/landscape photographer.

Here is a link to the story: Small Format Article

Please take a look and see if you agree with the results a point and shoot camera can give.

Here are a couple of images from my small format camera-the excellent Panasonic LX3.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Depths of Closed Canyon

Hidden in the far corner of the Big Bend Country are many canyons. The Rio Grande has carved several big and famous ones. However, there are some other canyons that maybe do not get as much notice, mainly because Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas are all so big and spectacular.

Closed Canyon is one of those lesser known canyons. It is a narrow side canyon that empties into the Rio Grande at Colorado Canyon. It also helps that it is in Big Bend Ranch State Park and not Big Bend National Park.

It is a spectacular little canyon that is well worth seeking out. It is often 200-300 ft deep and at places only 10-15 ft wide. It is almost a Utah like slot canyon.

The access is actually pretty easy, at a marked stop along the River Road between Lajitas and Presidio. A short walk puts you right into the base of it. From there it is a rocky and sandy walk.

It is also ever changing-no two visits will be the same.

The flash floods that race through here on occasion bring constant new features and obstacles to experience.

What is flat and sandy one trip may be gouged down to rock and a water obstacle to traverse your way around.

Some of those obstacles can be difficult to climb around. The rock has often been worn slick from the force of the water-even if its dry. Several chutes require climbing skills and one pour-off is a good 15 ft and requires a gear, a rope, and a rappel.

It is also a great place to be a photographer!

Since it is a canyon there is no need to be there in the dark, and mid day is just as good as the morning. That usually means I can photograph in the morning, catch breakfast, drive out to Closed Canyon and do it in mid-morning.

Here are a few views of it to give you a taste of what it is like. The orange walls can pick up nice colors when sunlight is bouncing off the top part into the depths of the canyon. The texture looks great in monochrome too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Santa Elena Canyon

A highlight of Big Bend not to be missed is sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon. In fact it may be THE highlight of the park. There are many fantastic things to see in this park but this is my favorite.

To stand at this huge 1500' tall wall and look into this narrow canyon that the Rio Grande has carved through it is an amazing way to start the day.

On my last trip I started very early in the morning, as in I was at the canyon by 4am. I wanted to get there in the dark and to try to light paint the walls. I set my tripod up, framed up the canyon, and got this first image.

It was just what I was hoping for.
Later after it got closer to sunrise other people started to show up, so I was glad I started early!

When the sun did rise it lit up the canyon walls in that incredible orange glow. I made this second image then so I could capture the most orange wall as I could.

Then after enjoying the sunrise, you should never miss the hike into the canyon itself. It is not a long hike, not even a mile before the trail runs out and you are left staring at huge rock walls and the river at one of the narrowest spots in the canyon.

After doing that hike and looking upstream at that narrow spot I started to walk out and that
was when I made the last image here. This is about halfway out where I could be on a rock and get a great view of the river, the huge walls of the canyon and make out the distant Chisos Mountains.

What a great way to start the day.

And if you ever get to Big Bend put it on your must see list!