Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lingering Light

After watching the amazing light display in the last post I lingered in the salt dunes as the golden light ended and the light started to fade.  The fantastic light on the Guadalupes was something I always hope for but rarely see.  I hoped that at least some of my image captures were going to be good ones.

Turning to the west I hoped for a great orange sky but while there was some color it was not nearly as neat as the light I had seen earlier.  The light in the east returned to flat like it had been earlier in the evening.

Still I lingered on the salt dunes looking for possible images.

Finally as the light was almost gone I set up for a last image of the mountains.  It was so dark to the east I could not effectively focus the camera, not even with live view.  So I turned west and was able to set a focus point.  Turned back east toward the Guads and started a long exposure.  4+ minutes at f/11 to be precise it was so dark.  
The image that I got was amazing and is the top post here. What was very dark to me was still getting wonderful directional light that was peaking in from the west.  

That lingering light made the image and the day.  So, stay out longer, linger around the edges of the day.  You just might be rewarded.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Your Own Luck

Landscape photography is something where you are at the mercy or whims of nature.  We depend on light and weather for the right conditions for our photography.  However sometimes you can not just get lucky but make your own luck.

I awoke in the Guadalupe Mountains to cold rain.  The National Weather Service was calling for rain and even snow.  The NPS was prepared to have to close Guadalupe Pass they expected so much snow.

Rain and 30+mph winds were not really conducive to outdoor photography so I decided to drive up to Carlsbad Caverns.  You see it is always 56 degrees in the caverns!  I got there, in the rain and, of course, chose the walk in tour.  It was raining so much they were taking your ticket in the building and letting you walk down on your own.  I bundled up my rain gear and made the walk down to the natural entrance.

Within a few yards you are out of the wind and rain.  Soon you enter the dark and constant cave temp.

I spent a few hours in the caverns in the comfort of the constant 56 degrees.  I turned some poor weather into a good morning.

Then as I left the caverns the rain had stopped.  The snow never happened and we only had rain.  As I was driving back to the Guads it was thick overcast.  Then I noticed something.  Just visible over the peaks I thought I saw a slight patch of blue to the west.

I instantly knew what could happen.  The front was breaking up ever so slightly in the west.  It just might be enough to get a sunset.  Also with it being so overcast it was likely to be an epic sunset.

So west I drove out to the edge of the salt dunes west of the park.

Sure enough there was a small bad of clear sky in the northwest.  Everything else was still thick overcast and the light looked flat.  I was not sure if the gap in the clouds was far enough south for the sun to pop out in the last 5 minutes of daylight but I hoped it was.

I waited.

Then luck happened as the sun just caught the corner of the gap and bathed the land in amazing light.

I took image after image and followed the narrow band of light across the desert for five glorious minutes of light.

Nature made it happen but I read the right signs to be in the right place at the right time. I had a day with 8 hours of cold windy rain and then caught one of the most epic 10 minutes of photography by being in the right spot.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Desert Mountains of West Texas

The desert mountain country of far west Texas is a photographers dream location.  Far from big cities and crowds, it really is a photographers paradise.  Our two national parks, Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains are out here.  However, like west Texas in general, they seem to be off the beaten path for visitors, let along photographers.  Get away from the parks and it seems this is a big empty land.

I guess that means more of this big country for me to explore.

West of the Guadalupe Mountains is the long road to El Paso.  I often think about this as Marty Robbins country as it certainly is what he sang about in El Paso.  The wild west Texas wind still blows here.

The mountains, high desert grasslands, salt flats, salt dunes, sand dunes, etc are incredibly scenic and I often drive the roads here to see what views the light will bring.

Here are a couple of images of that big country.  On top we have the clouds riding high over the rocky slopes of the Patterson Hills.  The long panorama is looking across salt dunes to the distant and inaccessible Black Mountains.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rock Land

A land of rocks and boulders covering the desert floor in the far off corners of the New Mexico desert.  

One of the things I love about the deserts of west Texas and New Mexico is the number of out of the way, off the map, cool places you can find.  This boulder field is an example of those cool places.  Get off the Interstate, slow down and start to look and you start to see things like this.  Amazing views and places that few others will see because they move too quickly through life.

So slow down.  Look around.  You just might see something cool.