Thursday, July 21, 2016

Great Salt Lake in Winter

In January I had the opportunity to be in Salt Lake City for a couple of nights.  Me being me, I took my camera and tripod with the hopes of getting out to the Great Salt Lake for a sunset or sunrise.

As luck would have it I got to do both!

Since I was going to be staying a little north of SLC I thought getting out to Antelope Island would be a good destination.  Boy did I pick the right spot.

The island is in the Great Salt Lake and a state park.  I had visited once before during gnat season at the end of April now I was going back with snow on the ground.

As I made the drive across the causeway road to the island I entered a winter wonderland.  The view toward the island across patches of snow, water, and maybe some ice too toward the mountainous island and distant ranges beyond looked almost like those images you see from Antarctica.  It certainly was a far different look than I had seen before.

I only had about an hour to sunset and so headed out to an area I knew had a view west and north across a bay with more mountains.

I got there and to the lakes edge with just a few minutes to sunset.  I had brought my Sony A7R and adapted Nikon 20, 50, and 100mm lenses as it makes a very small kit.

I worked with all three.

The light was bright but there were in essence zero clouds in the sky.  So I stated wide and then as the sunset went to a narrower view.  The view north had some great compositional elements and the longer lens and polariser to help make the scene pop some.

It was a good way to end a day.

I was up early the next morning and decided to go back.  I arrived with the stars and moon still in the sky and went back to the same area.  It would put the mountains between me and the sunrise but I liked the location and hoped it would be good.

At first I got a few images lit by the moon.  Then as the night faded I got a few more images.  I stayed there until the light was getting closer to sunrise and the clear sky looked like I had already seen the best light.

I drove across the island to see the view back toward SLC with some low clouds and fog in the sky and I was able to set up a quick composition as the sun was rising over the mountains lighting up the fog into a great scene.

Shortly thereafter I was on the road out of the park with a full day of activities to accomplish.

A sunset and a sunrise.  Neither very long but enough to make a few nice images and have a great experience.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Llano River

After 4 great days in Big Bend with snow, the Milky Way, and fall color, I decided to do something a little different for the way home.  My trips to BBNP are usually a cannonball drive west to the park (ten hours), a week in the park, and a cannonball drive home (again ten hours).  So I left Big Bend mid-morning on Dec 30th with a plan to explore some areas along the drive and a plan to stay over on the Llano River.

I left the park and started a meandering path from Marathon that took me down several lonely roads as I moved east and north.  It was scenic and empty.  My kind of road.

Eventually we crossed the Pecos and made our way up to I-10.  From there it was a quicker drive late in the day to Junction and the Llano River, getting there just before sunset.

There along the river I was just able to catch a sunset view looking up the river.

There were a few clouds in the sky, but I also hoped there might be a few stars too.  So I went about changing over from the daytime landscape set up to the nighttime astro-photography kit.

After it was dark I was able to make out some of the Milky Way in the west and then I was able to make out the fainter ORION arm of the galaxy rising in the east.

I spent a couple of hours taking images until it was time to call it a night and get some sleep.

One thing I did notice is that I no longer had the dark sky of Big Bend.  Looking to the east the lights of Austin were lighting up the clouds and it is still over 100 miles away.  It would seem like a dark sky spot if you came there from Austin but compared to Big Bend.... it was way too bright.

So these were my last few images from the trip and I would take off in the predawn light on the 31st to be home before lunch.  A great trip even if it was a quick trip.  It already made me ready to get back to Big Bend in the spring.