I have had a hankering to get a photograph that shows the valley spread out with the mountains in the background, I'm just not sure where to take it from. Most of the places that are semi easy to get to are too low, the ones that are high enough I don't want to spend the whole night there.... What to do.. What to do....
Dedicated photo time is a rare and beautiful thing in my busy life. As it turned out I got lucky Saturday and got some time behind the viewfinder. I had to take my car in for some warranty service, expecting it to take 20-30 minutes I really didn't think about taking any camera stuff along until I was running out the door and grabbed my older camera body with the lens that was on it. My 200mm f2.5 prime lens. This is not what I usually would take with me for a walkabout. The field of view is narrow, it only focuses down to 5 feet and you have to be careful with the light because you can get some pretty bad Chromatic Aberration at the larger apertures. But it is what I had, and ya dance with who ya brung.
This was right across from the dealership, a warm up shot as it were. There is a different discipline to shooting manual focus, especially with a prime. You have to try to "See" the focal length you are shooting. This is hard with a telephoto lens, your eye doesn't see that way naturally.
I almost deleted this one, I wasn't enamored of the depth of focus, I shot at f4 of 5.6 when I should have been at f11...ish... I kept it because it conveys the cluttery setting of that part of State Street. It is a street of contrasts, parts are very nice and almost ritzy and others are, um, less so.
This is purely about texture, shot from across the street, if I had my 24mm on, this shot would not have been anywhere near the same no matter how close I got.
I'm not sure why these windows were filled in, I would love to have seen the building when they were there.
I have wanted to shoot this painted wall for YEARS! The juxtaposition of the differing ages and styles of buildings was icing on the cake.
The further I walked, the more I saw that "fit" the lens. It is different to see in telephoto, when your eye naturally sees in wider angle. This is why I like to shoot primes, it forces me to look more closely. And the more closely I looked the more I saw. The little bits and pieces that together make the stuff around us, isolated and beautiful in their isolation.
On a Saturday? REALLY? Don't want anybody washing my windows on a Sat. A.M. when I am sitting around in my jammies...
This shot is why I LOVE the rendering of this lens, viewed full size, it is crisp and the textures of the statue just look... 3D. There is just something special, this focal length, and distance to subject.
I almost never take photos with people in them, but I couldn't resist. Something about his contemplative pose and the reflection tugged at me.
Again, details, details, Isolating small parts of the whole, allowing you to see the world in a new way. The symbolism of the carving on the outside of the Salt Lake Temple is always fun to look at. They took their time and paid attention to their craftsmanship.
Nothing special here, except my first flowers of spring. YAY!!!!!
Two shots stitched together, it is my wallpaper at this moment. For some reason it looks cockeyed but I swear it is straight.
Just down from Temple Square is the old ZCMI building, it is some other gosh awful big box retailers home now, but shall remain ZCMI. I have fond memories of the gingerbread houses on display every year at Christmas as a teenaged Choir Boy performing at Temple Square, then wandering downtown, singing Spike Jones inspired versions of Christmas Carols in fabulous harmony.
I made a trip to the State Capitol Gift shop to drop off some cards, turns out that the store is closed and I never heard about it! Grumble whine.
To make up for my disappointment I figured some camera therapy was in order. The clouds obliged, and I got not a spectacular shot but just a fun one. No perspective correction etc... just sharpen and adjust the color.
I had a slightly different color balance here still trying to decide which I like better.
This turned out to be one of those moments where you just see a situation and grab a quick shot, not expecting much and when you get home and play with it, you get blown away. This was a 3 shot bracket, and walk away to catch the train deal. My first rough processing looked good and has had 60+ likes on Facebook in a very short period, so I went back this morning to try to optimize the shot for sharpness so I could print it at 16x24. That shot is the one below. I took the RAW files, and processed them in ACR to TIFF files, mostly for WB correction and sharpening.
I then imported the three files into Photomatix, selected a pre-set that got me the closest to what I wanted then continued to tweak it until it looked right. Saving that file I opened it in Photoshop and adjusted the curves, levels, brightness and contrast. Then I upsized it so it could be printed larger, partially corrected the perspective, watermarked it and then saved it.
Yeah, I have been busy, so what? ;-) Life has a way of giving and taking, sometimes it gives me time to go play but not time to blog. Sometimes I have time for neither, or for both. All you can do is the important task in front of you and fill in the cracks with a little fun as you go along.
Like last weekend, I decided to take my camera for a walk. Put my 24mm on and went around the lake by my house. The clouds were cool and it was nice to walk. Who needs more than that?
I have a thing for perspective, disappearing lines etc... This was the shot I intended to take as I left.
I REALLY liked this one, it also got some rave reviews on FB.
Sometimes my photography is limited to what I can shoot with whatever I brought while waiting for the train in the morning. This is why I will never do a Photo-A-Day project. It will be lots of sunrises and the badge reader for the light rail.... Pretty sure these were with my 200mm lens.
The culmination of this wondrous weekend of photography arrived on Sunday Morning, checking out early, we followed the intermittent caravan of pilots and observers west from Bluff to the Turn off to "The Valley of the Gods" an area I had heard of, but never visited. It was spectacular, Monument Valley spectacular, but with dirt roads and no tribal restrictions on where you can go. The fact that Hot Air Ballooning was/is allowed here is mind blowingly awesome!
The sense of adventure contained in that morning is embodied in this shot for me. A string of cars headed into the desert, the sun just barely touching the not so distant buttes, off the beaten path on a dirt road. The exact opposite of what national parks have become, paved parking lots and bus's full of tourists at an overlook with a fence to keep you from getting too close to the edge. The very unfettered nature of this environment breathing joy into your soul!
As we waited for the balloonists to pick a spot to launch, we enjoyed the delicate beauty of the moon again sinking towards the western horizon in the early dawn light. I wished for more clouds to give the sky texture, but... I will take clear skies over full overcast! The rule of thirds didn't suit me here, so I broke it. I don't know if it works, but I like it for some reason.
I keep coming back to this shot, it was my wallpaper for awhile, I struggled with the red saturation, this is as close to reality as I can remember it being. Warm light on a COLD morning.
Away out there somewhere is Monument Valley, many miles away. I don't feel bad to have missed going there.
The travel of many vehicles created some ground haze behind us, it looks worse than it is due to the sun's direction relative to the camera.
I think I had a strong infatuation with the moon on this trip, I remain unapologetic about it, steadfastly, I had a LOT of fun taking these pictures. And maybe more looking at them and playing with them.
As the balloons began to inflate and launch my excitement level soared, words cannot describe the beauty of these behemoths rising above the landscape, powered only by hot air. I need to finagle a ride on one of these someday. Hello Bucket List!!!
I wish I knew who owned this balloon, I think they would be interested in having this sequence of shots.
The action began to get even more fast and furious as more and more balloons launched.
The sky filled with balloons was a magnificent sight!
This panorama is my Piece de Resistance of the whole trip. I really want to print it large, really really large!
Typical of this area, all roads lead to beauty.
It turns out that landing something that you cannot really steer very well can be a chancy proposition, landing near a road nearly miraculous! But quite likely appreciated!
Back on the pavement again, time to head back home, dusty (Yes you can see the specks on the front of my lens element.....) but enthralled with the trip.
All photographs on this blog are the personal property of Lloyd W. Shell and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States & other applicable international laws. They may NOT be displayed copied or used in any commercial way shape or form without my express written consent. With permission you may download them for use as a wallpaper. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any photo on this blog can be custom printed for you, please contact me at the above e-mail address if you are interested in purchasing any of my prints.