I'm now selling my photos!!!

I now host galleries of my favorite photos @ www.lloydshell.zenfolio.com Feel free to surf over there to see photo's that may have drifted into the darkest reaches of the archives here on Blogspot.

I also have begun selling my photographs when requested, I can handle most sizes and finishes either locally or via my on-line printing service.

Thanks for looking!


Monday, March 12, 2012

San Rafael Swell: Slots and HooDoo's!

I have a very good friend who has been a partner in adventure before, who has never been to the Goblin Valley area, but has been wanting to go for a long time. We finally decided to make a date months in advance when he did not have any performances scheduled. We succeeded and finally got to go. FINALLY!!!!!

We had to make it a bit of a whirlwind due to scheduling, but we made it work. We left Salt Lake City @ 3:00 am, and made the Goblin Valley area just at sunrise. Our first stop was to do some canyoneering. Which means we were going to hike in narrow slot canyons, wiggle around and over boulders, and generally try to get sore and scraped without breaking anything important.

We started with the Ding-Dang loop. These are not the prototypical slot canyons that twist and wind for hundreds of feet with nice sandy floors. These are a little more... athletic. They were also a blast! I had not been able to finish the full loop before due to lack of light and equipment when we got to the scrambly bits. We had to turn around and go back whence we had come. Determined to make it this time.

It was too cold with too poor of light to get much going up Ding, this is up at the mouth "Behind the Reef" the hill is the Ding-Dang-Dome. Just love saying that.

Also the Ding-Dang-Dome, you pass between the slope to the left and the dome to drop into Dang.

This is where I got stuck before. I have to say that despite what the guidebooks say, this really needs a rappel to get down easily. Fortunately there is an anchor, a single anchor. I prefer doubles.

This next obstacle was somewhat unexpected, there was little water prior to this and I did not expect to have to deal with any. sigh. This is where canyoneering gets athletic, this technique is called "Stemming". You put your butt on one side and feet on the other and just scoot along inches at a time. This is especially fun when you have several thousand dollars of camera equipment in your backpack and didn't think to bring a dry bag. Got over it OK though, it is fairly akward to do this with your backpack behind you so it has to go in front... also awkward.

Getting around the ripples on the side wall is rather interesting as well. Or should I say challenging?

Back to a more photographic mien. I really was arrested by the textures and shapes in this spot. I loved the strong diagonals with the crossing shadow. Just... LIKE it.

The exit from Dang. This is just down from the wet spots, and it was very nice to be back in the sun. It was rather chilly down in the bottom.

Next we moved on to Little Wild Horse Canyon. I have been there many times and focused more on just enjoying rather than shooting pictures. Did have to repeat this shot though, it always amazes me the amount of gravel and sand that gets washed out. The first time I went there it was easier to go over.

After going through and around behind the reef, again, and descending Bells Canyon, we sat tiredly, rested then went into Goblin Valley proper. I love this place, you can just sit and let your imagination run wild. The shapes and humps take on life and character and become fodder for your imagination. It is even better in moonlight! ;-)

I never get tired of the color or the textures. The eroding ground is simply striking when seen in the right light.

I intentionally like to convert some to B&W, thus making the photos even more about the shape and texture. It is really hard to take a bad shot down here.

This is a jazzed up frame I played with. I think I sorta like it, and sorta don't. Will see if it grows on me. What do you think?

I saw Snoopy here, could just be my imagination.

Or maybe a whale?

The sky and the red rock are stunning to behold, and amazingly can become familiar enough that you stop thinking about it. Until you look at your pictures again.

Wild Horse Butte in the distance dominates the skyline, though less so in an ultrawide angle shot like this.

These two shots were processed quite differently, the second with much less saturation and contrast. Though it is somewhat washed out relative to what my eyes see, it pleases me nonetheless.

Hope you enjoyed the trip.



On my way home from attempting to see the geese at the Delta Snow Goose Festival (don't ask) I traveled through the small and dying mining town of Eureka, UT. Though the light was not exactly where I wished it to be, I still was yearning to take the opportunity to exercise my creative muscles a bit and get out to stretch my legs.

I found some fun details and textures in the downtown area.

Have I mentioned that I love painted buildings? Raptures for them really.

A while back on of the online forums I participate in had a padlock thread. Took this just in case it ever gets resurrected. That and I liked the colors.

The textures of this rusting truck and the tire chains kinda made my heart warm.

This house was a lot of fun, unused, but at one point it looks to have been a beautiful home with some lovely details. Would be fun to have seen it in its glory.

A few more with the K85mm f1.8

Never been much of a portrait guy, don't have the patience or inclination. But seeing as this lens is a portrait lens.... anyway, this young lady is one of the CNA's at my work, and a friend. I grabbed her one afternoon when things were slow and took a few shots in the break room at work. I was quite pleased with the results. Just wish I was better at critical focus...

This is more of my usual type of shot. Mountains, clouds etc.... The 85 performed reasonably well. Still not convinced that I need this lens. Though when has that stopped a camera nut?

Flowers with a borrowed lens...

For most Pentax users, but not all, the lure of using older manual focus lenses is part of the reason to use that brand of camera. I have a reasonable collection of older glass that I truly enjoy using, the feeling of being in greater control of all aspects of the operation of the camera helps me feel more in touch with what I am doing.

A while back a friend posted a review of a rare Pentax Lens: the SMC 85mm f1.8, manual focus, manual setting of the aperture on the lens ring. Old School. This is a lens I had long coveted to complete my desired set of manual focus glass. I asked him to have the first shot at it when he decided to sell, and when he got ready he sent it to me. He is a bad man.

Anyway, I decided to take a few test shots under semi controlled lighting and see what I could see. Not being sure that I can afford to buy it, not that he is not asking a very reasonable price, I like to test these kinds of things out.

First I wanted to see how near out of focus rendering was. Having bought my wife some flowers shortly before that I thought it would make a good opportunity to test it.

f1.8 wide open, yes I focused on a dead flower, I liked the texture and contrast to help me see sharpness. It is fairly sharp when not stopped down.

f2.8 things are definitely getting better but there is less isolation of the subject, but perfectly acceptable for a portrait setting, if you can nail the focus.

f4, more sharp, deeper depth of field.

f5.6, this would likely be my street shooting aperture, reasonable DOF at less than closest focus and as sharp as the lens gets.

f8, definitely sharp but not nearly the isolation of the subject. Overall I think the out of focus blur or "bokeh" is really quite good, as is this lenses reputation.

This is on my full set of extension tubes and either f8 or 11, Reasonably close focus and decently sharp. But not as sharp as my DFA 100mm f2.8 WR Macro.

After fiddling with the 85 it was time to get serious about the flowers with the aforementioned macro lens. I love the light in my entryway for shooting flowers, soft but not too soft.

The red was tough to get right but I think I did OK without totally overcooking the shadows when I brought them up.

The sun came out from behind some clouds and made this a little more harsh, but I love the color.

Focusing on just the edge of a flowers petal is really hard with your lens at f2.8 and fairly close focus. I may not have gotten it exactly right, but it still ain't bad.

A bit more stopped down and things become easier, I love the swirls.