“There’s gold in them hills. So don’t lose heart, give the day a chance to start.”
– Ron Sexsmith
The Steens Mountain from the Alvord Desert, Oregon, October 2018. A 10 shot panorama, taken with the Nikon D800, stitched with Lightroom.
After a 7 hour drive from Portland, I got to the desert just after sundown. With no real visible light, I parked my car on the dry lake bed and pitched my tent. The sky was overcast but there was no wind, so I didn’t even bother trying to stake down my tent into the sun-baked ground (although, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to if I tried).
The sun-baked desert
Unfortunately, it didn’t stay wind free. At about 5am the winds began lifting the edge of my tent up and would’ve been blown across the desert like a giant tumbleweed if I wasn’t frantically sprawled out to hold my tent down. But it wasn’t all bad… It got me up in time to see this slice of light falling on the nearby hillsides as I was packing up my tent.
The Steens Mountain, as seen from the Alvord Desert.
All packed up…
Cracking the desert up with my dry sense of humor
Taken back in October 2015, when I camped near Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington State on my Nikon D700, f/2.8 at 14mm.
There’s a lot of things I love about gifs, but one of the things is that it allows you to capture a passage of time that you just can’t with a static image. This is 5 shots, each 20 seconds, of the Milky Way as it moves through the sky over the pacific ocean, over about a period of 2 minutes.
I don’t know if I can say enough about the night sky. People often ask whether or not it actually looked like this. And it’s hard to say “well, not quite”. Sure with it being a long exposure, it captures the milky way a little more brilliantly than may be seen with the naked eye, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not actually the way it looks. There is so much of this scene that can’t be captured by just our eyes, or even captured by a photo.
Sometimes we just assume that only the things the rods and cones can detect are what is real, but there are parts of the spectrum that aren’t visible to us but are there nonetheless.
Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, except, yes, these photos are real, and they’re spectacular.
From our trip overseas back in March. Took the Hairy Coo tour to the Scottish Highlands and got to see the Doune Castle. Yeah, that’s right, the same one seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Snagged this pic of the fellas enjoying themselves in front of the castle… just as the gate was closing.
I aligned this photoshop, and since I used a wide angle lens, you can see the difference in distortion causing the whole castle to wiggle between frames.
Just steps from my campsite at Ohanapecosh Campground in Mt. Rainier National Park, you can find the Ohanapecosh river.
Taken at dusk, back in October of 2015, using a polarizing filer. Really makes a difference to cut some reflections in the water to get that clarity for long exposure shots. Just thinking about it, and looking at this photo makes me want to get back out into the wilderness, and hear the soothing sounds of running water.
As a bonus, here’s a short timelapse of me setting up camp:
Where was one of your favorite places you’ve camped?
I took this photo 4 years ago in Paris, France, and I just found this sitting in draft form on my wordpress. (So consider this a #TBT, throwback Thursday.) The composition isn’t superb; the right side is lacking in something interesting, so it makes the image seem a little off-balance. What I really like about it is the timing. I’m impressed I was able to capture the image with with the gap in the train cars framing the fella in the back. I couldn’t tell you exactly what is happening with that dude, but hey, I like it.
I really liked that 20mm lens; it was small and compact, and at f/2.8, pretty dang fast. It does some weird distortions, so it’s not great for architecture or anything with a lot of straight lines, but you can fix some of that in post. But it’s great for discreet photos like this where you want a wide angle without standing out with a huge lens, and you can hand hold these slower shutter speeds without too much visible camera shake.