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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Clearing Skies - 27047

As I headed home from Mt. Lemmon, I passed what seemed like an endless stream of vehicles charging up Catalina Highway now that the road was open to the general public and Ski Valley was in full operation.
I made several stops on the way back down to image the mountain slopes dressed in their cloaks of white, gray and blue.
This image was one of the last I made, taken from the parking pull off between Thimble Peak and Seven Cataracts Vistas looking towrds Tucson.

Canon 20D - 1/15th second, 18mm @ f/ 22, ISO 100

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ice Crystal Sky

Going back to the afternoon, here is a shot at the peak of Mt. Lemmon looking south. Some light snow is still falling, but most of the obscuration is due to extremely fine ice crystals floating in the air. The layer of cloud isn't very thick as witnessed by the disc of the sun starting to become apparent again.

The domes, from left to right are, the Astronomy Camp 12 inch LX-200, the Korea Astronomical Observatory, a 1.0-m robotic telescope operated from Korea, the defunct U.S. military radar geodesic dome, the Jamison 20 inch telescope, the Jet Propulsion Lab's 10 inch "atmospheric visibility monitoring" telescope and the 1 meter telescope. The Catalina Sky Survey's 1.5-m (60 inch) telescope is behind to the right.

Canon 20D - 1/3000th second, 18mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 100

Rime Ice & First Quarter Moon

Before the sun set, the rime ice covered branches on the trees were glowing white. The moon, actually 9 days old tonight, highly contrasted with the crystalline blue sky.

Canon 20D - 1/125th second, 18mm @ f/ 13, ISO 800

Thursday, December 28, 2006

And a lovely Sunset

Several minutes later and a bit to the left of the image below, the landscape is starting to take on that wonderful orangy-red color. This sure beats the blue-grayness of the rest of the day.
More snow should be moving in later tonight, but this brief respite offered an elevation of my spirits...

Canon 20D - 1/1000th second, 18mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 100

Clearing Skies...

... if only for a few hours.

Just before sunset the skies above Mt. Lemmon cleared and offered this spectacular view to the north west.

Canon 20D - 1/250th second, 18mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 100

No Observing Tonight!

I still have plenty of images from the Grand Canyon and Red Rocks State Park in Sedona to post, but I've taken a bit of a break due to work & holidays...

For my last run of the year, the weather forecast was for snow... and boy has it been snowing. Almost a foot of the cold white stuff up here on the peak of Mt. Lemmon and more to come. We even had thundersnow last night, which is a snowstorm so powerful that it produces lightning. The sparks sure were flying up here last night!

The snow had paused for about 30 minutes when I took this image, giving the crews plowing a bit of a chance to catch up.

(Whooops! As witnessed by the images above, the sky did clear before sunset and I did get to observe. At least part of the night!)
Canon 20D - 1/1500th second, 21mm @ f/ 3.5, ISO 100

Monday, December 18, 2006

The View from Maricopa Point - B&W

Same details as below

The View from Maricopa Point

Continuing west we stopped at Maricopa Point. Late afternoon shadows are starting to grow longer.

Canon 20D - 1/250th second, 27mm @ f/ 8, ISO 200

The West Side of Yavapai Point

During the winter months, Hermit Road, west of Grand Canyon VIllage is open to private vehicles. Jim and I stopped at a few of the overlooks as we headed west looking for a place to photograph sunset from. The first overlook along Hermit Road is Trailview. It provides a good view of Bright Angel Trail that descends from the village along with Yavapai Point, where we spend most of the first half of the day.
In th eupper right corner you can also see some of the roofs of the buildings at Canyon View Information Plaza.

Canon 20D - 1/90th second, 55mm @ f/ 9,5, ISO 200

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Earth's Shadow - Powell Point

Jumping ahead a number of hours, Jim and I shot the second sunset of our trip to the Canyon at Powell Point, west of Grand Canyon Village. After the sun set, we were getting redy to pack thiings up and head back to the hotel when Jim suggested we stay a while and see how the colors developed.
We had noticed the night before that the Earth's shadow was visible in the sky *before* the Sun had set. Usually a very uncommon event.
Jim made the correct call, for as the twilight drew us deeper into night, the Earth's shadow rose higher in the sky and the rocks of the canyon walls became more saturated in the fading light.

Canon 20D - 3 seconds, 14mm @ f/ 22, ISO 200

The North Rim from Yavapai Point B&W

Canon 20D - 1/350th second, 70mm @ f/ 9.5, ISO 200

On the Edge at Yavapai Point

A woman enjoys the view and the several thousand foot drop off at Yavapai Point. Jim and I had set up where this woman is now standing when two men came down the stairs asking us if they could get in before we blocked the view.


The man who asked was guiding his friend. His hands covering his eyes. The one guiding explained his friend had never seen the canyon before and he wanted to have him experience it for the first time right at the railing.

Jim and I stepped aside.

I have to agree that this would be a truly exhilarating first view of the canyon.

Canon 20D - 1/250th second, 35mm @ f/ 9.5, ISO 200

Friday, December 15, 2006

Honey, not so CLOSE!

A couple approaches the edge of the rim to get a better view to the bottom of the canyon. If you look at the larger image cafefully you can see Bright Angel Trail heading out to Plateau Point, about 3000 feet below the rim, which overlooks the inner gorge.
(Hint, look to the lower right of the tree)

Canon 20D - 1/45th second, 10mm @ f/22, ISO 200

Bright Angel Canyon, Late Morning B&W

Same image and details as below

Bright Angel Canyon, Late Morning

A view across the canyon and up a major side canyon known as Bright Angel.

Canon 20D - 1/125th second, 70mm @ f/9.5, ISO 200

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jim Shoots the North Rim

While we hiked along the Rim Trail, we tried to pick different locations to shoot from. As I was finishing up my set of exposures, Jim walked out on to this outcrop.
Once his tripod was set up and he started taking snaps, I was struck by need to recreate the classic image of 19th century landscape photographers at work.

Now if I can just get Jim to start carrying a large format view camera and a heavy wood tripod...

Canon 20D - 1/45th second, 133mm @ f/ 22, ISO 200

Rim Trail 25220

Canon 20D - 1/30th second, 28mm @ f/ 27, ISO 200

Moonset over Maricopa Point

Canon 20D - 1/30th second, 37mm @ f/ 22, ISO 200

Rim Trail Moonset 25219

The next morning Jim & I headed back into the park and hiked up to the Rim Trail from the lot at Park Headquarters. This view is to the west with Maricopa Point visible through the trees. The waning gibbous moon can be seen in the sky.

Canon 20D - 1/15th second, 43mm @ f/ 32, ISO 200

Grandview Point Sunset 25178

Canon 20D - 1/90th second, 214mm @ f/ 4.5, ISO 100

Grandview Point Sunset 25150

Canon 20D - 1/60th second, 108mm @ f/ 13, ISO 100

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grandview Point Sunset 25129

A view little further to the left from the image below and a bit later. The shadows are getting longer and the texture of the north wall more palpable.

Canon 20D - 1/3rd second, 55mm @ f/ 38, ISO 100

Grandview Point 25116

After getting several images from the rim, I followed Jim down a trail to some outcrops 10 or so meters lower. Here we spent the next 50 minutes watching and photographing the play of light and shadow on the canyon walls and the Colorado far below.

Canon 20D - 1/4th second, 10mm @ f/ 22 (10 - 22mm lens), ISO 400

View to the West from Grandview Point

This is the location that 19th century visitors to the canyon would come to. Jim and I were searching for a location to enjoy and photograph the sunset from at the end of our first day and we "settled" on this location.
It was rather cold this afternoon with the winds kicking up some. There is a little snow visible down in the canyon in the shaded locations. We had hoped for a bit more snow on the ground to add interest to the scenes we shot, but the canyon never fails to provide great images, with snow or without.

Canon 20D - 1/2 second, 22mm @ f/ 27 (10 - 22mm lens), ISO 100

The North Rim from Lipan Point

Looking North-Northwest across the canyon to the North Rim

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 22mm @ f/ 22 (10 - 22mm lens), ISO 400

Lipan Point - Self Portrait

I usually make an effort not to get even my shadow in my image, but it was impossible to accomplish in this instance. The Sun was low and almost directly behind me.
Here we are looking upstream again and the outcrop directly in front of the viewer is Navajo Point.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 18mm @ f/ 22, ISO 400

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The North Rim 25003 B&W

The same image as the one below, processed for black & white.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 22mm @ f/ 22, ISO 400

The North Rim 25003

This shot was either from Navajo Point or the next overlook west, Lipan. If I had to guess. I'd say Lipan.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 22mm @ f/ 22, ISO 400

The Colorado River from Navajo Point 24992

The Sun is a little lower and the shadows are starting to become more defined. Tis view is downstream.

Canon 20D - 1/4th, 70mm @ f/ 22, ISO 100

The Colorado River from Navajo Point 24988

A closer view of the meander and rapids visible from Navajo Point

Canon 20D - 1/6th, 70mm @ f/ 22, ISO 100

Monday, December 11, 2006

Navajo Point 24959

The same view as the previous image, adjusted for Black & White

Canon 20D - 1/3rd, 24mm @ f/ 22, ISO 100

Navajo Point - Another View of the Colorado

Aiming the camera a little to the right at Navajo Point yields this view. A nice meander of the Colorado with a bit of rapids is visible from this perspective.

Canon 20D - 1/3rd, 24mm @ f/ 22, ISO 100

Navajo Point - First View of the Colorado

After leaving Desert View and heading west, the next outlook is at Navajo Point. This is the first time you can glimpse the river far below.
The view is similar to the one from Desert View looking west. A small section of the Colorado River is visible.

Canon 20D - 1/4th, 27mm @ f/ 27, ISO 100

Grand Canyon @ Desert View 24912

Here's another shot from the overlook at Desert View looking to the west, downstream.

Canon 20D - 1/45th, 10mm @ f/ 19, ISO 800

Grand Canyon @ Desert View 24850

The morning after our stops at Montezuma's Castle and Sunset Crater, Jim & I entered the Grand Canyon Natoinal Park at the east gate and spent two days photographing along the South Rim. Our first stop in the park was Desert View. This first view is out over the widening canyon looking upstream.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 20mm @ f/ 22, ISO 400

Montezuma's Castle 24695

One last shot of the Castle itself.

Canon 20D - 1/90th, 14mm @ f/ 11, ISO 200

Montezuma's Castle 24635

On our four day trek to northern Arizona, I took over 1000 images. I'll add several images to the blog every time I update it since I have so many beautiful shots. Considering the subject matter, it is hard not to get beautiful shots! Here is another view of Montezuma's Castle, using a borrowed 10-22mm lens.

Canon 20D - 1/30th, 12mm @ f/ 16, ISO 200

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Arizona's Highest Peak

While it doesn't look very imposing here, Mt. Humphreys is over 12,000 tall. Like most of the peaks around Flagstaff, Humphreys is a volcano. This image was made just outside Sunset Crater National Monument. The open field in the foreground and Mt. Humphreys are both illuminated by the nearly full moon.

Canon 20D - 10mm @ f/6.7, ISO 400

Friday, December 08, 2006

Moon Crater Salute

My friend Jim is an Apollo-phile, or a student of the Apollo Lunar Missions of the 1960s & 70s, and of manned spaceflight in general. One place that we stopped at was a "Cinder Lake" southwest of Sunset Crater. During the 60s, explosives were set off in this area and another nearby site to form simulated lunar craters. The Apollo astronauts trained at these locations as it was thought to be rather "moon-like".

Jim is seen here jumping into the air and saluting next to one of the larger craters so I could snap his image in a pose reminiscent of shots made by various moonwalkers. Sunset Crateris the hill seen next to Jim in the distance.

Canon 20D - 1/250th, 14mm @ f/ 4, ISO 200

Sunset Crater at night

After spending an hour or so at Montezuma's Castle, Jim and I headed up to Flagstaff. The area around Flag has a number of volcanos and cinder cones. The most recent to erupt, Sunset Crater northeast of town, was created about 1000 years ago. About an hour after sunset, the moon, one day after full, rose and illuminated the eastern slope of Sunset Crater. Stars and the Milky Way are visible, but the moon, light from Flagstaff and lingering twilight kept the sky a little bit bright.

Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 20mm @ f/ 1.8, ISO 400

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Montezuma's Castle 24649

Another view of the Castle, a little further down the path toward Beaver Creek. The 10mm lens really accentuates the curves in the rock strata and a polarizing filter was used to make the sky this dark blue.

Canon 20D - 1/60th, 10mm @ f/ 13, ISO 200

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Montezuma's Castle 24633

My friend Jim and I are on a short photo-safari to a number of sites in northern Arizona. Our first stop was Montezuma's Castle, a native cliff dwelling overlooking Beaver Creek near Camp Verde.

Canon 20D - 1/60th, 14mm @ f/ 16, ISO 200

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shadow Study 16663 #1

Canon 20D - 180th, 86mm @ f/ 11, ISO 100

Monday, December 04, 2006

Two more natives

This will be the last butterfly shot for a while. It was taken, like all of the recent ones, at TBG on November 18th, but this one is outside at their butteryfly garden.

Canon 20D - 1/500th, 300mm @ f/ 5.6, ISO 100

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cristate Saguaro

This is the crest of the specimen Cristate Saguaro at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. There is no definitive answer as to why some saguaros grow a crest like this one. This rare variation might be caused by genetic mutations, lightning strikes, insects damage or any number of other causes. It does make for an interesting change to these cacti that only grow in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and northern Mexico.

Canon 20D – 1/350th, 70mm @ f/ 8, ISO 100

Friday, December 01, 2006

Self Portrait 24587

At some point every photogrpaher tries to take at least a few self portraits in a mirror. Here's mine. This is the same image that I'm using for my blog profile pic.

Canon 20D - 1/60th, 20mm @ f/ 1.8, ISO 100