Monday, March 30, 2009

Return to a Jeep

We've had a grand total of 8 Jeeps during our marriage most of them Wranglers with a odd Cherokee thrown in; the one thing in common was that all were 2-door. We sold our last Jeep a couple years ago when we bought an F350 and Lance camper (this is what we took to Alaska last year). Didn't really miss the Jeep as the truck was a 4x4; however it was huge (by comparison) and really didn't fit on the off-road trails we have here in Southern Arizona. We sold the truck and camper shortly after returning home from Alaska and had two Ford Edge's, one 2 wheel the other an all wheel drive. We were very happy with both vehicles until we learned that we wouldn't be able to visit places like Yosemite during the winter when snow chains are needed (we found we couldn't use either chains or cables on either Edge due to the tire size). Long story short - the 2 wheel drive Edge is history having been replaced by a Jeep Unlimited 4 door Rubicon; whose color is Red Rock which we feel is very fitting.

We've had the Jeep for a little over a week now and love it. It's great to be back in a Jeep! We took it out for a 100 mile plus drive along the back roads near where we live to help break it in and thought we'd share some of the sights along the way. Don will be taking this with him next week as he visits Canyon de Chelly and takes the Jeep into the Canyon along with a Navajo guide so stay tuned to more images next week.

In the meantime enjoy today's adventure in the Tucson area where it reached the upper 70's and slightly windy at times.




We hope you enjoy the images.


Sandy & Don

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Being a landscape photographer to me means that I am always on the lookout for the unusual whether it be the location itself or colors or any combination. Sadly (for me) there just isn't that many locations that haven't been visited before and photographed.

I've had the great fortunate of visiting many locations during other than ideal conditions. I've always said the worse the weather the better it is for landscape photography. I've visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when the combination of snow and heavy cloud coverage made it all but impossible to see 10 feet in front of you when all of a sudden a small patch clears over the Canyon revealing brilliant sunlight and colors that unless you were actually there you'd swear was fake or trickery.

Sandy and I spend three mornings recently at the new View Hotel in Monument Valley. We went with no clear idea of what we wanted to capture knowing that we'd "know it when we saw it". We failed the three nights in getting any decent sunset shots, none of the images we took during the rest of the day were "note worth" and two out of the three mornings failed to produce any "color"; this was all due to a very clear cloudless sky. We did wake up to find an unexpected snow fall however the snow didn't last long.

We went to bed our last night thinking we'd not take anything of any real use until we spotted clouds forming around the horizon to the east. Now for those not familiar with the concept of seeing the horizon in the South West - that horizon can, and is often several hundred miles in the distance; so even though we could see clouds forming, it didn't mean that we'd actually have good cloud coverage by the time we had to leave. So we went to bed with our fingers crossed.

We posted an image of that morning on our last post but felt it didn't really do justice to what we saw that morning so we are including another image taken during the same timeframe. Yes the image was processed in both Capture One and Photoshop and yes the colors are real - there's no trickery involved here other than some lens cast corrections and stitching multiple images together to make a panorama image. This image was taken with a Cambo RS 1000 technical camera attached to a Phase One P45+ digital back using a 72mm lens.

As noted in a previously we are scheduled to return in the summer during our monsoon season where hopefully we'll capture either lightening over the buttes or star trails so stay in touch.



I'll be joining my very good friend Ken Doo early next month to shoot Canyon de Chelly in Northeastern Arizona just a couple hours from Monument Valley.



Thank for letting me share



Don



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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goodbye Monument Valley


Several years ago we watched a TV special that depicted a team of photographers from National Geographic that had been sent in search of surfing hippos. Seems that a group of hippos were known to walk out into the surf and lacking a better description, play or surf in the water. I remember this team had been setup on this particular beach known by the locals for having hippos on the beach and in the surf; they camped out there for several days with no hippos in sight. The team being on a limited timeframe looked like they would be forced to pack it in and leave without being able to see a single hippo. Just as they were calling it quits the hippos were spotted walking down the beach and into the crashing surf. Needless to say the crew was ecstatic.

What does this have to do with our stay in Monument Valley?

We remember that show every time we go in search of great landscape images. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get great light and other conditions from the start other times we have to wait and in rare occasions we've had to pack it in.

We arrived in Monument Valley Monday night and were greeted with howling wind and blowing dust. Tuesday morning we woke to snow and cold and Wednesday was little better with no clouds in sight. We noticed clouds forming to the east of us later last night and were hopeful that we'd have something a little better than what we experienced the past two mornings. We woke this morning to heave cloud cover and a beautiful colorful sunrise - our hippos showed up.

Thanks for letting us share our experience in Monument Valley


Sandy & Don


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video

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monument Valley Day 2-2


It's not often we post twice in one day however, we decided to do that this afternoon.

We've been very excited this afternoon after seeing clouds forming to the East; these are the first clouds we've seen since we arrived!

We also want to say a quick word about the Trading Post that's adjacent to The View Restaurant. This is the same store that's been here for as long as we've been coming here; the staff is super nice, willing to spend time explaining various items and local culture; this is a must stop whenever visiting Monument Valley.

The images were all taken either late this morning or early this afternoon.

Hope you enjoy the images.


Sandy & Don

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Monument Valley Day 2


Had a little wind last night but no snow. We did have a full moon and were luck to be able to watch it rise in the horizon behind Merrick Butte.

All the images in today's entry with the exception of the moon rise were shot this morning as we watched sunrise.

This is our last full day in Monument Valley and the View Hotel; we've enjoyed the hotel so much we've already made reservations to return this summer. We really haven't said much about the restaurant however we've eaten breakfast and lunch there and enjoyed both the food and service.

Hope you enjoy the images.
Sandy & Don

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monument Valley

We arrived in Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal Park late yesterday afternoon after driving from Tucson. Monument Valley covers Southern Utah and Northern Arizona and is on Navajo Reservation.

"This Navajo Tribal Park is part of the Colorado Plateau and is called Tse' Bii' Ndizisgaii, or Valley of the Rocks. With an elevation of 5,564 feet above sea level, Monument Valley stretches across Arizona and Utah with 91,696 acres." [Quote taken directly from the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department.]

Many a western has been filmed here and you just can't look out over the Valley and not be reminded of two of the greatest Johns - John Wayne and John Ford. Of course Chevy Chase was here as well when he filmed "Vacation".

We've loved it here since our first visit enjoying not only the stunning landscape but the very friendly people. Up till approximately six months ago the closest you could stay was a couple miles down the road at Gouldings Trading Post however that's been changed since "The View Hotel" opened for business. We suggest you visit www.monumentvalleyview.com for full details on this beautiful hotel.

We were greeted with howling winds and blowing dust which later in the evening turned into snow. Of all the times we've visited Monument Valley we've never encountered snow so this was a real treat.

We've added some images of the hotel both inside and out as well as some images of the immediate area. Most of the outside images were taken on the short Mesa Rim Trail that begins adjacent to the hotel.

We'll attempt to update the blog at least one more time before leaving.

We hope you enjoy the images.


Sandy & Don Sandy standing near a bronze eagle

Don making a call from the studio


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Capture Integration in Carmel CA

The title really should be Capture Integration's First Annual Pig in a Blanket Workshop.



I left Tucson headed for Carmel to join my very good friend Ken Doo to help him host our good friend Chris Lawery of Capture Integration. Chris traveled from Atlanta GA bringing the new Phase One P65 to show us and put it though its paces thinking that if we could find any flaws no one else can; the only flaw we found was that Chris took it back with him when he left.
Mariah, Ken, Don & Chris
The core group of photographers were Chris Lawery, Ken Doo, Mariah Carle, and myself. We were joined at different times by Paul Indman and Scott Hoerner as we photographed in and around the Big Sur area. Actually we photographed from San Francisco South into Big Sur in all conditions from light drizzle, cold blowing wind right off the water to standing on the rocks on the beach without one incident of failure.

The core list of equipment used is rather extensive including approximately 3 Phase One P45+ and 1 P65 digital backs, 3 Phase One 645 AFD III bodies, a Horseman, 2 Cambo RS 1000 and the list could go one for more. At one point as everyone was together shooting at Pheifer Beach we had 3 Cambo RS 1000's, 3 Phase One bodies and at least 1 Canon.

We worked hard, getting up at 530 in the morning and not getting to bed till 1230 in the morning for most of the time we were all there; poor Chris was up more than 24 hours the day he arrived. This of course doesn't mean we didn't play just as hard!

There are so many people I'd like to thank for showing up, sharing, working hard and playing hard that I'm afraid that if I start naming folks I might miss someone. So, thanks to everyone for making this the most (legal) fun I've had in a very long time.

Not withstanding what I just said, I will name two individuals that I think must be named; Dave Gallagher, owner of Capture Integration whose leadership instills the quality of customer service that Capture Integration is well known for. And Jack Flesher of GETDPI who stopped by and not only shared breakfast with us but taught an impromptu class in Capture One; thank you very much Jack - who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

I went to this thinking that while I'd have a great time I probably would not come away with any decent images, meaning none that I'd put in our gallery; I found within the first 24 hrs I was wrong.

I've attached some images from the trip and I hope you enjoy them. Ken and Chris both are in the process of adding their thoughts in their blogs so I invite you to check on their websites.

Did I have fun? No I had a Ball! Did I learn anything? Of course.

Thanks for letting me share

Don

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

View from Baker Beach
Pheiffer Beach
Carmel Mission
Group Shot
Fun Shots - compliments of Ken Doo & his trusty G9


Sandy & I are off to beautiful Monument Valley next week so keep checking back for updates.

Thanks again

Don