Sunday, May 30, 2010

Potash Road, Moab UT (Part One)

The on-line definition according to Wikipedia of "Potash" is "..the common name of potassium carbonate and various mined and manufactured salts that contain the element potassium in water-soluble form..."

Potash Road (UT 279) begins 4.1 miles (6.6 km) north of Moab off Highway 191. Going about 2.7 miles (4.3 km) the road enters the deep gorge of the Colorado River then at 4 miles (6.4 km) start looking for rock climbers on the cliffs along the section locally called Wall Street. At 5.1 miles (8.2 km) you'll see signs for Indian Writing; there are pull offs on the left-side of the road, be careful as you are likely to encounter heavy trucks on both lanes of the road as they tend to drive fast.

There's plenty to see and do along Potash Road. Further down the road from the rock art are more pull-offs and parking lots offering views of "Dinosaur Tracks" and another petroglyph panel. There's parking further down the road for trailheads leading to Corona and Bowties Arch.

The paved road ends at the Intrepid Potash Mine. While we continued on for several miles we did so in our jeep; while 4-wheel drive isn't a requirement (unless it rains) you really should have a high-clearance vehicle; tow companies make a lot of money pulling out 2-wheel drive vehicles and it's much cheaper to rent a jeep for a day than to undergo that expense.

While we continued on the road past Dead Horse State Park into the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park we're only going to show the petroglyphs from the first part. We'll be sharing images from further down the road where we stumbled on the set of a Microsoft commercial as well as one featuring a remake of Thelma & Louise that includes several police cars and the T-Bird. We took the road to Musselman Arch before turning around and taking the road through Shafer Canyon before entering Canyonlands near the Island in the Sky Visitor Center so please stay tuned for that installment.

We hope as always you enjoy the images all of which were taken with the Canon 1DsIII and 28-135mm lens.

Sandy & Don

We couldn't help ourselves so here's a teaser for the next edition...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Arches National Park

You shouldn't go to Moab Utah without at least attempting to visit the State and National Parks, primarily Arches National Park.

Park Avenue Viewpoint - Leica M9 35mm

To learn more about Arches National Park we suggest you visit the website here. The park is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year and is just a couple miles North of Moab on Route 191.

Park Avenue 2-shot Panorama - Canon 1DsIII

We made this our last stop before heading home and we're glad we did. The images were all taken late afternoon on Thursday May 20th; Sandy as usual was using the Canon 1DsIII along with the 28-135mm lens while Don was using his Leica M9 and a choice of either the Summicron 35mm f/2 or Summarit 90mm f/2.5 lens; somehow the 50mm never left the bag however he kept muttering how much a 135mm would have been that much better.

Three Gossips - Canon 1DsIII

We've included a lot of images so take your time and enjoy your visit.

Balanced Rock - Leica M9 35mm

There's a well maintained paved road leading from the Visitors Center into the Park. The first thing you notice is a climb of several hundred feet that puts you into the Park proper and allows a brief view of the valley below where you'll see Moab in the distance as well as the La Sal Mountains. You'll be sharing the road with bicycles so be careful; while we're on the subject of being careful remember you're still in the Southwest where days can reach into the 100's and nights can be very cold.

Balanced Rock - Canon 1DsIII

The images shown so far are all loosely in the order you'd see them coming from the Visitors Center. There are plenty of viewpoints however these are just a small sample of what you'll see.

Does anyone else besides Don see Barney?

Balanced Rock & Barney Leica 90mm

Balanced Rock & Barney Canon 1DsIII

While the road continues further inside the Park we decided to take the road leading into the "Windows Section" This road ends at a large parking lot where you can walk out to the North & South Windows as well as Turret Arch.

Windows Section near the parking lot - Leica M9 35mm

North & South Windows - Canon 1DsIII

Turret Arch - Canon 1DsIII (see the people at the lower left?)

Turret Arch - Canon 1DsIII
While here you'll have the chance to either walk or drive to see Double Arch.  There's a dirt walking path that connects the two parking lots; if you stop at the higest point you'll be able to get an image similar to these.

Double Arch - Canon 1DsIII

Double Arch - Leica M9 90mm

We pulled into the Garden of Eden to watch a group of rock climbers as well as get a couple of snap shots of the area. Rock climbers aren't new to us as we see them often as we drive along Potash Road (that blog is coming so stay tuned) however we had never encounter them inside Arches.

Canon 1DsIII

100% crop

Leica M9 90mm

100% crop

Leica M9

100% crop

Don caught this image while shooting the climbers in the Garden of Eden area. See any faces?

Inside Garden of Eden Leica M9 90mm

Finally a view of the Windows Section from the Garden of Eden.

Leica M9 90mm

There's more coming from our stay at Moab including a couple of images of a commercial being shot so stay tuned.

Brief technical note:

All of the images were processed using Adobes new Photoshop CS5 as well as Nik Software VIVEZA® 2

Thanks for visiting us and please remember your comments and thoughts are always welcome.

Sandy & Don

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Photoshop CS5 (64bit) and NIK Viveza 2

First let me explain the header image.

After stopping the Hubbell Trading Post National Monument we found a large stone barn on the property; the stone was at least 2-feet thick, the inside was cool and dark. I've taken to the habit of carrying the Leica M9 with me when we make rest stops as you just never know what you might find. One of the items we found in the cool shade of the barn was the wagon. The image was shot using a Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH lens set at f/2, 1/3 ISO 250.

We've been home now for several days and within that time I've loaded the CS5 upgrade on the studio computer and decided to try a 15-day trail of NIK Viveza 2.

There's three images included in this write-up all the combination of a 4-shot panorama Sandy shot using the Canon 1DsIII handheld at a sunset spot we found in Moab the second day we were there. Yes, I know 4-shot panos and a major PIA however I wanted to try the new software out once we got home. The major part of CS5 is a new "content awareness fill" (under "Edit" open "Fill" then look for the dropdown box and select "Content-Aware"). While I selected a very difficult image to try for my first time I'll admit that I'm blown-away at the results; I can only image what I'll be able to do with other images in the future.

Here's the first image - 4-shots placed into a panorama

The second image is the result of working with the Lasso Tool and Fill

The final image was also a test - this time of what Viveza 2 is capable of. This is another software that has simply blown me away for what it can do using very simple instructions. I was expecting a huge learning curve on this however it was the complete opposite.

I'm working on other images from Moab including Dead Horse State Park, Canyonlands and Arches. I think once you see the beautiful conditions we had you'll understand why we decided not to hike to the Great Gallery; maybe next time.

Thank you as always for visiting and please stay tuned for further news.


Here's a teaser image for next time; that's me laying down on the job as I capture the Green River Overlook. More to come...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Downtown Moab with a Leica M9

What do you do when you're a landscape photographer that's tired and just wants to kick back and relax? Take a walk down Main Street Moab. I've never tried street shooting before and realize the following might not truly qualify however I had fun doing these. All the images were shot using a Summicron 35mm lens.

"Love Muffin Cafe"

"Eddie McStiff's"

"Jailhouse Cafe"  Great place for breakfast

We'll be looking at the landscape images taken here after we return to Tucson and will share them shortly.