Bowling Ball Beach Sunset

This is a fun place, but a little hard to get to. It is affectionally known as Bowling Ball Beach and if you look at the pictures you can tell why. The beach features this rocky formation that includes about 200 or so of these almost perfect, spherical rocks. They look like some giant just left them. Quite odd.

The place is more formally known “Schooner Gulch State beach”, a beach in Mendocino County along the Northern California coast, just a few miles south of Point Arena.
The bowling balls are underwater during high tide, so you need to time your visit using the tide tables else you will not even see them.

I wanted to visit here for a sunset, adding an additional constraint to the timing of the trip.

Well, it all came together this last weekend, low tide at 6:20pm and sunset at 8:10pm, close enough.

The beach is hard to get to. There is a trail that leads down from a carpark along Hwy 1, but the final part of the trail was damaged a few years ago in a landslide which demolished the wooden ladder that took you down the final 10 feet (3 meters). Today you need to “abseil” down that last bit using a steel cable that dangles down the cliff side. Then, when on the beach, you need to walk about half a mile to get there. I spent a few hours shooting these strange rocks and the surrounding features along the cliffs, heading back after the sun had set.

That strange red glow in the sky is caused by smoke particles, from wild fires that have devastated large chunks of Northern California. During the day it just looks a bit hazy, but at sunset, you can really see it.

Bowling Ball Beach

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Heading West – Mt Whitney

Heading West after a visit to Death Valley.This is Hwy 136 going towards Lone pine.

That high peak on the left is Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States (and of course the Sierra Nevada, which is that mountain range you see with the dusting of snow.

The brown hills in the foreground are the Alabama Hills, an area where many old Westerns were filmed. It is quite an interesting place to go do some photography and very easy to get to. There are also some arches there, really excellent at sunrise, especially when you can frame Mt. Whitney inside the arch.

As I said, this is on our way back home from Death Valley where we spent a week shooting, the time of year is early March, a great time to visit Death Valley.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Heading West towards Mt Whitney and the Sierra Nevada

Posted in Uncategorized

Bad Water Basin – Death Valley’s Lowest Point

The salt crusted Bad Water Basin in Death Valley is the lowest point in the US. It is also the hottest with the record standing at 134F (which is 56.7C for my European friends). It is an awesome location to shoot, simply “out of this world”.

The best time to shoot is when the sun is low, so early morning or early evening, because the salt ridges will stand out thanks to the shadows.

The area is quite large and there are many places where you can walk out onto the flats. I found one of the best to be just a mile or two south of the main car park. The ridges seem to be larger there and more refined. This photo shows some water, but don’t expect that to always be the case. This was taken in March and I was luck as there had been a spring rain earlier that morning.

February/March is a perfect time to visit Death Valley by the way, as the temperatures are very comfortable (even slightly chilly if you go out early for sunrise). You are also likely to get clouds, which will provide more interest and better chances for colorful sunsets and sunrises.

Death Valley - Bad Water Basin

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Photography in Death Valley

Have you ever thought of going to Death Valley for a photography adventure? Perhaps you have not given it much thought. Perhaps you have but consider it too hot? Or maybe your perception of it that it’s just a desert and not all that interesting.

What if I told you that Death Valley is one of the most exciting places in the US to go on a photography shoot?

I will admit, that if you go in the summer (June, July or August) it WILL be too hot. But if you go in February or March, temeratures will be delightful and you WILL be in for a treat.

I have visited Death Valley multiple times between 2003 and 2014 (and have planned another trip in March 2016) and have always had a fantastic time with sensational photography.

I have writen an eBook (currently only available on Apple iBooks) that is bot a photographic journey and a guide that tells you where to shoot and, perhaps most importantly, what TIME of day to shoot. Because Death Valley is such a large park, knowing where and when will be invaluable when planning a trip.

Take a look, download the free sample and see for yourself what this amaziong place has to offer. If you want to see more, buy the book, it is only $3.99 and packed with valuable information and photos.

DeathValley


Lenses used to take the photos in this ebook are:

 



Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras


List Price: Price Not Listed
New From: $799.00 USD In Stock

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras


List Price: $999.00 USD
New From: $999.00 USD In Stock
Posted in eBook

Historic Plumas Eureka State Park

What does one do when your motorhome is in the shop for repairs and the outdoors is calling your name? You take the tent and head for the mountains.

This is the situation Linda and I found ourselves in. We had recently “re-discovered” tent camping and were somewhat prepared for a trip with the tent. We decided to go to the Graeagle area, a beautiful forested region with a gold mining history, about 50 miles north of Truckee along Hwy 89.

Plumas-Eureka-SP-8We selected the Jamieson Creek campground in the Plumas Eureka State park. We like the State Parks as they have flushing toilets and showers. The State Parks are also locations where we cannot take our motorhome to, so has great appeal as a destination. The campground turned out to be beautiful, with spacious sites and not a lot of people. Firepits and picnic tables are provided for each site.

Plumas Eureka State Park has a lot of history that goes back to the Gold Rush days. There were towns there with colorful names like “Whiskey-Diggins”,  “Poker Flat” and “Port Wine”. Names that can really set the mind racing with visions of Wild West saloons and trigger-happy outlaws. Today, the area is a somewhat sleepy region with small towns full of craft stores, restaurants, the odd golf course and lots of beautiful countryside for hikes, fishing, kayaking and, of course, camping.

There is a small museum at the entrance of the Plumas Eureka State Park. It shows how life was in the 1840s and 1850s, the height of the gold rush. There is blacksmith where volunteers make various nicnacks which are sold in the store, while demonstrating the art of a blacksmith to visitors to the park. Mining gold is what put this place on the map and old stamp mills, ore buckets and rusted machinery can still be found scattered around, reminding us of the frenzied activity here some 150 years ago.

We had wanted to do some kayaking in the nearby lakes, but it was too windy. We did not feel like battling the elements so decided to stick to our photography.

A highly recommended place to visit. The bakery in Blairsden serves superb coffee and pastries and a casual stroll through Graeagle is a delight.

Read more about this state park -> Plumas Eureka State Park

 

Plumas-Eureka-SP-10Plumas-Eureka-SP-16Plumas-Eureka-SP-18Plumas-Eureka-SP-20Plumas-Eureka-SP-17Plumas-Eureka-SP-15Plumas-Eureka-SP-2Plumas-Eureka-SP-3Plumas-Eureka-SP-23Plumas-Eureka-SP-24Plumas-Eureka-SP-5Plumas-Eureka-SP-4Plumas-Eureka-SP-6Plumas-Eureka-SP-8Plumas-Eureka-SP-9Plumas-Eureka-SP-22Plumas-Eureka-SP-19Plumas-Eureka-SP-7

Posted in Sierra Nevada

Harris Beach Driftwood

Linda and I travelled up the California and Oregon coast last weekend driving along Hwy 1. We started at Bodega Bay and ended up at Coos Bay, about 450 miles (about 750 kms). Hwy 1 is considered one of the most beautiful coastal highways and we were not disappointed.

Bodega Bay has always been a favorite of ours, but we had not ventured so far north as on this trip. We stayed at Bodega Dunes, Humbolt Redwoods and Harris Beach, which are all state parks. Driving along roads that wind through the most beautiful scenery, alternating between breathtaking views of the coast and the famous redwood groves along the coast made for a fantastic trip.

Lots of photography opportunities and sunsets, but also lots of places to enjoy some clam chowder and fish ‘n chips!

This photo was shot at Harris Beach in Oregon. Linda and I went for a stroll along the beach after scrambling down a little trail through the rocks. The tide was out and we came upon this pool of water with some driftwood which made for a perfect foreground subject. You can see from the surface of the water that there was no wind on what was a perfectly peaceful evening.

Harris Beach Driftwood

 

Posted in California, HDR, Travel

After the Storm

California was recently hit by one of the fiercest storms in years so Linda and I packed our bags and headed for the coast in the hope of catching some “after-the-storm” conditions.

It rained non-stop in the couple of hours it took us to get to Carmel By The Sea, which is just below Monterey on the California Coast and had a close call on the road when traffic came to a halt, but got there safe and in one piece.

After a wonderful coffee at a favorite coffee shop in Aptos we got to the Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz where we found what we came for. Awesome waves and an amazingly “angry sky”.  Waves crashing into the rocks completed the scene. Despite the color in the sky and it being somewhat “dark”, this shot was taken around 2pm, a time where one would expect it to be clear and sunny.

After the Stor,

 

Posted in California, Carmel

Valley View in B&W

Having done some B&W recently, I am falling in love with B&W!

There is something amazing about B&W. Hard to put into writing what it is, but there is drama, strength and something “classic” about black and white images. One of the undisputed masters of this medium is of course Ansel Adams, who also immortalized the view you see here. Called Valley View, it is now a popular spot to stop and take a photo. In Ansel’s time, it meant a multi day hike with a mule and a bunch of glass plates and a huge camera and tripod. If the weather did not cooperate, too bad. These days, you can drive the entire Yosemite valley in less than an hour and you can sit in the car if it is too cold or too hot or wet. Oh how times have changed.

Ansel Adams said “I hope that my work will encourage self expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and creative excitement in the great world around us” and it is in that spirit that I am posting this picture. When I took that shot, I distinctly remember thinking ” Ansel once stood here, seeing that same beauty as I am seeing now”.

Thank you Ansel for your contribution to photography and for the inspiration you bring to us all.

Valley View

Posted in HDR, National Park, Yosemite

Windmills of Holland

Still in the Netherlands, this is a view of a place called “Kinderdijk” where 19 windmills still stand, all dating back to 1740.

Again, this is an HDR shot converted to B&W.

Kinderdijk
Posted in The Netherlands, Travel

Cathedral Rock in B&W

Here is my second submission to the 5-in-5 challenge on Facebook.

This Yosemite’s Cathedral Rock. It had been raining heavily, but “sort of” cleared up just enough to take this shot. Another HDR shot converted to BW.

I love how the B&W treatment emphasizes the “drama” of  of the scene.

Cathedral Rock

Posted in Uncategorized