The Best of Nature Photography Show Opens Today!

The Best of Nature Photography Show Opens Today!

I checked my Facebook page this morning and found this post – I’m so excited that the 2014 Best of Nature Photography Show is now open at the San Diego Natural History Museum. You can read all about it by following the link – but the highlights are that nearly 1,000 entries were submitted to the show, from which 52 artists and 74 images were selected. Two of my images are included and after following the link to the website and paging through the other absolutely stunning entries, I am hugely flattered to be in such good company!

A special thanks to daughter Michelle who emailed me the entry details and encouraged me to enter. It would have slipped through the cracks without her not-so-subtle hint! And it’s great to know my family supports and believes in my work.

Husband Mike and I are driving to San Diego next week to attend the artist’s reception on Saturday, November 1 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you live in the neighborhood, we certainly hope you’ll join us! The event is on the Museum’s 4th floor in the Ordover Gallery, and admission to the reception is free. Of course the usual fees still apply to visit the Museum’s other attractions – one of which is the intriguing Discovery of King Tut exhibit that we don’t want to miss! And if you can’t make it this Saturday, the show will be on display until February 1, 2015.

Here are my two included images: Sunrise Flight was taken from AVATAR’s deck on an early morning passage in the Solomon Islands. Exhale was also taken from AVATAR’s foredeck this summer as we were sailing near Marina del Rey on our way north to the Pacific Northwest.

Click on any image below to open a full screen slideshow.

Posted by Carol in California, USA, 0 comments
Opening Reception

Opening Reception

UPDATED 8/6/2014 – VIDEO posted of reception (I’m at 1:30).

I just arrived home from a wonderful week long visit to New York City, where Agora Gallery hosted the artists’ reception for the opening of its newest collective exhibition, The Substance of Form, this past Thursday night. It was a thrill to have my work represented in a respected gallery in the heart of the Chelsea art district, and even have one of my images featured in Agora’s own blog announcing the opening of the show. Agora, described by CBS news as one of NYC’s 6 Best Contemporary Art Galleries, not only offers gallery wall space but also nurtures its stable of emerging, mid-level, and established artists by assisting with publicity and promotional opportunities.

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photo-2As is usual at an Agora opening, the gallery space was packed with a festive crowd of attendees, standing room only. The participating artists came from all over the world including Spain, Canada, Japan, Austria, Italy, Columbia and more. The contemporary artwork on display spanned a wide spectrum of sculpture, painting, and photography.

It was especially gratifying that my family and friends were so supportive. An entourage of more than a dozen of us attended the reception, even though most had to fly clear across the country to join me for the opening! A special treat was the bouquet of flowers that Northern Trust Bank so thoughtfully sent to surprise me. Northern hosted my first exhibition ever a few years ago and it’s awesome that they continue to show their support! And to those of you who couldn’t attend, thank you so much for your congratulatory emails, texts, and Facebook posts!

photo-5 Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 10.59.54 AM photo 1 copyOf course we allowed a few extra days to play tourist and enjoy multiple activities which still barely nicked the surface of what one can see and do in the Big Apple. Nights out at the theatre, wonderful restaurants, the obligatory boat ride to the Statue of Liberty, paying our respects at Ground Zero, gawking at the lights and crowds in Times Square late in the evening, and lots and lots of walking and taxi rides. NYC even took a respite from its usual hot and steamy July weather and served up perfect temperatures for the duration of our visit.

The photos below, playable as a slideshow, are the six limited edition photographic works currently hanging in The Substance of Form exhibition. They will be on display at Agora Gallery until August 19. After that, I am participating in another show scheduled for September right here in Tucson. More on that in a later post!

 

Posted by Carol in New York, USA, 0 comments
Happy 4th from North of the Border!

Happy 4th from North of the Border!

AVATAR is now in Canadian waters and Mike and I are cruising alone, just the two of us, while Rod and May have gone home to the other side of the world for a much delayed vacation!  We’re suffering the challenges of making repairs on the fly in a foreign country, but even a refrigerator breakdown offered a silver lining. Because we needed to find a refrigeration technician, we cruised in to Campbell River’s Discovery Harbour Marina and happened to arrive on July 1 which is Canada Day! So we beat you Americans in regards to holiday celebrations – as soon as it turned dark (10:30 pm here in the northern latitudes) I was able to set up my tripod and camera on AVATAR’s upper deck to photograph the fireworks display across the water.

CBPP_20140703_CampbellRiver-270-MIt took a couple of days to round up a technician who could fit us into his busy summer schedule, so I signed up for a wildlife tour and spent yesterday on the water with Eagle Eye Adventures in a big powerful Zodiac. Orcas were first and foremost on everybody’s mind. As soon as we were all bundled up in our survival suits, reminiscent of the snowsuit I wore as a preschooler during Illinois winters, we zoomed off into the Strait of Georgia looking for whales. Fortunately the wildlife tour operators share sightings via radio, so our guide Jos already knew there were Orcas and in which direction. It was a bit of a gray day and the water was pretty rough in the strait. We pounded through the waves at high speed, although not up to the Zodiac’s full capability of 50 knots, and found a pod of transient (as opposed to resident) Orcas in the process of feeding.

CBPP_20140703_CampbellRiver-716-MAt first the Orcas were milling about casually with some tail-slapping as they fed, but once their bellies were full they turned exuberant and soon we were treated to an awesome exhibition of multiple breaches. Even Jos, who goes out Orca hunting seven days a week, was pumped by the extreme athleticism these whales were displaying. My lucky shot of the day came when a whale breached right off the starboard stern of another tour boat, completely soaking the occupants, followed 8 seconds later (per the EXIF data on my photo files) by a second amazing full body breach off their port bow. I’ve shared the photo with the parties involved and it is already taking life on the internet and I’ve had a request to have it published in the local newspaper. At first glance it looks totally fake but I assure you that the only Photoshop applied was to crop, straighten and color correct. Other than that, the image documents exactly what we all saw – except for the folks on the other boat who were still peering off their stern!

MatriarchWhen the Orca action died down, Jos took us into nearby aptly named Calm Channel in search of other wildlife. Bald eagles especially are in abundance. This slightly scruffy looking matriarch has a broken beak, but still heads up an entire flock of eagles all perched in the treetops surrounding her vantage point. In the forest canopy the bright white heads stand out like golf balls on a putting green and I counted at least eight in one go. Bald eagles are a dime a dozen in this neck of the woods. Two of them are hanging out here in the marina, stationed on signposts along the breakwater, to the consternation of the local seagulls.

CBPP_20140703_CampbellRiver-1430-MAfter the Orcas, the other big game we all hoped to see were bears. Again shared information steered us to a black bear at the water’s edge, feasting on the mussels exposed at low tide. She was totally unconcerned with her floating audience and we were able to drift in for a good close up view.

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The gallery below contains the blog photos and some additions, playable as a slideshow.

PS – The refrigerator is working again and we’re headed north for more adventures, and hopefully more Orcas!

 

 

Posted by Carol in Canada, 0 comments
Agora Gallery Representation

Agora Gallery Representation

I am thrilled to announce that I am now represented by Agora Gallery in New York City, a contemporary fine art gallery established in 1984 that specializes in the promotion of works by national and international artists, providing original fine art to established and emerging collectors.

Agora’s director, Angela di Bello, has selected ten of my photographs to be offered on the gallery’s ART-mine.com website. And from July 29th through August 19th my works will be on display in Agora’s upcoming exhibition The Substance of Form. This collection of ten images, to be offered in limited editions of 25, has just gone live online and I invite you to peruse them on my very own ARTmine artist’s page for Carol Brooks Parker.

More details will be forthcoming; I have been working diligently getting up to speed in support of this exciting turn of events. First, of course, I had to select and fine-tune the portfolio of images to be submitted for Agora’s consideration. Upon acceptance, I have been generating source material for a biography, artist’s statement and press release, all of which are still in process.

Agora Gallery is an elegant spacious 8,000 square foot fine art gallery located in the heart of Chelsea which, with 500 galleries, is the major art district in NYC showing primarily the work of emerging and recently established artists. Agora Gallery offers a wide spectrum of additional resources dedicated to connecting artists with collectors worldwide. In addition to a dynamic schedule of fine art exhibitions, additional exposure is provided via Agora’s ARTisSpectrum Magazine and the website ART-mine.com which is one of the most comprehensive resources available worldwide for locating contemporary fine art for sale. Agora also hosts the annual Chelsea International Fine Art Competition and has multiple social media presences, including a Facebook page, a Twitter feed @Agora_gallery, an artist’s blog, and more.

I am thrilled to have been accepted into the fold and I’m already working on travel plans for the artist’s reception scheduled for July 31!

Posted by Carol in New York, USA, 8 comments
Summer Nostalgia

Summer Nostalgia

It’s high summer here in Tucson. The clouds building up each the afternoon, the lightning flashing on the horizon and thunder rumbling in the distance – all are tantalizing hints of monsoon rainstorms. Sometimes there’s even a payoff with a sprinkle or a deluge, our reward for suffering through the high humidity of the season.

June as always was hot and dry, burning the spring flowers to a crisp. So it is a pleasure to go through my files and relive that glorious season of just a few months ago when the desert was bursting with color, blanketed in rampant wildflowers and cacti in vibrant bloom.

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Nikon D4, 105.0 mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 1600, f/3.5 @ 1/8000 sec, 0EV

I photographed the lavender Santa Rita prickly pear cactus with its profusion of yellow blooms, hand-holding a 105 mm lens to narrow the focus down to just a few very fine details. And I crawled on my belly at dawn with a wide angle 14-24 mm to capture a landscape blanketed in pink by a bumper crop of Mexican primrose.

Enjoy. I did.

Click on any photo below to open up a slideshow.

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Flowers, Scenic, USA, 4 comments
Coyote Visitors

Coyote Visitors

A pack of three coyotes came visiting the other day in casual search of a meal. It was broad daylight, almost noon. We watched through the window as a lot of digging and pouncing took place, eventually rewarded with the capture of a round tailed ground squirrel as a late-morning snack. I’m not too sorry about the rodent – coyotes have to eat, after all. The ground squirrels are cute but we have whole cities of them on our property, riddled with burrows and upheavals of dirt.

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Nikon D4, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR @ 400mm, ISO 400 f/11 @ 1/750 sec, 0 EV

Eventually one of the threesome wandered over to the stone fountain just outside our bedroom window. I photographed him/her through the glass until the coyote finally went on its way, stopping en route to pick up this huge frog, some kind of leopard frog, that he must have snagged during an earlier fishing expedition and set aside for dessert. I’ll miss the very loud raucous croaking of that frog keeping us awake at night, but I’m sure another will move in shortly.

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Nikon D800, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR @ 400mm, ISO 800 f/9.0 @ 1/800 sec, -2/3 EV

Click on any photo below to open up a slideshow and camera settings.

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Coyotes, USA, Wildlife, 3 comments
Between Horse Shows

Between Horse Shows

Print Gallery

It was time to catch up with my daughter and her show jumpers competing in California. Last Saturday I drove from Tucson to Del Mar near San Diego to watch Michelle ride our Holsteiner stallion Clintord I in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar. Actually I planned to leave on Friday but the wind was gusting so violently in Tucson that driving seemed an unappealing prospect. The same windy weather was whipping up a fierce wildfire in the Hidden Hills area near LA. At its peak the fire threatened some 4,000 homes and a university campus. There are also numerous horse farms in the vicinity including several top grand prix show barns. A thousand horses were evacuated to safer surroundings and fortunately by next day the hot, dry, windy weather abated and the fire was brought under control without inflicting as much damage as was threatened.

The Del Mar National Horse Show is one of a select few remaining across the country that continue to offer the pomp and circumstance that marks a true event. So many of today’s horse shows operate in a closed loop, existing only to bring in entries and crank out classes for the benefit of the participants and the venue’s bottom line. In contrast a show like Del Mar goes the extra mile to entice the public with fun and pageantry, generating an electric energy absorbed by fans and competitors alike. The stands are filled with enthusiastic spectators while the riders suffer an extra edge of nerves to suit the occasion.

Only a limited number of entrants were allowed in the big money class, so a qualifying $25,000 speed class Thursday night served to narrow the field down to 32 horse/rider combinations eligible to compete in the big ring Saturday night. Clintord acquitted himself admirably in the qualifier with a clean round (video) and a 5th place finish to secure his place in Saturday night’s order of go. For the main event we were pleased with his 4-fault effort in a class that saw only four horses produce clear rounds over an imposing course of very big jumps. Congratulations to Duncan McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy for the win, well-deserved for their gutsy ‘full-throttle’ jump-off round!

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Nikon D4, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR @ 400mm, ISO 400 f5.6 @ 1/750 sec, 0EV

Now I’m hanging out at Michelle’s Cross Creek West training facility in nearby San Marcos while the horses take a break. After last week’s fire, the weather turned grey and drizzly. While the daily activity of a training stable took place around me – exercising the horses and coaching the students – I prowled the property seeking candids of horses and people but I spent the majority of my time with Clintord while he was turned out in the pasture, green with new spring grass and dotted with cheerful pink wildflowers.

Photo notes:  The overcast skies produced a soft light that served well for the impromptu candids I was shooting. This was my first time using Nikon’s new 80-400mm lens and it was awesome! Fully zoomed in across a field, hand-held, ISO kicked up a bit to compensate – the lens captured such details as individual whiskers on a horse, barn flies frozen in motion (later to be cloned away), and sparkling bright eyes all in crisp focus. The quality of the lens and the great flexibility of its range earns it a permanent place in my shooting bag. Traveling overseas frequently as I do always creates a packing dilemma but this lens will solve a lot of my decision-making agony.

Posted by Carol in Animals, California, Equestrian, Horses, USA, 5 comments
Side Trip to the Frozen North

Side Trip to the Frozen North

CLICK HERE for Slideshow

I have always wanted to see the northern lights but living in Southern Arizona and cruising in the equatorial Pacific do not lend themselves to frequent aurora borealis sightings. And I always worried that making a special trip to the frozen North, fingers crossed to see the phenomena, could be a recipe for disappointment.

But earlier this year a post showed up in my RSS feed promoting an aurora borealis photography workshop operating under the following conditions: 2013-14 was to be the peak of an 11 year cycle of solar sunspot activity which generates solar flares which in turn generates auroral activity; the selected workshop location, on the edge of the Arctic in Churchill, Winnipeg, Canada, is one of the world’s best locales for observing the aurora – averaging approximately 300 nights per year with some degree of activity; March is the preferred month for viewing as it offers the best chance of combined clear skies and dark nights, as opposed to summer when the nights are warmer but dramatically shorter, or polar bear migration season in October/November when overcast skies are more prevalent and hungry predators are added to the mix of hazards.

The Northern Lights Photography Workshop was to be led by +David Marx, a landscape photographer and Adobe Lightroom educator (also, as it turns out, a Google+ aficionado), and +Jim Halfpenny PhD, a naturalist with decades of mileage guiding groups to extreme locales around the world including the Antarctic, Arctic, the Galapagos, and his own backyard in Yellowstone National Park. Our group was small, only five participants and two leaders. We all, organizers included, were brimming with anticipation for the adventure to come.

So I asked Mike if he was game and we both signed up for a week in the Arctic chasing the northern lights. Our first order of business was to acquire a new wardrobe suitable for subzero temps; online research soon pointed the way to Canada Goose Arctic expedition parkas and Sorel boots rated to withstand a cold factor of -40º Fahrenheit. Assorted layers of silk underwear, socks, scarves, hats, gloves, face masks and mittens completed our outfits. Fully clothed, we had to turn our bodies sideways to squeeze in and out of our tour bus doors.

So as soon as we arrived home from our Indonesia trip we stowed the swimsuits and snorkels, shorts and sandals, and proceeded to stuff our suitcases to overflowing with our new extreme-cold gear and flew north to the Arctic.

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Wind chill factor minus 40º F

It was seriously chilly with night temps dropping to -25º Fahrenheit with ‘feels like’ temps of -40º F,  although sunny afternoons warmed up to a balmy -13º F!  Night photography offers its own set of challenges regardless, but to throw in extended sessions in life-threatening temperatures gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘challenge’. Among other things we learned that the tape we needed to lock down the focus barrel on the camera lens lost all stickiness at such cold temps. Also that it is not possible to operate crucial camera controls (like the shutter button) wearing bulky mittens stuffed with handwarmers. The result was several frostbitten fingers that are just now sloughing off the dead skin, and a frostbitten nose tip acquired by squashing it against the camera viewfinder in an effort to compose an attractive image while operating in almost pitch black conditions. The flexible cable on my Nikon intervalometer froze stiff and snapped in two at a crucial moment…fortunately I had a wireless backup in my bag of accessories. Of course the nights were moonless, a deliberate scheduling choice on the part of our leaders, although starlight and red headlamps provided some degree of night vision.

Churchill is also the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world where the white bears congregate by the dozens during the fall months in anticipation of Hudson Bay waters freezing over, enabling the bears to strike off across the pack ice in pursuit of their preferred food, ringed seals. Theoretically this time of year the bears were all out hunting and not lurking nearby stalking tourists packaged in goosedown for their next meal. But our guides kept a close eye on us anyway. Another risk factor for a lone photographer would be injury sustained in a fall on icy footing in the dark and freezing to death before being missed.

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CNSC under a starry sky

Home base was a modern (only 2 years old) facility known as the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a base for assorted working scientists studying the aurora, tagging bears, evaluating climate change and otherwise researching the Arctic environment. But the CNSC also takes in groups for educational ecotourism and is impressively designed and operated to offer a uniquely engaging experience. Lodging is provided in dorm rooms, each containing four bunk beds, two hanging closets, a desk countertop stretching wall to wall, a couple of chairs – and nothing else. Bathrooms are communal with composting toilets and showers that dispense precious water on timers. Community lounges, classrooms, media rooms, a library and a gift shop expand the amenities. There is even decent wifi! Meals are shared in the cafeteria and everyone, from paid staff to paying guest, pitches in to help wash the dishes. The cooking is appetizing and filling, plentiful homestyle fare that includes a plethora of treats (like warm-from-the-oven cookies) available not only after meals but at all hours of the night for aurora watchers to snack on during late night vigils. It’s tempting to assume exposure to cold burned off those extra calories, but I suspect that is only wishful thinking!

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Night igloo photography!

At night the facility enforces a lights-out protocol to prevent light pollution from interfering with the view of the night sky. Scientists, volunteer staff members and tourists roam the hallways at all hours, alert for the next light show, banging on dorm room doors to rouse sleepers to the call for action. Residents pass the wee hours chatting, strumming the guitar, playing board games by candlelight in the cafeteria, or watching the sky from the windows and glass dome in the cozily warm observation room. But we photographers toughed it out outdoors, negotiating slippery footing in the dark with tripods and expensive fragile cameras, frosty with ice crystals, balanced precariously on our shoulders. Batteries failed prematurely due to the extreme cold, condensation fogged up the lenses each time we returned indoors, and of course the sticky tape was non-sticky!

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Tracks on the ice lead to aurora

Luckily for us, each night the auroral light show was better than the night before. Our first night – nothing except cloudy overcast skies that fostered a faint sense of panic that the weather might not cooperate with our limited time table. But on the second night around 1 a.m. a faint misty veil glowed in the distance and our camera lenses captured it as a rainbow of light. One night we concentrated on lighting up the centre’s demonstration igloos with glow sticks and ventured out onto the ice of a frozen pond in hopes of capturing reflections. Another evening, after a day trip to town and dinner at the local favorite hangout, we set up our gear on the snow-covered beach fronting the shores of frozen solid Hudson Bay for a night shot of an aboriginal stone cairn called an Inuksuk. No sooner had we completed our preparations than the aurora kicked in with an impressive storm reminiscent of the genie escaping from Aladdin’s lamp.

Aurora over Inuksuk on the shores of Hudson Bay

And on our final night we were treated to the best show of all. Curtains of color danced over our heads filling the sky with light. By this time we had suffered through the worst of our setup woes and were prepped and ready to photograph the awesome display.

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Curtains of light dance in the Arctic

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The Churchill River frozen over

Of course those were just the nights and, no, we didn’t get much sleep! By daylight we benefited from classroom lectures, worked on our photos, and explored the Churchill environs as a group. We went out on the pack ice of the frozen Churchill River, 8-10 feet thick with ice and contorted into a fantastical landscape of ice sculpture eruptions created by the pressure of the ice expanding and contracting.

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Sled dogs waiting their turn

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Polar bear prevention

We enjoyed an introduction to dog sledding with Wapusk Adventures and received our very own certificate for completing the ‘Ididamile’ only a few days after the real Iditarod race was won by its ‘most senior’ victor ever. We saw local residences barricaded with window grates and nail-studded plywood planks designed to discourage marauding polar bears, and we dropped by the polar bear jail where errant bears are locked up and treated to spartan conditions designed to discourage further forays into town.

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Nike rocket

We toured the Eskimo Museum, filled with a fascinating collection of Inuit carvings collected over the years by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Churchill, and we were entertained by the reminiscences of Myrtle, the Métis village elder, and purchased her copyrighted caribou hair sculptures as souvenirs.  We missed out on a scheduled trip to visit the Churchill County Museum due to vehicle failure caused by extreme cold. The museum describes itself as ‘The Best Little Museum on Highway 50, America’s Loneliest Road’. Presumably this references the fact that Churchill has some 25 miles of paved road within the town environs, but the next closest paved road is hundreds of miles distant. Access to Churchill is by plane, train or (during the brief summer months) boat. Churchill attractions even include a now defunct rocket launch site that operated periodically in an assortment of capacities from the mid-50s until its final closure in the late 90s, and an historic stone fort (Fort Prince of Wales) that dates back to the early 1700s.

In all it was an amazing experience. Now that we possess suitably tested cold weather clothing, we’ll be looking for more winter extreme adventures in the future!

photo by Farshid Ariz

photo of Carol by Farshid Ariz

 

Posted by Carol in Animals, Canada, Churchill, Dogs, Landscapes, Night Skies, Scenic, 6 comments
Southwest Excellent Adventure

Southwest Excellent Adventure

Full Screen Slide Show

Welcome to my newly resurrected photography blog.  I’ve decided to expand my journaling efforts to include a photo specific website in addition to The AVATAR Logs. My last photography post was nearly three years ago! A lot of digital film has passed through my camera in that time, so the first posts will play catch up – casually perusing past images before moving on to current events.

I considered posting straight into The AVATAR Logs blog but decided instead to publish both in parallel with each linking to the other.  Hopefully it will be easy to navigate back and forth between the two seamlessly.  When we are cruising, posting to The AVATAR Logs will take priority. When land-based, CBParkerPhoto will take the lead.

If you are on my notification list for The AVATAR Logs, you will also be sent notices when I post to CBParkerPhoto.  Feel free to contact me if you wish to opt out.  Mostly I use these blogs to stay in touch with friends and share adventures in  a visual way, so I hope you will continue to enjoy the expanded content.

For starters I’ll reminisce about a wonderful week in early April in the Four Corners area of the desert southwest. I joined Laurie Excell again for one of her Excellent Adventures – this time a tour of Monument Valley in Utah and the Slot Canyons in Arizona. Laurie asked me to write a post for her own blog, so I’m republishing the content here along with a few favorite photos from the trip.

You can read the original post on Laurie’s website here, but it is reproduced in full below:

I’ve lived in Tucson for decades and true to the cliché that one never explores one’s own backyard, I had never spent time in the spectacular surroundings of the Four Corners area of the southwest. Having already enjoyed previous Excellent Adventures with Laurie (Bosque, Katmai) I was feeling the need for a photo workshop “fix” – a chance to chase pixels with like-minded enthusiasts. During a workshop we are all in pursuit of the same goal. The nit-picky details have already been prearranged, enabling us to focus strictly on our photography. The itinerary has been fine-tuned to take best advantage of the allotted time; the ho-hum details of car, lodging and meals have already been handled; knowledgable local guides have been booked in advance to take us off the beaten track and open the doors to a more unique experience.

In college my art instructor once commented that the creation of a painting becomes a souvenir of time and place for the artist. That thought struck a chord that has stayed with me through the years and applies equally to the images we are making. Why am I doing this, anyway? Does the world really need another photograph of The Mittens in Monument Valley or the rays of light in Upper Antelope Canyon? Surely images of these subjects have been recorded in the tens of thousands over the years and by better photographers than I. Why not just purchase a postcard or a coffee table book at the gift shop to remember my visit to the desert southwest?

But the photograph that I take myself has an entirely different significance to me than those commercial images. In the process of pursuing another worthy photo to add to my collection, the entire experience of its creation is imprinted on my brain. It is not just the snapping of the shutter – it is the process of working the subject that makes it my own. Months later one glance at the finished image and the adventure leaps to life.

– Camaraderie in the back seat of a rented Suburban with new acquaintances sharing the same passion…

– And the same frustration of arriving in Monument Valley during a sandstorm that obliterates sky and light…

Nikon D4, AF-S 28-300mm VR

– Followed by the revelation a day or two later that this same sandstorm has refreshed the dunes and made them pristine for our lenses!

Nikon D4, AF-S 28-300mm VR

– Friendly Navajo ponies with their eyes squinted shut against the blowing grit…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 28-300mm VR

– Lurching in four-wheel drive through the rough back country to access remote locations…

Nikon D4, AF-S 28-300mm VR

– Photographing the Milky Way from the hotel balcony while asleep in a comfortable bed…

Nikon D3, AF-S 14-24mm 2.8

– Trudging through the desert on a moonlit night lugging 30 pounds of equipment on my back because I’m afraid of leaving behind that one essential bit of equipment needed to shoot the night sky…

Nikon D3, AF-S 14-24mm 2.8

– Cold fingertips on a brisk morning waiting to capture a starburst of the sun rising over The Mittens…

Nikon D4, AF-S 28-300mm VR

– Our Navajo guide Lionel (a photographer in his own right) opening locked gates to ‘the Rez’ after hours to shoot Upper Antelope by starlight with not a single tourist in the vicinity…

Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

– Gingerly setting up my tripod at the edge of a precipice to capture the curve of Horseshoe Bend in its entirety…

Nikon D4, AF-S 14-24mm 2.8

– Climbing up (and down) Home Depot ladders and squeezing our gear (and ourselves) through the narrow passages of Rattlesnake Canyon and the satisfaction of zeroing in on rhythm and pattern encapsulated in the overwhelming maze of the slot canyons…

Nikon D3S, AF-S 14-24mm 2.8

– And the sweeping vistas and play of light and shadow as the sun set on the last day of our most excellent adventure…

Nikon D4, AF-S 24-120mm f4 VR

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Landscapes, Night Skies, Scenic, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, Utah, 0 comments
Wings Over Wairarapa Air Show

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Show

 

A couple of weeks ago while vacationing in New Zealand, we stopped off at Wings Over Wairarapa, Australasia’s largest air show taking place that weekend right on our route to Wellington. The weather forecast was for rain and we thought it quite likely the air show would be canceled or curtailed – but although we drove through drizzle and mist on the way down, it cleared by the time we reached Wairarapa.

Some 45,000 spectators attended over Saturday and Sunday, and the air show was terrific! On display and in the air were some of the finest privately owned collections of First & Second World War aircraft in the world. Although there was a strong emphasis on the historical airplanes, New Zealand’s armed forces had an impressive showing of their jets and helicopters. The action was non-stop as a variety of aircraft, from WWI triplanes to modern day jets, followed each other into the sky, while spectators camped out on grassy fields by the runway overlooking a scenic rural landscape.

I brought a lot of camera gear on the trip, but my new 200-400 zoom needs a suitcase unto itself, so it stayed home.  Instead I put my 70-200VR on my D3, added an old 2.0 teleconverter, cranked the shutter speed up to 1/1000 second, and fired off nearly 1,000 shots (in motor-drive) filling up two 8 gigabyte cards and getting some fun action shots as a result.  Today I read on Moose Peterson’s blog that if I had slowed down to 1/250 second I could have captured the blur of the prop in motion.  Next time!

Wairarapa Air Show Gallery

Smoke Trails

Posted by Carol in New Zealand, South Pacific, 0 comments
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