Full Moon Sets at Sunrise

If you visit someplace scenic like a National Park for the Full Moon, you can look forward to a Moonset with gentle morning light on untouched Nature. That’s what we found on the morning of May 20 in Joshua Tree National Park. The Full Moon (95% full) looks brightest when the sky is still a bit dark, and a little bit of light on the landscape allows you to see the amazing landscape in the foreground. You will only have a few minutes to balance the darkness and the light for optimum effect.

The rising sun has lit the distant mountains and clouds but not the Joshua Tree in the foreground, which appears almost in silhouette. The low light reveals some detail in the highly textured tree, but makes it a strong visual element in the composition where the moon is the “star.” May 2019

Discovering the High Desert

As a part-time Floridian, I’m in love with the coastline, the ocean, tropical plants and birds. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy an adventure into the California desert, but I did!

My daughter booked an Airbnb in Yucca Valley for a couple days’ visit to Joshua Tree National Park, and we got to hike and explore the “high desert,” something new to me. I found the Joshua Trees to be really funky, and the sandstone boulders fascinating too.

We could see the snowy peaks of the San Bernadino Mountains in the distance, while taking in the textures of the high desert terrain at our feet. Just a short time after sunrise, the sunshine was brilliant.

We were lucky that the temperatures were moderate for our May 20-21 visit, and that we stayed close to the national park, in order to get there for sunrise. Stay tuned to this blog for more photographs from this special national park, Joshua Tree.

Black Bear in Grand Teton NP

While Black Bears are not considered as dangerous as Grizzly Bears, they are still no match for a human, so we need to keep our distance and take care not to attract or provoke them. I spotted this bear quite a way up the hillside above the road, and I was able to use my 400mm lens, steadied with a tripod, to capture this photograph. (I was not as close to it as it appears.)

#bear, #grandtetonnationalpark, #grandtetons, #nationalpark, #wildlife, #sony, #RRS, #tripod, #staysafe, #keepyourdistance
Black bear grazing in Grand Teton National Park, observing a cluster of excited humans with cameras.

I have read that the Black Bear’s eyesight and hearing are better than a humans. Its sense of smell is WAY better, seven times better than that of a dog. Signs warn national park visitors not to leave food in a cooler inside a car, for a black bear might smell it and destroy the car to reach the food. Food lockers are available, but you better hope that everyone locks the locker well, or everybody’s supplies will be gone.

A human is no match for the speed and the strength of a bear. Take your photo, and then get back in the car and move on!

Fall’s Fog and Color

I love to watch fog moving along the surface of a river in the Fall. I have memories of that fog on the Potomac when I lived in Washington D.C. and on the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. In Jackson Hole, morning fog crept across the Snake River as we watched the sun rise.  A thicker layer of fog — not so translucent — filled in the valley closer to the mountains.

#fog, #fallcolor, #mountmoran, #jacksonhole, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #sunrise, #nationalparks, #snakeriver, #fall, #landscape, #wyoming
The changing colors of the trees and the morning fog on the river made this sunrise scene in Jackson Hole extra special.

The trees are reaching their colorful peak in Pittsburgh today, and the sun is shining, but rain is on the way. I hope to capture some Fall color close to home. Happy Halloween!

 

A Blanket of Color

#sunset, #clouds, #light, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalparks, #light, #color, #landscape
The setting sun turned the blanket of clouds vivid shades of orange and pink in Grand Teton National Park, September 23, 2018.

While the sun’s brilliant orb slipped behind the Grand Tetons, the clouds reflected the orange glow of sunset. That evening the clouds took on a rippled texture as well as a misty, ethereal quality.  We could feel the temperature fall. The light show was brief. Soon it would be dark.

Shooting into the Sunset

Landscape photographers understand that shooting directly into the sun, even at sunset, creates such extremes of brightness and darkness that it is difficult to make a successful image. The foreground falls into shadow, while the sky becomes impossibly bright. What to do?

Photographers planning to shoot sunset in Grand Teton National Park face this challenge every day, because all views of the mountain range face west. While today’s digital software can help brighten the shadows and darken the highlights, it ain’t easy!

One approach is to wait until the critical moment when the sun touches the edge of a tree or a mountain in the foreground. If you set your camera manually to a small f-stop such as f/22, the sunlight will refract and create a brilliant sunstar. I like this technique, as it gives punch to the scene.

#sunset, #grandtetons, #schumacherslanding, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalparks, #sunstar, #noclouds, #sky, #reflection, #stillness, #landscape, #landscapephotography, #evergreens, #howto
The Grand Tetons and the evergreens reflect in the beaver ponds of Schwabacher’s Landing as the sun sets.

Reflections in the beaver pond as well as the V shape of the trees that flank the mountains give this image a peaceful symmetry.

After this capture, I packed up my tripod and camera quickly, for soon it would be dark.

Magical Sunset in the Grand Tetons

On my first evening in Jackson Hole, I was blessed to witness a magical sunset behind the  Grand Teton mountain range. I cannot tell you how different every sunset was during  my week in Jackson Hole. The clouds, the colors, the lack of clouds — you never know what will develop. Every minute during a sunset is also unique. Here is one of those fleeting moments during sunset behind the Grand Tetons from Cunningham’s Cabin in Grand Teton National Park.

#grandteton, #nationalpark, #sunset, #gtnp, #jacksonhole, #jackson, #september, #grandtetonnationalpark, #landscapephotography, #nature, #sunbeams, #clouds, #fence, #cunninghamcabin, #cunningham, #brilliant
Brilliant sunbeams streamed over the Grand Teton peaks during sunset in a moment so brilliant, I had to turn away.

If you like this image, stay tuned to this blog. I have just begun to process my images from numerous sunrise and sunsets in different scenic locations in Grand Teton National Park. Soon, you will be planning your own trip!