Lions in San Diego?

Both the San Diego Zoo in the city and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 30 miles northeast in the San Pasqual Valley, are exciting places to visit. The habitats for more than 2600 African and Asian animals are enormous at the 1800 acre Safari Park. You can plan ahead and book a variety of safaris, or just spend the day wandering around.

I particularly enjoyed the 6 female Transvaal lions, named for their original home in southern Africa. These lions have a shoulder height from between 3 to 4 feet, and weigh 250-400 pounds. They are powerful and beautiful animals.

#lion, #lioness, #transvaal, #sandiego, #safaripark, #zoo, #sandiegozoo, #thingstodo, #animallover
This Transvaal lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park keeps a watchful eye on her peers.

Harpa in Reykjavik

Like Sydney, Reykjavik Iceland has an architectural gem along its harbor, and it is a music hall. While I photographed Harpa from our ship as we departed the city harbor in the evening, I did not have a chance to visit the inside.

#harpa, #reykjavik, #iceland, #architecture, #harbor, #music, #july, #windstar
Harpa, the music hall, is Reykjavik’s architectural gem. Its surface is reflective except when the interior is lit. I’m sure the building looks different during the long dark winter months.

I have started to make my list of things to do in Iceland for my next trip. Iceland is a photographer’s dream.

What the Cypress Says

If you think this tangle of cypress trees in Monterey are shaped by a strong coastal wind, you would be half right. The wind was not blowing at the time I took this photograph. But surely, the wind makes a habit of blowing off the Pacific and has shaped these trees over time.

#cypress, #dune, #wind, #clouds, #coast, #maonterey, #golf, #nature, #landscape
Strong coastal winds appear to have shaped the trees, the clouds and the sand dune.

This image invites me to ponder: how much am I shaped by my everyday environment? In what ways are you shaped by your world?

Geothermal Iceland

An active geothermal field of steaming, bubbling, and erupting hot water can be found a few hours from Reykjavik, Iceland. The “Litli Geysir” (little gusher, pronounced “gay-zeer”), is the name and place that originated the English word “geyser.”

#geyser, #geysir, #iceland, #boiling, #geothermal, #caution, #hot
This geothermal field is a good place to obey the signs about keeping your distance. Even the streams can be boiling hot, and you wouldn’t want to slip and fall and get burned, or step into mud and sink.

The geothermal field reveals its wide color palette, from yellow to green to blue and purple.  Steam escapes from many vents in the Earth.

#landscape, #iceland, #geothermal, #steam, #colors, #nature
Volcanic mountains and evergreens create a peaceful backdrop to the geothermal field.
#iceland, #steam, #geothermal, #hot, #sulphur, #landscape, #photography, #nature
Speculating that sulfur deposits may account for the yellow stain on the rocks underlying the hot stream here. As the water dries on the rock, the sulfur oxidizes. Notice ruins of a building to the left near the steam vents.

 

My Solar Eclipse Chase

On June 25, I got inspired to photograph the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. I was sitting in my 97-year-old mother’s sitting room while she watched TV and I was reading articles on the Web.  Looking at a NASA map of the Zone of Totality, I estimated the cheapest flight from Pittsburgh to the Zone, would be Atlanta. I chose a site in South Carolina near the Georgia border. Concerned about supply and demand, I immediately booked plane tickets and a Hampton Inn and ordered solar glasses. Within a few days of hearing my crazy plan, my husband volunteered to come with me for moral support. My  mission to study specialized photographic techniques began.

Most helpful was the iBook “How to Photograph the Solar Eclipse” by Alan Dyer, who has traveled to numerous eclipse sites around the world. Dyer describes many different approaches and urges you to get geared up and practice. Which camera and which lens? Still photos or video? Weighing the relative difficulties of each, could I manage two set-ups, and still enjoy watching the eclipse?

I bought photographic solar filters in three sizes, an additional “Really Right Stuff” ball head for a second tripod and an intervalometer. I developed a plan to operate my Sony a7rII with a 24 mm lens and no filter on one tripod. An intervalometer would operate it automatically to take a photograph every 6 seconds for 90 minutes, so that later a time lapse video could be made. The second tripod would hold my Nikon D800 with a 200mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter (for a 280mm equivalent focal length), dedicated to taking close-ups of the Corona at Totality. Examining the options, I decided the image resulting from this set-up was my top choice. The close-up requires a solar filter to capture all the partial eclipse images.  During Totality I would remove the filter and bracket shots (ISO 100 and f/8) one stop apart from 1 second as the longest exposure to 1/1,000 second as the fastest (1 sec., 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000),  to capture the various levels of luminosity of the Corona. These images would later be combined with layers and masks to create one very special image. It was going to be tough to remain calm and also watch and wonder during Totality, as I knew I would feel really excited and Totality would last only 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

From Atlanta, we drove 2 hours north to a Hampton Inn in Hartwell, Georgia on Sunday night. On Monday morning, we left the hotel around 9am to drive another half hour to Anderson, SC to a recreational park I had pinpointed on Google Maps on Lake Hartwell. We arrived at the park, happy to find plenty of parking spaces, a lovely lake view, blue skies and a few trees to provide shade. Thanks to our Sewickley friend Sarah Hay Rawls, who lives in Atlanta now, we had some chairs to sit in while we waited 4 hours for the action to begin.

#southcarolina, #lakehartwell, #eclipse, #solareclipse, #eclipsechasing, #andersonsc, #nature
The still banks of Lake Hartwell made a serene setting to observe the day’s natural wonder.
#Sun, #solareclipse, #andersonsc, #readytogo, #nature, #photography, #lakehartwell, #eclipse
Blue skies and brilliant sunshine were a good omen as we arrived at Lake Hartwell to observe the Great American Solar Eclipse.

 

Just imagine how we felt as clouds formed just at the WRONG TIME and covered the Sun for most of the eclipse duration. Yes, weeks of focused study, a few hundred dollars in equipment, flights, hotels, rental car and two days of priceless spousal support would result in… what exactly?

Here is the image my Sony was capturing every 6 seconds. (Turn it off.) We looked at one another and shrugged.

#clouds, #solareclipse, #ithappens, #whatcanyoudo, #anderson, #southcarolina, #eclipse, #greatAmericaneclipse, #eclipse2017
While other parts of the sky remained clear, these heavy clouds covered the Sun during most of the solar eclipse as viewed from Anderson, South Carolina.

Okay, what is the good news? I captured a few close up images during the first few minutes of the partial eclipse.

#solareclipse, #greatamericaneclipse, #nikond800, #gotit, #andersonsc, #nature, #photography
We cheered as the eclipse began. My Nikon D800 was carefully focused on the Sun, so I captured the sun spots and some tonality, while the Moon took its first bite of the Sun.
#solareclipse, #greatamericaneclipse, #gotit, #andersonsc, #nikond800, #catchmeifyoucan, #nature, #photography
Clouds gave the Solar Eclipse a unique ghostly look. You can still see the sunspots. This is my favorite image.
#solareclipse, #eclipse, #partialeclipse, #clouds, #andersonsc, #nikond800, #nature, #photography, #phenomenon
Our last glimpse of the solar eclipse with clouds painting a shadow on the western edge.

The other advice that helped me manage my disappointment was from my photography mentor Gary Hart, an accomplished landscape photographer, who advised me to savor the moment and not get too involved fiddling with the camera during Totality. In fact, many solar eclipse experts emphasized that advice. Gary said, “I refuse to be so focused on getting the shot that I fail to appreciate this experience of a lifetime. I’ll take a great memory over a great photo anytime.”

We had a great experience in multiple ways — the wonderful Park family we met there, the serene setting by Hartwell Lake, the mystery of the darkening and lightening of the sky during Totality and the inexplicable special feeling that came with bearing witness to this phenomenon of Nature. I will post my video of totality in my next post.

#solareclipse, #photography, #zoneoftotality, #southcarolina, #andersonsc, #hartwelllake, #eclipsebuddies
My husband Charlie (yellow shirt) and me (blue shirt) with our eclipse buddies Don Park (left) and his son-in-law Dustin. Don is an authorized Nikon repair rep in Georgia, and Dustin works for NASA in Houston. They were as knowledgeable as they were kind!

Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl

Friday July 7 is a great evening for a one-time photography show in Pittsburgh. The ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) photographers will be exhibiting their recent personal work in the Cultural Trust Building, 4th floor: 807 Liberty Avenue. We have an annual tradition of putting on this one-night exhibit. Each year the art is diverse and fascinating, and most of the artists are there to talk to. We start at 5:30 pm. Please come meet us and enjoy dinner in the neighborhood.

These five of my prints will be on display and for sale. Hope to see you!

#white, #flowers, #may, #spring, #bluesky, #icm, #unique, #art, #nature
White dogwood in bloom on a perfect Spring day.
#pinkandgreen, #abstract, #design, #mosaic, #murano, #photography, #inspired, #VIDA, #shopvida
Murano mosaic, my new silk scarf design. Will these colors work with your summer fashion?
#newborn, #portrait, #blackandwhite, #motherandchild, #borntoday, #joy, #pride
Just a few hours after giving birth, my daughter admires her newborn baby girl. (Not for sale.)
#pittsburgh, #skyline, #mountwashington, #circular, #art, #print, #sunnyday, #photograpy
My own artistic interpretation of the Pittsburgh skyline, as seen from Mount Washington. Want a print?
#icm, #nikon, #flower, #blueandgreen, #composite
Creative shooting and processing are behind this unique image that features a peach colored flower.

To Make (not just take) an Image

In the age of iPhone photography, most people seem to think that shooting a photo is all there is to it. Well, first you have to see the image, that is pre-visualize it as an interesting two dimensional image. Next, you have to have a camera or iPhone with you. Third, you need to compose the image and click. Then, many will share the image instantly on social media. Done.

Often you will get pretty cool results with that workflow, but professionals know there is much more to image making. Much expertise goes into lens choice, camera settings for depth of field, selective focus, and then processing. My workflow includes processing first in Adobe Lightroom, then Photoshop, and sometimes even a third application such as Topaz or Nik/Google applications. The impact of this tulip image is the result of my experience with shooting choices as well as processing choices.

#NYBG, #tulip, #green, #greenandwhite, #bicolor, #contrast, #sony, #spring, #may
This high contrast image of the rare green and white tulip encourages the viewer to enjoy the detail and shape of the petals.

A non-photographer will often ask the question, “Is that photoshopped?” as if the question were really, “is it real?” I like to explain that processing a digital photo with image editing software like Lightroom and Photoshop is an essential part of the creative process. I MAKE an image. I don’t just TAKE and image. Using Photoshop to process images is, in fact, my job.

Nature Photography Calendar

As 2016 rumbles to a close, I’m preparing for a busy 2017. I expect 2017 to be a year of practice, focus and growth.  I  look forward to a July expedition to Iceland to explore and photograph the marvelous scenery there.

But we would not wish to say good-bye to the sights and memories of 2016 without a chance to reflect on them. A September trip to Hawaii and Maui provided most of my year’s photography opportunities. I’ve assembled some of the best images of 2016 in a Nature Calendar, and I am making it available to you. Measuring 14″ wide by 22″ long, it is printed on premium card stock.

#calendar, #naturephotography, #landscape, #birds, #flowers
Memorable landscape photography from Hawaii in Cathy Kelly’s 2017 Calendar can brighten your home or office, available for $26 plus shipping.

Order online here.
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Scenes that echo

As a landscape photographer, I am drawn to waterscapes everywhere I travel — from New Zealand to Hawaii and many other scenic locations. I find myself watching the surf, the rocks, the sunsets, the weather and the natural vegetation around the world.

When I encountered this scene in Maui recently, I was intrigued by the island — the way the surf had eroded it, the way the surf continued to interact with it and the vegetation that grew on it.

#lava, #island, #maui, #waterscape, #tropical, #erosion
This lava island on Maui hosts tropical vegetation, and it is constantly licked and pounded by the relentless Pacific surf.

The lava island in Maui reminded me strongly of a rocky island that caught my eye in New Zealand in 2014. The NZ island was also constantly buffeted by the surf within a bay, and supported an interesting crop of vegetation. The two islands actually look quite different, but my fascination with them made a strong echo in my mind.

#island, #newzealand, #rocks, #vegetation, #abeltasman, #waterscape, #nature, #landscape
This island in Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand also caught my eye. I was attracted to the vegetation it hosted as well as its rocky foundation and “roots” underwater.