The Wild West near Joshua Tree National Park

Black and White photographs feel timeless, don’t they? Looking at a black and white image of a scene from the olden days seems right to me. When we visited Pioneertown near Joshua Tree National Park, I found some old style buildings like this Feed Store. As I stood on the dirt road, I admired the low evening sun shining from the right on this big Joshua Tree and the wood barn.

As I processed this image, I emulated the look of an infared light photograph by darkening the sky. The foliage was naturally bright from the sunlight. A really good black and white image includes a simple and balanced composition, bold shapes and interesting textures. This image checked all the boxes for me.

#wildwest, #pioneertown, #joshuatree, #joshuatreenationalpark, #socal, #thingstodo, #barn, #blackandwhite, #infared, #photography, #travelphotography, #sonyalpha
Scene from Pioneertown near Joshua Tree National Park. Enjoy the shapes and textures in this black and white rendering.

If you arrive in Pioneertown in the late afternoon as we did, you can enjoy dinner and the unique ambiance of the iconic restaurant Pappy and Harriet’s, but you will need a reservation.

Thinking in Black and White

I’m challenging myself with learning a new discipline in photography. The first step is having a digital mirrorless camera converted to capture infared light, and I’m learning about the techniques for capturing and processing these new types of images. But the camera won’t be back in my hands for a few weeks.

In the meantime, I was daydreaming about the places I would love to photograph with the infared camera — like the Florida Everglades and Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. With the limitations on travel during the pandemic, those excursions will come to pass down the road.

The scenery of Joshua Tree is fresh in my mind, since I visited the park in 2018. I decided to process one of my color photographs in black and white, as a first step in my journey to see in black and white. What do you think?

#joshuatree, #jtnp, #joshuatreenationalpark, #blackandwhite, #silverefexpro, #nik, #nikon, #shapes, #texture, #contrast, #california, #landscape, #photography, #nature, #desert, #adobe
I love the bold silhouettes as well as the textures in the Joshua Trees found in the high desert of California. A monochrome image makes the image more about shapes, textures and contrast, as it subtracts color. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro.

Finding Reflections in Sedona

If you can find a reflection of your main subject in a landscape photograph, you will create a unique image that will hold the viewer’s attention even longer. Sometimes, you need to be a bit creative to find those reflections as big lakes don’t appear on command. When I noticed a few puddles in the red rock flats of Red Rock Crossing, I lined myself up to see if I could see a reflection. What I found was quite an interesting foreground.

While this puddle only captured a portion of Cathedral Rock, I liked the pattern formed by the red rocks in the foreground as well as the leading line (left to center) that links the red rock plateau with the trees.

A good foreground and middle ground leading to the focal point of the image leads the eye through the image and allows the whole image to work together for a pleasing visual experience. The soft side lighting of sunset also enhances the tranquility of the image.

I hope this scene inspires you to visit Sedona and explore the many trails and viewpoints. Sedona is just 90 minutes’ drive north of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. Keep an eye on this online gallery for more of my unique Sedona landscapes. Prints of many different sizes can be ordered online.

From the Brooklyn Bridge

Early morning is a great time to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, because it’s not too crowded. On this cloudy and windy morning, I was a little sad that I missed the clear blue skies of the day before, but in the end I think the clouds enhance the image.

#brooklynbridge, #manhattan, #skyline, #lightroom, #iconic, #thingstodo, #nyc, #newyorkcity, #travel
Looking west toward Manhattan, you can see the Millennium Tower in the center of the skyline.

This photograph was shot with Sony and processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar 2018. Lightroom does a great job of correcting the distortion created by a wide angle lens.

Back to the moment when I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, winter is here! I had to hold on to my hat as I coped with the wind on the East River.

Inside The Vessel

This wide angle photography taken inside New York City’s iconic structure The Vessel shows the beauty and rhythm of its geometry. Judging from the size of the people climbing the Vessel, you can appreciate its size.

The entertainment value of the Vessel is so high, that I didn’t feel the least bit tired climbing to the top.

In this image, you can simultaneously observe the Hudson River, the rail yards, the top of the Vessel, the intriguing blue circle at the core and the elevator track on the lower left. More on that blue circle later!

I feel the best aspect of the image is the symmetry of the staircases. Does the childhood board game “Chutes and Ladders” come to mind? The copper outlines really stand out against the dark grey flooring and glass panels. I just love this design!

You can find The Vessel in Hudson Yards by taking the New York City subway 7 train to its western terminus.

The Glistening Bow River

From the summit of Sulphur Mountain, high above Banff, let’s travel down to the Bow River flowing past the village of Banff. Enjoy a scenic walk with me into Banff past the falls and across the pedestrian bridge. On this day, there was plenty of sunshine, fresh air and no sound but the rushing water and the gravel underfoot.

The clear rushing waters below the falls lead the eye toward the distant mountains of Banff National Park.

This image will be included in the 2020 wall calendar Cathy just designed, featuring photographs of the Canadian Rockies. Send Cathy an email if you would like to reserve a calendar for yourself or a holiday gift.

Is the Banff Gondola Worth the Price?

For my birthday this year, I got a ride on the Banff Gondola, which included an easy hike along a mountaintop boardwalk with views in all directions. At $51 to $63 per person, the excursion is pretty expensive, but I’d say it was totally worth it.

As long as the valley is not fogged in, the views of the mountains, the Fairmont and the town of Banff are amazing from the top.

I will be posting some of my photos from the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Today (and everyday) you can check the webcam there to see how the view changes with the seasons. As of October 10, the mountains are covered in snow.

Can I walk on this lake?

Gazing at the clarity of the rocks under water and the clarity of the reflection on the lake, I’m not sure what would happen if I stepped into this lake… Would my sneakers get wet as I balanced and slid on those round rocks? Or is the lake surface really reflective glass that would allow me to walk across?

Jasper Park Lodge sits unnoticed on the far side of this mirror lake in Alberta, Canada.

I have to give my husband Charlie all the credit for suggesting that we walk a few miles back from the town of Jasper to the Jasper Park Lodge. We approached the Lodge along the lake and golf course on a perfect September afternoon.

Vibrant Moraine Lake

Even in a steady rain, the vibrant color of Moraine Lake in Alberta Canada is striking. Add some fall color for contrast, and include some fallen tree trunks for foreground elements, and you the viewer are right there with me, walking along the lake’s edge.

Walking along Moraine Lake in the rain, we admired the Canadian Rockies and their glaciers.

Finding Moose in Jasper

Our current trip to the Canadian Rockies has afforded little time to process photos and write blogs, but I wanted to take a hot second in Banff to process and share one of my fun wildlife photos.

We caught this young bull moose foraging along the roadside in Jasper National Park. Had to stay in the vehicle as moose (as well as elk and bear) can be quite dangerous.

Stay tuned for many more photos of the amazing landscape of the Canadian Rockies. I recommend this trip to Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff to everyone I know, especially in the Fall.