Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

High Dune, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

A couple enjoys the sunset from High Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. There was a second couple at the top as well, and they both left shortly after I arrived so they could make it back without lights. I had a headlamp, flashlight, and extra batteries, so I spent about 15 minutes at the top alone, watching the sunset colors evolve and subside.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Bachelor Party, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Several bull elk jostle for position to try to win favor with several cow elk above treeline in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The scene was chaos as the females tried to stay together while the males tried to separate them and chase each other away. Near the highest point in the road at an elevation of approximately 12,000 feet, the air was thin and we were all gasping for breath as the drama played out. The stalemate continued as the group disappeared over the ridge, into the sunset.

This is dawn at Bear Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park, This was the most red sunrise that I've ever seen. The camera didn't capture the darkness of the shade of red on the mountains.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Snake River Overlook? Not Quite...

Snake River III, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

This is one of themost dangerous places I've shot from. I don't recommend it. I felt like I should have had a helmet and ropes to get to and out of this spot, but the sunrise was progressing and I had to crawl down to the small standing spot to get the shot. I could figure out how to get out when that time came.

Before climbing out I planned for a major wipeout and put everything in my regular pockets into zippered pockets in case I took the very steep 200 foot tumble into the trees below. I seriously considered making an "if I don't call back in 15 minutes, send a helicopter or ambulence to this location" call on my cell phone!

It's on an exposed 50 degree slope of loose round river stones on top of loose crumbly, dusty dirt. It's what ski areas would classify as a double black diamond ski slope, and I'd definitley feel safer on it in the winter with skis on (5 feet of razor sharp metal edge would hold a lot better than my worn out sneakers). The problem with falling on a hard surface is that there's nothing to stlow or stop your fall, and within 2 or 3 rotations you can start to "tomahawk" where you tumble head over heels and only your head and feet hit the surface. With virtualy no friction you accelerate rapidly. Until you hit something.

Now two days later, my calves are still cramping from balancing on that extremely uneven and unstable slope for over an hour.

If you try to reach this spot, have sturdy boots that can kick footholds into the hill (where possible) and have your hands free for holding on for dear life. Don't assume that i'm exxaggerating on that last part, and don't say that I didn't warn you!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grand Teton Sunset Reflection

Oxbow Bend Sunset, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park.

Yellowstone: Third Time's a Charm?

Lamar Valley Sunset, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

This was my third trip to Yellowstone to explore photographic opportunities there. On this trip I intentionally sought out different locations and vantage points, and I'm really pleased with the results. I'll try to get them uploaded soon!

Clypsidra Geyser at Dawn
Grand Prismatic Spring.

On My Next Trip!

Angel Lake, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

This is Angel Lake, a nice place to take a break from driving across Nevada. It's in the Ruby Mountains about 10 miles from the town of Wells, where I turn north towards Idaho when I'm on my way to Wyoming or Montana.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yes, I Do Weddings!

Patrick & Xiaolan's Wedding, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Part of the enjoyment I get from photography is the wealth of problem-solving opportunities you are presented with as light changes during the day. At a wedding you have those opportunites galore: sunlight, shade, diffuse window light, incandescent, flash, and a mixture of any two or three of those. Each problem is a creative opportunity, exactly the kind of environment that I enjoy shooting in.

Obviously my background with landscape and travel photos makes me particularly well suited to cover outdoor and destination weddings, but I have all the tools I need for indoor services, rehearsals and receptions as well. Whether your wedding is in San Francisco or Spain, consdider the creativity and wide range of skills that I can bring to your wedding photography.

What's Next

In September and October I'll revisit incredible mountain, desert and canyon landscapes in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California.

Here's my current best estimate for my schedule:

Sep 14 Reno Air Races
Sep 15-18 Grand Teton Nat'l Park Fall Colors
(Sep 14-16 Full moon rise/set shots)
Sep 20-21 Rocky Mouontain National Park
Sep 22 Great Sand Dunes National Park
Sep 23-26 Colorado Fall Colors: Maroon Bells, Dallas Divide, etc
Sep 27-29: Arches/Canyonlands National Parks, UT
Sep 29-30 Goblin Valley, Zebra, Spooky, Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyons
Oct 1-3 Bryce, Zion, Valley of Fire State Park, NV
Oct 4-5 Alabama Hills, Bristlecone Pines,
Oct 5-9 Calif. Eastern Sierra Fall Colors

I'll try to upload photos and notes as I go!

Animal Ark in Reno

Animal Ark, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Animal Ark is an animal rescue and retirements center near Reno Nevada. Their birds of prey show is particularly good, but they also have a selection of felines plus wolves, bears, and so on.
Call ahead to make sure that you make it in tme for the bird show. It's held shortly after their opening time of 10am while the air is cooler and denser, facilitating the flight of the raptors.

It's an excellent place to go after an event such as the Great Reno Balloon Race (the weekend after Labor Day), and it's very close to the Reno Air Races on the following weekend as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Great Reno Balloon Race

Ballooner Eclipse, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is an annual event held on the weekend following Labor Day. This is the second year I've attended the event and I'm sure that I'll return many times in the future.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Burning Man 2008

Black Rock City, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Black Rock City is a temporary city of about 50,000 people who converge on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the Burning Man event.

The central circle that holds most of the art, including the man to be burned at the center, is 1.5 miles in diameter, an area of nearly 5 square miles. The art continues out onto the surface of the dry lakebed of Lake Lahontan for several more square miles.

I walked about 6 to 12 miles per day to see everything that I could see, but I probably saw less than 5% of what was there. Next time I'll bring a bike!