Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In A Sea Of Dunes

In A Sea Of Dunes, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Another day, another playground made of sand. A playground for kids (young and old), a playground for photographers. Let the play begin!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mesquite Flat Dunes

Mesquite Flat Dunes, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The extensive dune field near Stovepipe Wells is by far the most heavily visited sand dune complex within Death Valley National Park, but even here you can find great views within a few short steps of the parking lot.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Return to Death Valley

Walking The Ridgeline, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The last time I took my kids to Death Valley, we had a list of places we wanted to visit, so although we had a blast on the Eureka Dunes, we had to leave before we reached the top so we could make it to The Racetrack in time for sunset.

This time we had no such agenda, so we took our sweet time wherever we went, and thoroughly enjoyed each stop. I've been to the Eureka Dunes several times, and I've captured some nice landscape images, but I really like capturing people on the dunes. We're really small in comparison, and even our footprints are nothing more than temporary intrusions. The dunes themselves often take on sinuous shapes, and the lighting of the sun can enhance our perception of the subtle curves.

The forgiving nature of the soft sand also invites playful interaction via rolling, jumping, rolling and sliding across it. The Eureka Dunes are closed to skiing and sand boarding due to several endangered species that exist only on this one dune field, but I'll definitely consider taking old ski gear with me to the other dunes in Death Valley. Life too short to avoid playing with gravity!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick Stop in Death Valley

Zig Zag, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

One of the things I like about traveling to Utah is that I get to pass through the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley on my way out and/or back! In this case I visited a few spots to re-take some old shots with my new camera.

Dune fields in particular can be exciting to re-shoot. Not only do the dunes themselves change, but the light changes literally from minute to minute, so not only are your shots new compared to the last visit, but you'll get entirely different results at different times of day.

It's particularly rewarding to shoot dunes in Death Valley, where a little sweat equity will get you to remote sands untouched by human footprints. Just make sure that you visit at a time of year when the weather will be mild, and that you bring survival supplies, particularly plenty of water. They don't call it "Death Valley' for nothing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monument Valley, Eastern Approach

The popular shot taken from mile marker 13.

Snow Arrives in Arches

What a difference a day makes! Arches National Park, Moab, Utah.

Clouds, Light Rays, and Sandstone

Sandstone Fins, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

Partly couldy days can create some spectacular shooting opportunities at Arches National Park.

Ever Get That Feeling...

That you're being watched?

Light painting on Balanced Rock at dusk in Arches National Park, Moab, Utah. I like to use flashlights for light painting, since I can control in real time the beam of light and what is lit. For larger objects such as this I use a spotlight.

On another night we went up to Delicate Arch...

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Sunrise at Mesa Arch, one of the most popular dawn shots available at Canyonlands.

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Doesn't it look like a massive collection of terra cotta lawn gnomes?

Waterpocket Fold and Capitol Reef

Waterpocket Fold, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

This is one of the water pockets...

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Bonneville Salt Flats Dawn

Now I need to wash off the salt slush caked onto my car!

Off to Utah...

Nevada Forest, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

This is what you see for about 8-10 hours crossing Nevada.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orionid Meteor Shower Tonight (October 20/21)!

Here's an article for more information:
The Orionid meteor shower is expected to put on a good show tonight into the predawn hours Wednesday, weather permitting.

This annual meteor shower is created when Earth passes through trails of comet debris left in space long ago by Halley's Comet. The "shooting stars" develop when bits typically no larger than a pea , and mostly sand-grain-sized, vaporize in Earth's upper atmosphere.

"Flakes of comet dust hitting the atmosphere should give us dozens of meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

My Interview in Photographer Magazine

I can't read it, but it looks cool! Click on the photo to go see more pics from the article on Flickr...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Free Business Card Offer from MOO

How do they turn out? Judge for yourself... mine just arrived. Double sided, high resolution, matte finish, printed on heavy cardstock, what's not to like? The only flaw is the slight white margin at the top of the photo on the contact info side.

In case you missed my notices regarding this offer on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter (JeffSull), here's where you can get your 50 free trial business cards available here from MOO for the first 10,000 Flickr users: www.moo.com/en/partner/flickr-business-cards

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Upcoming Meteor Showers for Fall 2009

As you plan where and when you might want to get out and shoot during the rest of 2009, consider the following meteor showers coming up:
Orionid - Oct 20-22
"October's new Moon also perfectly favours the Orionids at their peak in 2009. The shower's radiant, near the celestial equator, is at a useful elevation by around local midnight in either hemisphere, somewhat before in the north, so most of the world can enjoy the shower."
Northern Taurids - Nov 12
"The NTA peak has only a waning crescent Moon, however. With near-ecliptic radiants, all meteoricists can observe these streams, albeit northern hemisphere observers are somewhat better-placed, as here suitable radiant zenith distances persist for much of the night, though from the southern hemisphere, a good 3-5 hours' watching around local midnight is possible with Taurus well above the horizon."
Leonid - Nov 17
"Luckily, new Moon on November 16 ensures perfectly dark skies for covering whatever events happen"
"the 21h-22h UT apparently critical interval will fall best chiefly for sites across Asia, from the extreme east of Europe eastwards to Japan and places at similar longitudes, but with the possibility of some unusual activity at almost any stage from ~ 6h-24h UT on November 17, only European and African longitudes look set to miss out."
Geminid - Dec 13/14
"One of the finest, and probably the most reliable, of the major annual showers presently observable, whose peak this year is virtually coincident with new Moon."
More information:

The Tuarids will peak on November 12 during the photography workshop that I'll be conducting in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Nov 11-14:

Hope you can join us!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fall Isn't Just Colorful Leaves

I've decided not to upload most of these photos to Flickr. The site is simply too delicate to risk having people find it and trample it into oblivion!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fall Colors in the Eastern Sierra

I arrived at North Lake October 1, only to discover that I missed the peak color by a day or two due to a wind storm that blew off the best red to yellow colors on the far hillside. The color present a few days ago seems to have partially blown off the trees, partially turned towards brown, but there were still some green leaves, leaving the possibility of more color in a few days.

You can find decent color in patches if you look hard enough, but the best color might not be until more of the green starts to change at lower elevations, perhaps late next week?

By the time I returned here Sunday morning, there was about 2-3" of snow by the lake. The same thing happened last year, a dusting of snow around the end of September, early October. It was a little heavier this time, and there were prints from a dozen horses and mules as the packer started in around dawn to rescue their customers from the likely 4-6" of snow higher up. There were about 6-8 snow-covered cars in the parking lot by the pack station, people off in the backcountry, most likely experiencing heavier snow. I'd like to see their pictures!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Watch the National Parks Special Every Night This Week!

FYI, a treat for anyone who enjoys America's national parks:

Check this link for times and channels in your area:
Even if you missed the first episode Sunday night (Yosemite, Yellowstone, John Muir, etc.), each episode is repeated later in the week (check the schedule for details).

Here are sample showing times that I looked up for DirecTV on the West Coast:

Monday, September 28 — 08:00pm
0006 - KVIE
The Last Refuge (1890-1915)
The years 1890 to 1915, when many Americans feared industrialization would negatively impact the country's pristine lands, are recalled. With Congress yet to establish authority or appropriations for park protection, a conservation movement begins.
duration: 150 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Tuesday, September 29 — 04:00am
0006 - KVIE
The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) (repeat of Sunday's premiere)
The sumptuously filmed history of America's national parks begins in 1851, when California's beautiful Yosemite Valley started to attract people who wished to exploit the land, and others, like John Muir, who believed it should be preserved.
duration: 120 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Tuesday, September 29 — 08:00pm
0006 - KVIE
The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)
The years 1915-19, when the conservation movement successfully pressured the federal government to create the National Park Service to oversee the nation's national parks, are recalled.
duration: 120 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Wednesday, September 30 — 08:00pm
0006 - KVIE
Going Home (1920-1933)
The years 1920-33, when the automobile enabled more people to visit the national parks, are recalled. Included: National Park Service director Stephen Mather pushes to build more roads in the parks.
duration: 120 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Thursday, October 01 — 08:00pm
0922 - KVIE
Great Nature (1933-1945)
The years 1933-45 are recalled. Included: the Civilian Conservation Corps are created during the Depression to undertake renovation projects in the national parks; NPS biologist George Melendez Wright pushes to reform the NPS's wildlife policies.
duration: 120 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Friday, October 02 — 08:00pm
0006 - KVIE
The Morning of Creation (1946-1980)
The series finale covers the years 1946-80. Following World War II, the parks see a dramatic increase in visitors, resulting in a billion-dollar campaign to improve facilities and infrastructure.
duration: 120 min
details: [HD] | [cc] [stereo] [ed taping rights: 1 year]

Monday, September 28, 2009

UT/AZ: Hike to the Wave

"The Wave" in the Coyote Buttes near Page, Arizona. To get one of the 10 next day permits to hike here, I had to enter the daily 9am drawing on two consecutive days. On those days, 67 and 63 people showed up hoping to obtain a permit. On the second day they give you two chances, on the third day they give you three chances.

UT/AZ: Hike to Wahweap Hoodoos

Light painting in southern Utah. The yellow was painted with a headlamp using an incandescent bulb, and the blue one was painted with an LED headlamp.

Trip to UT/AZ: Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. I'd like to take some people around this area in early November.