WELCOME TO MY BLOG...MY THOUGHTS ON LANDSCAPE, TRAVEL AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY PLUS SOME HINTS ON GEAR AND PHOTOGRAPHY IN GENERAL
It has been quite some time since I've updated my blog. If you've had an occasion to visit my website you will have noticed periodic additions of new images and galleries from my travels in the American West and in the Pacific region.
About a year ago Kathy and I decided that we wanted to relax and travel more. At the same time I was hesitant to give up Earth & Light Gallery which I've immensely enjoyed. The gallery has enabled me to meet wonderful people from all over the world. Almost without exception everyone has been gracious. I take pride in the fact that thousands of people have enjoyed my photographic work enough to purchase prints, cards and DVDs. I thank you all for that support.
In early February, 2015, Kathy and I will be closing our gallery location in the Kayenta Art Village. However, it won't go away. Cherie and George Stoddard at Gallery 873, located literally across the street in the Kayenta Art Village, will continue to display, sell and accept custom orders for my images. I will, of course, continue to expand my website with new images from travels and return trips to shoot here in the American Southwest.
As I told close friends a few months ago, my two personal favorite locales in the world are the red rock country of Utah and the St. George/Ivins area in particular, and tropical islands. It's now time for the Islands Chapter in our lives—Kathy and I will be moving to Hawaii at the end of February.
We have chosen to move to Hawaii – The Big Island. The Big Island is home to 11 of the world's 13 climate zones. There are as many different climate zones of the island of Hawaii as exist along the entire west coast of North America stretching from Alaska to Costa Rica. This diversity in landscape and weather provides wonderful photographic opportunities. We have chosen a new home located safely away from Pele's current lava flow.
If you live in the St. George/southern Utah area, I invite you to come by and visit once again before we move. You can continue to reach me by email or phone. Thanks again for ten wonderful years here at Kayenta in Ivins.
Twenty or so years ago, the iconic peaks of Patagonia were relatively unknown. Now, Mt. FitzRoy at Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina and the peaks of Torres del Paine in Chile, are well known among adventure seekers and landscape/nature/travel photographers. Photographer friend Laurent Martres and I decided to venture into some new territory unknown to most North Americans and just being discovered by the rest of the world. We're in Brazil for a bit over two weeks to explore and photograph Chapada Diamantina and Lencois Maranhenses National Parks. Both are relatively unknown and are extreme opposites from each other. They represent, in my opinion, two of the most striking landscape locations in all of Brazil and will likely in the future become as well known as the parks at the other end of the South American continent.
Our trip was not quick. On top of the usual and unpredictable airline delays, the trip requires four to five flight segments, depending where you live in the USA. My trip started in St. George Utah, on to Salt Lake City and Atlanta, then overnight to Brasilia and a connecting flight to Salvador on the Brazilian coast. And finally, a connecting flight which I had severe doubts of making...but did...to Lencois, the gateway town to the Chapada Diamantina region. My total travel time from St. George to Lencois was 36 hours.
After recovering from our flights, we spent the first day on a half day trek to have a look at water falls near the town of Lencois. The water runs dark red to near black as a result of the decaying matter and resultant release of tannic acids. Many of the attractions are in the Chapada region rather than within the boundaries of the park. The sights include underground water pools that yield a beautiful blow glow when struck by sunlight, as a result of naturally occurring minerals in the water. Park travel distances can be far, sometimes well over a 100 miles to reach one specific feature.
Chapada Diamantina is a huge park with some hikes lasting several days or more and requiring substantial physical effort. If you visualize a combination of Canyonlands National Park and Monument Valley in Utah, but with greenery and forests rather than desert, and you throw in some waterfalls and rivers for good measure, you have a sense of what Chapada Diamantina is all about....mesas, valleys, caves, vertical formations and lots of water. Many of the roads and trails within the park were developed by diamond miners in the early to mid 1800s.
Here are a few selected pictures from my visit to Chapada Diamantina. More will follow in a new gallery that I will add shortly to my website, along with complete descriptions. Next week: Lencois Maranhenses National Park located on the northern Brazilian coast and unlike any other place on the planet.
Tyler Webb and I will be offering the first of our photography clinics during the month of June. The scheduled date is the afternoon/evening of June 25th. It will be limited to a group of no more than six individuals and is designed to enable beginning photographers notch up their skills quickly to an intermediate level. The clinic will cover the basics of composition, appropriate gear and lens, on site shooting instruction and post processing. We won't cover any aspects of photography not related to landscape or nature shooting...so don't expect to attend our clinic and begin shooting weddings! Call 435.673.2805 for more details.
MPIX, the online fulfillment service for Zenfolio, the organization that hosts my website, announced last evening a short lived special of 20% off any purchase made before 11:59 PM CDT, June 12. You may use the coupon code: E&LGallery . You will receive a 20% discount from the purchase price at checkout of any paper print ordered through the website and fulfilled by MPIX. I highly suggest you take advantage and in particular, try the new Fuji Lustre Metallic Paper. The colors and depth are stunning. For those of you interested in images on canvas I will match the same discount to any canvas purchase (wrapped or unwrapped) through June 16th but you must call me directly at 435.673.2805 or email me detailing the image and size you are interested in and I will respond.
I recently made my first of several trips to an area called Yant Flat. It is near St. George, Utah and is a geologic formation that more rivals The Wave, White Pocket, Coyote Buttes, or any number of areas in the American Southwest. I've started a gallery of images from Yant Flat and I will be adding more. Here is a panorama from a sunrise at Yant Flat. I invite you to check out my new Yant Flat gallery at www.cdwood.zenfolio.com.
Winter months offer me the opportunity to add new galleries as well as update existing galleries on this website. I've recently added galleries from South America and the southwestern US. I invite you to have a look at images from some of my previous travels to Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. I will be posting additions in the days ahead. Here are some selected images from those galleries
Foggy Morning at Snow Canyon
Panoramic view of the stark Atacama desert in northern Chile
Rush hour on the Dali Desert in SW Bolivia - Elevation approx. 14,000 feet
Sunset at Torres del Paine , Chilean Patagonia
The Five Faces - Davis Canyon, Canyonlands National Park
Joshua Tree by Moonlight - Joshua Tree National Park
I am frequently asked if I offer photography classes and in the past I've been reluctant to try and offer a structured class. Recently, however, after some discussion with Tyler Webb, a talented young photographer/videographer and outdoor guide, who assists me at Earth & Light Gallery on a regular basis, we've decided to offer a basic photography class. This class will quickly get you up to speed with the skills needed to effectively photograph landscape and nature settings in the southwest. We're finalizing time frames and details but we expect to offer classes twice a month. We will also cover the very important basics of simple, effective image processing. If you want to maximize your efforts, you never let your camera make all the decisions!
More details with dates and locations of classes will be emailed within the next two weeks.
The end of August signals the gradual arrival of cooler temps in the American Southwest. By mid-September temperatures are moderating to the point that moderately strenuous photography hikes are not unreasonable. Recently, my friend Laurent Martres and I visited a new hike location and revisited another.
The first of the fall season was a twelve mile round trip day hike along the historic Boulder (Utah) Mail Trail to the mouth of Death Hollow and return. Until the 1920s, mail was delivered to Boulder, Utah from Escalante, Utah by pack animals over a very arduous and sometimes dangerous route. The Mail Trail, as it is called, roughly follows the same path of the early telephone line that connected Boulder to the outside world. The hike begins over a moderately easy route for the first several miles, gradually descending across high desert grassland and then arriving at an area of slick rock and a climb up to a higher plateau, then descending again hundreds of feet down over another expanse of slick rock into Death Hollow. I've posted a series of documentary images from this hike in a new gallery addition to this site:
Late September/early October is typically the time of year to view autumn colors at higher elevations. I recently did a full moon hike from the trail head at Lava Point in the Zion National Park back country, to the West Rim. My last hike of the Zion back country, from Kolob to the main canyon, was over ten years ago in springtime, with overnight camping along the way and hiking during the daytime. Hiking under a full moon with pleasant temperatures is an amazing and totally different experience. Using a powerful new LED headlamp that is actually bright enough to throw a beam of brilliant white light for several blocks, I was able to sweep the areas around the trails as we hiked, seeing deer and other tiny eyes reflecting the brilliant light back. The other 'tiny eyes' turned out to be spiders in the grasses and along the trail. The numbers of arachnids out at night is truly amazing!
The distance to the West Rim overlook is approximately eight miles but we arrived just in time for dawn and sunrise photography, and to witness the amazing transition of light and color from dawn to sunrise and daytime.
A VIEW AT DAWN FROM WEST RIM TRAIL, ZION NATIONAL PARK - SHOT WITH PENTAX 645D
FIRST LIGHT AT SUNRISE, WEST RIM, ZION NATIONAL PARK - SHOT WITH PENTAX 645D
Retracing our route after completing our morning photo shoot, we were treated to some amazing fall colors, particularly on the return descent into Potato Hollow. The dramatic golds and red colors currently visible at the higher elevations in Zion National Park would seem to indicate that we will witness an outstanding year in the main lower canyon within a week or two.
FALL COLORS, WEST RIM TRAIL DESCENDING INTO POTATO HOLLOW
ZION NATIONAL PARK BACK COUNTRY - SHOT WITH PENTAX 645D, 35MM LENS/POLARIZER
Taking advantage of the magenta and purple hues from the pre-sunrise alpenglow means using a tripod and setting your camera on manual, rather than an automatic exposure mode. The level of light at pre-sunrise will be too low for handheld shots. You should also change your ISO (sensitivity settings) to ISO 100 or 200. Letting your camera automatically adjust the ISO to enable handheld shooting is a tradeoff. The camera will select a higher ISO setting resulting in potentially much noisier (equivalent to film grain) images with poorer color, contrast and detail.
To obtain the richest, most brilliant fall colors from trees and foliage, a polarizer is a must-have item. By shooting foliage at a 90 degree angle to the sun and adjusting the polarizer, you can dramatically reduce reflections that wash out or weaken color.
I will be away during the middle of the month for a back country hike in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, over near Moab, Utah. More to come.