Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Delicate Arch

At the end of this month I am returning to one of my favorite places, Arches and Canyon Lands National Parks. The last time I was there I hiked to Delicate Arch and while the walk is about a mile and a half and up hill most of the way, it is well worth the effort.

It is difficult to capture how large this arch actually is without something included in the image to help give the viewer a perspective.  In the image above you can see a man and two children posing for a picture at he base of the arch.

The North Window

In another part of Arches there is a location called The Windows.  There is a North Window and a South Window.  The North window is often photographed in the morning light with a view of Turret Arch through the window.   This image was taken in the very early morning hours. It doesn't include Turret Arch but I love the feel of this image.  For me it conveys a sense of mystery and an expectation of things to come.

If you enjoyed these images you may want to visit BobHartPhotography to see more of Bob's fine art landscape photography.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Always Look Behind You

Sometimes in order to get the shot you want you may find yourself compelled to take certain actions (chances) that you would likely never do under so called normal circumstances. It is that part of photography where the photographer gets a little fixated, obsessiveness clicks in; reason, caution, and common sense seem to just disappear.

I had a small dose of this hit me while exploring for shots at Arch Rock Viewpoint in Boardman State Park on the coast of Oregon. I found the shot I wanted but I could not find a clear shot of it, one without obstructions in the way, from any of the designated viewing locations. I could see that if I could just get a little closer to the edge of the cliff I would likely have the perspective and the open view I wanted. The fence was a low one, only about three feet high, and there were no signs saying to not climb over it. And the clincher was, there was no one else around.

I hopped the fence and made my way closer to the edge. Then seeing that if I could move to my right I would be in better position. The problem was the steepness of the bank. I sat down and clinging to the low-lying shrubbery I inched my way ever so gradually about 20 feet and into position. The result was the picture above. The angle of the log gives an indication of the degree of steepness with which I was dealing.

Always Look Behind You

“Always remember to look behind you” is a mantra I carry around with me in the field. Though it was awkward to maneuver my camera and tripod around to get this shot behind me I felt if was definitely worth the trouble and I was grateful those familiar words were available to prompt me.

To see more of Bob's fine art landscape photography click here

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Smuggler Cove, Oregon

Just a few miles north of the little town of Manzanita Oregon is a beach called Smuggler Cove. It is a popular beach for surfers and the parking can be difficult if the surf is good. But early in the morning it is deserted. By early, I mean well before sunrise. It is not a long walk to the beach and the trail is very good but a flashlight is required in the dark as there are plenty of things to trip on.

On this morning the moon, which was nearly full, was just settling down into the horizon creating a very magical moment. To be alone with the sounds of the surf, the smell of the ocean, a cool gentle breeze and scenery like this – what more could a person ask for?

It was low tide on the two occasions I visited this beach so much of it was exposed. But you can see that with the very gradual slope of the beach when the tide rises the beach will be covered with water and I suspect the waves must give the surfers quite a ride. Aside from that, this was such a peaceful setting it makes me feel dreamy all over again.

As it was low tide I went in search of starfish and found this little group all huddled together:
Whatever it is that is harming the starfish population, it did not seem to be present on this rock.

As I was leaving I saw this surfboard alone on the beach awaiting the arrival of its owner, who did indeed show up just as I finished taking this image.  We talked and exchanged emails.  Turns out he is a professional videographer working in Portland.  Ah, another good morning.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lovely Beach, Dangerous Surf

Indian Beach is a lovely beach in Oregon with the typically gentle slope of the sand out to the ocean. Waves come in spreading out over the beach leaving a wonderfully reflective surface. I will often find myself in the surf with my tripod and camera. To keep the tripod steady I dig the legs down as deep and I can into the sand. This helps to keep the incoming waves from shaking the tripod during long exposures. It also means I will probably take several shots from that one spot, since I went to so much trouble to get things really set and stable.

Therein lies a big risk: standing still in the surf you will find your feet sinking imperceptibly deeper and deeper into the sand. The combination of water and sand will hold onto your feet as if it were a giant suction cup holding your feet. Now comes a bigger than usual wave, you begin to lose balance and as you pull up with one foot it is held down by the suction, you wrench free, stepping back only to find the action of the surf has created a hole in the sand behind you where you stepped and now your balance is completely gone, the wave tumbles over you and everything you have with you, including yourself, is under water. Or at the very least soaking wet.

Unforgiving Ocean Ruins Gear

This is what happened to a friend of mine on this day on Indian Beach. Not only was he soaking wet; his camera was ruined. His cell phone was ruined. And to top it off, the electronic key to his car, which had no mechanical lock, was inoperable. He could not get into his car. Just another reminder that no matter how soothing the sound of the surf may be, or how pleasant and calming the beauty, the ocean is unforgiving.

Images from Indian Beach:

All three of these images were taken with long exposures in order to achieve a smoother, softer silky look.  This was a trip during which I had planned to do a lot of these kinds of shots.  To become a good landscape photographer one must be willing to experiment, stretch the capabilities of yourself and your camera and learn what you can do.  Eventually, if you are persistent and perhaps a bit lucky, a style will develop that really speaks to you and becomes a form of self expression.  Reminds me of the photographer's statement,  "I don't photograph what is out there, I photograph what is inside of me." When that happens you are in the zone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bandon to Manzanita

This morning I am still in Bandon, Oregon, and plan to grab some images, get cleaned up, eat breakfast and drive to Manzanita. First its grab the images. There is a minus tide this morning so there will be some unique opportunities: starfish. When the tide goes out it exposes the lower levels of the rocks on the beaches along with the pools of water surrounding them. I have heard the starfish population has been suffering of late due to, I am told, some kind of virus.  I am hoping they are not all gone.  I am anxious to get to the beach at first light, and since it is right across the street from where I am staying I am very pleased.

The beach is so different this morning from the night before. It as if I had relocated to and entirely new location.

One of the signature images here is Face Rock which is what the beach is named after, Face Rock Beach.

There is beauty here in the mornings that was totally unexpected given what I had experienced the night before.

 And the tide is really out, it is a minus tide this morning so the starfish are observable, but there are not as many as I understand used to be here in years past.

Now it is off to Manzanita, which I am expecting to be a totally pleasant drive. Well it was, mostly, until I got to Lincoln which is three towns combined into one rather long town and it seemed there was a stop light every hundred feet and all the lights were red and and the traffic was thick and I had to get to Manzanita by 6 p.m! Guess I should not have lingered at Cape Perpetua.  Oh well, relax and enjoy.