Reaching for the Sky

Reaching for the Sky

This is another older photo taken years ago (notice the grain from the Tri-X). And no, it doesn’t involve any manipulation. I had a (non-claustrophobic) friend crawl inside this driftwood and stick his arm out one of the holes.

High Country Meadows

The Rough “Trail” to Martin’s Park

Some spots in the high country are easier to get to than others. The ones that are easy to get to tend to be crowded. The ones that are harder to get to are … well, harder to get to. The result is that there typically are a lot fewer folks and the impact is less. That also means the trails tend to be rougher … or sometimes look nothing like a trail so much as a track through the meadows. Martin’s Park is one of those … it sits in a remote portion of the Olympic National Park with a minimum of a 16 mile hike to get there (and that’s the short route). There are quite a few folks that hike close to it … it sits near the Low Divide, on one of the main routes for those wishing to traverse the Olympic Park. The crossing now runs just about 50 miles … so those doing the hike tend to not have a lot of extra time for side trips. It’s beautiful country, though.

Trail through Martin’s Park
Stream and Flower Garden
Rock and Flowers 1
Rock and Flowers 2

Amargosa Hotel

The Amargosa Hotel

Outside the eastern boundary of Death Valley National Park is the Death Valley Historic District and the Amargosa Hotel. The hotel is a small establishment that doesn’t provide a lot of onsite entertainment. There is a coffee shop across the parking lot, but the menu is limited. There are a lot of rooms that are not available due to a lack of enough business to pay for the refurbishing and maintenance. The highlight of the area is the old Opera House … and the painted walls and ceiling that tells the story of the once thriving mining district community. Access to the Opera House is by tour only.

Amargosa Hotel Veranda
Amargosa Hotel Peeling Paint

Wide Angle v Panorama

Dosewallips Road (Trail)

The Dosewallips Road is washed out in a couple of places and is now a 6 mile trail to the old car campground. The trail (road) starts in the Olympic National Forest and runs up into the Olympic National Park. This shot is just about at the trailhead … and shows what it looks like in mid-March. (except it’s usually cloudy and raining). It was shot with a 24-84mm zoom lens set at 24mm. A pretty typical wide angle lens without a lot of “wide angle” distortion.

Now look at the image below, which was taken with the same lens set at the same 24mm. However, in this case I have taken a series of images in the landscape format and stitched them together using Lightroom’s Photo Merge>Panorama option. This results in a much different image … I chose to continue higher into the overhead … but is also has a different viewpoint, since much of the sides were eliminated in the merging process.

I like them both, but they certainly have a different feel to them … you can always turn a series of images into a panorama, but the visual impact is different. And, if you aren’t careful with your exposure settings, you can get a result that doesn’t merge well. The bottom image was taken using “Auto” exposure control and as I moved the camera up to where the sky was in the image, the exposure changed. All I could do was to throw out those images where the exposure didn’t match and you can see the result: the image doesn’t extend to ground level.

Panorama of the Dosewallips Road (Trail)
Panorama without the ground level view

Oh Boy, New Toy

Point Wilson Lighthouse — slightly cropped

Photographers generally enjoy getting new equipment. I always find that a new lens or camera will inspire me to go experiment and try to find new ways of seeing. One of my favorite subjects for photography is the moon: very thin crescent moons, full moons near the horizon or eclipses (lunar or solar). I have used different lenses for these shots, but didn’t really have a long lens … so I would end up cropping a lot.

I recently treated myself to Nikon’s 500mm f/5.6 PF lens. This lens is a Fresnel type … and I tried it out shooting the Point Wilson lighthouse … which I thought was appropriate, since the lens in the light of a lighthouse is a typical use for Fresnel optics. The advantage of a Fresnel lens is that it is shorter than a standard lens design, and typically lighter weight … plus (big advantage here) cheaper. (not to say ‘cheap’ … but at least somewhat cheaper … the Nikon standard version runs nearly 3 times the price of the Fresnel version)

I’m looking forward to shooting some moon shots … just as soon as we have some clear weather here in Western Washington.

Point Wilson Lighthouse — full image *
Point Wilson Lighthouse detail — cropped at 1:1

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