Sunset in the Badlands

 

Over the past year and a half, I have discovered many beautiful places in this country, and camped in sites that provided gorgeous vistas, but few compare to this place: the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, which is immediately outside the Badlands National Park (and managed by the US Forest Service). I boondocked here in the Escape for a single evening last month, and was utterly captivated by the vastness of the landscape and its quietude. The camping spots were primitive, and there were about 20 campers along the ridge over a few miles, but it still felt like my own personal park. (The gentleman sitting on the right of the trailer in this shot was strumming on a guitar, which provided a lovely small interlude as the sun set.)

I would have spent days up on this ridge, but I had to move on (and it was due for days of rain, which wouldn’t have been as fun). I also wish Susan had been with me—there is magic in this place—but we’ve talked about it, and we’ll get back there together.

This is a five-frame panorama shot with my iPhone and stitched together in Lightroom. Click on it to see it bigger.

[where is this?]

Capitol Reef sunset

We just spent a beautiful week in Capitol Reef National Park, a gem of a place tucked into the middle of Utah. There were a few weather challenges here and there, but we found plenty of time to get out and see the magnificence of the park and the area. (If you want to see the glorious beauty that is Utah, and you don’t want to deal with the crowds at Zion, Bryce or Moab, you need to go to Capitol Reef—seriously.)

On our last night at the park, Susan and I went out for a shower and a burger on a cool, windy evening, and on our way back to camp, we stopped at a viewpoint. The skies and the rock cliffs were so beautiful, and the light changing so quickly that I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a bunch of photos. Back in the trailer, I stitched 4 frames into the panorama above.

(We’ll have a bit more about Capitol Reef on our blog, once we’ve caught our breath and schedule some writing time.)

sunset, hart mountain

hart-mountain-sunset

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a rather unbelievable place, 422 square miles of wilderness tucked deep in the southernmost part of Oregon, at 4,000 feet. It is primitive and magnificent, and we were fortunate to spend a week there in September, among the antelope, coyotes, birds, jackrabbits and more. It is definitely a place worth exploring — and revisiting.

I took many photos, but few of them seem to capture the raw beauty of the place.

(There’s a little more about the trip over on our trip blog, if you’re interested.)

 

 

yet another larch mountain sunset (panorama)

larch-sunset-2016-panorama

One of my favorite places in the Portland area is Larch Mountain. I’ve been photographing there for years at all hours of the day, and one of the things I love is spending a sunset atop the mountain. Despite the small platform at the summit, Larch often has a party atmosphere at sunset, especially during the summer. That’s where my pal Duncan and I first met the wonderful Hudson Henry, and I’ve witnessed marriage proposals, champagne toasts, and what seems like a million photographers while on the mountain.

When I first went to Larch, it bugged me that this big rock got in the way of the sunset, but once I discovered the wonder of the silhouette, I was hooked on looking west at least a few times while shooting Mt. Hood off to the east. And, despite the fact that a silhouette is a silhouette is a silhouette, I keep seeing different sides to them, as with this shot.

This is a three-shot panoramic merge of an iPhone 6s photo, and it’s better than anything I shot with my Sony A7RII that evening. A lot of tines, the phone will blow out the highlights in a sunset, but I seemed to get the light at the right time, while playing with the exposure.[1. While framing your image, click and hold to lock focus and exposure on the brightest spot, then drag down to lower the exposure a little bit.] I’m continually amazed at how many of my favorite shots from the past year have come from that pocket camera. (I’ll have another in a day or so.)

Click on the image above to see it bigger. See my other Larch Mountain shots.

sunset, Pine Valley Peak

sunset, pine valley peak

This was a glorious evening, spent in a little-visited part of Zion National Park, Kolob Canyons. I was up at about 7,000 feet, with snow on the ground, a brisk wind in the air and a temperature of 39°F. That said, I was prepared for both the elements and a gorgeous sunset. I wasn’t disappointed.

This is a three-image panorama, taken with the Sony A7RII and the Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35 mm f/4 lens.[1.I keep thinking that the lens isn’t all that great, when compared with my trusty old Canon 16-35 mm F/2.8L, and then I see something like this when I’m back at my Mac.] I have a couple of other sunset images to post from this evening (I posted a version of one on Facebook the other day, but I still need to go through the batch to find the right one.)

[where is this? | see it bigger]

Tehachapi sunset

tehachapi-sunset-pano

Our adventure has started! We’ve been driving for three days, and it’s been a bunch of fun traveling through some of my old stomping grounds in California. I’ll have more to post once we’re settled in our first extended camp, but I wanted to add this photo, from last night. (Click to see it bigger.)

One place I’ve driven through for years is Tehachapi. It’s one of those beautiful spaces that I have admired through the windshield, but I have never stopped, even for gas, if I recall correctly. Last night, Susan and I were thinking about pushing on to Barstow, but decided to call it a day a bit early, and we found this beautiful campground high above it all in Tehachapi, and just in time for a gorgeous sunset. Not bad for day three.

Today, it’s on to Palm Desert, where we’ll be encamped for at least a week.