Yellowstone is full of beautiful textures – I probably have several hundred images of various textures that I captured at various Yellowstone locations. The most beautiful textures, obviously, are in or near hot springs on the western side of the park.
This first one is a 5 exposure HDR, taken during sunset in Estes Park.
Scott Kelby’s 2009 Worldwide Photo Walk that I led in Estes Park, CO was a blast! Although not everyone was able to make it to the Photo Walk, we still had 37 participants that were able to participate and make history in the biggest photography event in the world, with over 32,000+ photographers in close to 1000 locations worldwide!
I haven’t had a chance to go through all of my images yet and I will be posting some of my favorites later this week, but here are some group images from the walk:
As promised, here is the picture of the Island Fox – a critically endangered, federally protected fox species that was reintroduced to the Channel Islands through a breeding program. This little fox is a size of the house cat and is considered to be one of the smallest fox species.
Ever since my wife saw a fox on a rainy day in April, I have been going to the site almost every other day to check up on the fox kits. The fox mother gave birth to kits right off a busy road where people drive like crazy at 50+ miles/hour. She did it for a reason though – not to get her babies eaten by coyotes, since coyotes try not to approach busy roads and highways. Initially, there were a total of 5 fox pups, plus the caring mother who had a hard time feeding herself because she was so busy providing food to her youngsters.
One of the fox pups was hit by a car after the first week and a local resident took him to a veterinarian, who had to put him down because the poor baby was suffering from severe head injuries. It was really sad to find out about it from the locals, who were stopping by daily, making sure that the pups were OK. Then all of a sudden, the mother disappeared. Apparently, a man who had a ranch on the other side of the road called trapping services and had the mother relocated somewhere else! Can you imagine, the guy didn’t even bother telling the trappers that she was a feeding mother for God’s sake! Apparently, he was getting angry because of the people who were stopping by and taking pictures…
I have probably seen a dozen full rainbows in my adult life and every time I saw one I wished I had a camera with me. When I did have a camera, the scenery just sucked and photos never came out good enough. This time I thought the pictures came out a little better, but still not exactly what I was hoping for… This is a double rainbow, by the way:
The full rainbow was huge and my lens was not wide enough to be able to capture the whole thing. I did try some quick panoramic shots, but my panorama stitching software is having a hard time aligning both the rainbow and the landscape on the bottom of the frame…need to play around with Photoshop and see if I can figure out another way of making it work.
This first pic is a 30 megapixel image that was composed from 9 vertical exposures. I was planning to make it a panoramic image, but then the left side looked a little odd, so I cropped it to look like a normal image.
The second image was captured at the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park. Besides using a circular polarizer to darken the sky, the image itself is basically straight out of the camera. I used a “Vivid” camera profile in Lightroom – nothing else was touched, including saturation.
This third image looks overly saturated, but in reality it looked exactly like shown here (again, no saturation added in Lightroom/Photoshop). The combination of Redstone and sun created beautiful light, almost like during sunset.
This gorgeous wonder is located in Page, Arizona. The sandstone has been deformed by water for thousands of years and was discovered by a little native girl back in 1920s. The local natives pretty much monopolized the Antelope Canyon and created tour agencies that take tourists there. Their regular tours are about one hour long and run at $32 USD per person. There are special tours for photographers for $50 USD that last for 2 hours.
I took the regular tour because we were rushing to Grand Canyon and didn’t have enough time. If you want to photograph the Antelope Canyon, I strongly suggest getting the photography tour, because one hour will NOT be enough. There will be other groups wanting to take pictures and you will have to spend most of your time waiting for a good opportunity. A tripod is a must, or you will simply have crappy pictures at high ISOs and low shutter speeds. Each exposure I took was between 15-30 seconds @ ISO 200 and I simply didn’t have enough time to take good pictures of the canyon. The best time of the year to go there is May and June, but I was told that the place gets so crowded, that people walk shoulder to shoulder. It is also the only time of the year when you can get direct sunlight into the canyon as shown in this picture. During the rest of the year, the best time of the day to visit the canyon is between 10 am to 12 pm. Oh and one more thing – wear good hiking shoes and be ready for a lot of dust.