Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbirds are very common in Colorado. They are permanent residents in most local parks, including Cherry Creek State Park, where I captured one of them while it was singing to attract a female. Spring is a great time for birds in Colorado, except when it gets very cold. It snowed today in Denver and the temperatures dropped below 40F, which is not abnormal for Colorado in April :)

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

Hoping for a sunny day next week, so that I can get out and do some spring birding!

Captured with Nikon D3s and Nikon 300mm f/4.0 AF-S + 1.4x TC.

Dead Horse Point Panorama

Here is the promised panoramic version of the Dead Horse Point at sunrise. The full version is comprised of 8 vertical images, measuring approximately 32 megapixels with an aspect ratio of 2:1.

Dead Horse Point Panorama at Sunrise

All 8 shots were taken in Manual mode at f/8 and 1/10th of a second, ISO 200. Whenever you shoot panoramic images, always remember to switch to full manual mode to get identical exposure. You do not want your shutter speed or your aperture to change when you move from one point to another and shooting in manual will always yield consistent results for stitching software. Do not forget to disable Auto ISO as well – you want to keep your ISO at the lowest value for the best image quality. The above and other tips on panoramic photography can be found in my panoramic photography guide.

Back from Utah again

Well, technically, it was Grand Junction, not Utah. I had a very busy four day business trip to Grand Junction, CO and after spending countless hours taking care of a problem at work, I had a pleasure of visiting Moab, UT on the last day for a few hours. Woke up very early in the morning at around 3:45 AM and headed out to Dead Horse Point to make it there right before the sunrise. As I was driving the last 10 miles to get to the park, I saw seven cars slowly driving through the steep turns of Canyonlands. Who else would be driving that early? A group of photographers, of course! I was first following them, but then they were too slow and I was hurrying to get to the right spot at least 30 minutes before sunrise. So I stepped on gas and passed all seven cars at 90 miles an hour. I could tell they were pissed! Oh well, I wasn’t going to miss sunrise after 2+ hours of driving.

Arrived at the spot at about 6:20 AM and the sun came out at 6:42. Although the clouds were not as pretty, seems like I managed to capture a couple of shots that I like. I have not yet finished importing the files into Lightroom, but I will be working on some of those this weekend.

Meanwhile, here is me standing on the edge of the cliff:

Nasim Mansurov

And here is how it looks down there, with the nearest rock at approximately 300-400 feet below:

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Sunrise and Delicate Arch Wallpapers

Our readers kindly asked us to provide high resolution versions of Delicate Arch and Sunrise shots from my last trip to Utah, to be used as desktop wallpapers. Here are the two images in 2560×1600 resolution for widescreen monitors:

Delicate Arch

1) Delicate Arch 2560×1600 Widescreen Wallpaper

Sunrise

2) Sunrise 2560×1600 Widescreen Wallpaper

Enjoy! :)

Trip to Utah – Part 2

This is the second part of my trip log to Utah.

As we wrapped up Arches, we headed up to Canyonlands National Park while the weather was still OK. Afternoon at Canyonlands turned out to be rather productive and the sky got filled up with some gorgeous multi-layered clouds:

Canyonlands #3

Love those clouds! We snapped a few pictures with the clouds on the way up:

Canyonlands #1

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Trip to Utah – Part 1

I have been putting off working the Utah images for a while and I have finally decided to finish working on them this weekend. I decided to divide the photos to two parts – the first part is primarily Arches National Park and the second part is Canyonlands National Park. Although we spent about three full days in Utah, the weather did not cooperate half of the time, so we tried to shoot as much as we could while it lasted. On top of that, as I have indicated before, I lost about 8 gigs of photos from the last two days. Hope you enjoy these!

I was initially planning to go through I-70 directly to Grand Junction and stay overnight. After a rock fell on the highway and destroyed a portion of it, we detoured through highway 287. On the way to Grand Junction, we stopped at a local farm to take some pictures of the cows early in the morning:

Cows

This one looked at me, wondering what I was up to:

Cow Looking

Next, we headed straight to Arches. The park was flooded with rain from a couple of days before, so there were plenty of interesting pools in the area:

Pool

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Delicate Arch at Sunset

To be honest, I have not even had a chance to review all images from my Utah trip yet. One of the reasons is probably my frustration over the lost 8 GB of photographs, because of my own stupidity. I was so tired on the day we came back from the trip, that I completely forgot that I had photos from the last two days of the trip stored on one of the 8 GB flash cards that I had in my bag. I copied everything but that one card and never checked all of the images, assuming that I had everything.

Last Sunday we photographed a wedding and I happened to format and use that exact same card that contained the last two days of the Utah trip. I found out about it after we came home from the wedding and it was very painful to realize that those images are gone forever. I had plenty of great pictures on that card, including some sunrise pictures of the Dead Horse Point.

Oh well, next time I will know better!

Anyway, just wanted to show you a sunset image of the popular Delicate Arch that is proudly displayed on all license tags of Utah cars:

Delicate Arch at Sunset

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Back from Utah

I’m finally back from Utah after a 7 hour drive from Moab. To get home before midnight, Sergey and I left a little early and missed the last sunset. The weather sucked during the last two days (we had 3.5 days total), so we only had a day and a half of good shooting. Nevertheless, I managed to snap 25 gigs of images, but I already know that most photos are going to be deleted. This was the first time when I tried shooting HDR panoramas in three rows and processing those images is going to be a very long and painful process. We only had time to check out some good spots at Arches and Canyonlands, although we did visit a couple of good spots for photography in the area.

Looking down

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Great Falls in Winter

Mukhsim and I spent the second day of my trip in Great Falls National Park (Maryland side). Although the falls are magnificent, the scene does not look so pretty in winter. Leafless trees, dirty snow and pale rocks, in addition to a windy and cloudy day did not present good opportunities for photography. We hiked for about a mile back and forth and finally went back, because I just could not see anything worth taking a picture of. Mukhsim said that the Virginia side looked prettier, but I bet it looks about the same at this time of the year…

Here are a couple of pictures from the day:

Great Falls National Park

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Dunes and Snow – Wallpaper

I have been really wanting to go back to sand dunes and take some more pictures in the winter, but it has been extremely cold out there and driving for three and a half hours one way to freeze myself and my equipment to death is not something I wanted to do. Hopefully it will start getting warmer soon (at least on the weekends) so that I could go back and take some more pictures of this amazing place!

Here is one of the images from my last trip to the park:

Dunes and Snow

It is very odd to see when sand and snow mix together…

And here is the 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper for you to enjoy :)