Thursday, December 18, 2014

Classic Scenes from Zion

It’s now been over a month since I completed my first visit to Zion National Park.  It feels almost a whole other world away now as Millie and I are currently enjoying our second winter in Mexico exploring the Baja peninsula.  But whenever I come across a decent WiFi connection here, I’ll keep trying to catch the blog up as quickly as I can!

Even after 2 full weeks in Zion, I felt like I had just barely scratched the surface.  Certainly, some of the “unofficial” hikes revealed a Zion that few tourists often get to see, but photographically speaking, I didn’t make it very far beyond the classic Zion scenes that, no doubt, many thousands of other tourists photograph each year as well.

So for those of you familiar with Zion and these scenes, forgive the repetition of same old-same old.  For others who have not yet experienced Zion for yourself, I hope these images give you a good taste of what this fabulous park has to offer!

Perhaps the most common scene is from the Canyon Junction bridge looking down the Virgin river as The Watchman looms in the background.  I first photographed this scene with about 20 other photographers—all of us standing along the bridge with our tripods vying for the best vantage point.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hiking Zion National Park

I spent 2 weeks at Zion National Park last month and got to meet up with a group of RV blogger-hikers who led me to some pretty incredible places (both on and off the beaten path). 

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The other bloggers posted their trip summaries weeks ago, so I won’t attempt to repeat all their terrific details here.  If you’ve not yet read them, I encourage you to check out Mark & Bobbie’s Box Canyon Blog, Jim & Gayle’s Life’s Little Adventures, and Suzanne’s Take to the Highway

I also greatly enjoyed meeting the non-bloggers of the group— John & Ellen, Debbie, Laurelee, John Q & Joallen.  Thank you all for the fun laughs and pleasant conversation both on and off the trail!

I’m still very much a novice hiker and, as such, spent most of my time huffing and puffing from the tail end of the pack focusing more on simply completing each hike than masterfully photographing them, but I did manage to snap a few shots to share now with you here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It’s Here! Our 2015 Calendar

A few readers recently suggested that I should create a wall calendar of my landscape photography for 2015.  I’m totally inexperienced at this sort of thing, but figured that my recent photographs from Utah might provide a good theme—some of these images have already been featured in the blog, while others from Zion are still to come!

So, just in time for holiday gift-giving, I humbly announce the 2015 WinnieViews Calendar - Utah Rocks!

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Bryce’s Inspirational Farewell

While I wished I could stay longer to explore more of Bryce Canyon National Park, the weather forecast was to plunge into high winds and a deep freeze, and my propane tank was nearly empty after running the furnace running nearly non-stop for 3 below-freezing nights.

So, I decided to wake up early for a sunrise photo shoot on my final morning.  Now savvy enough to know that one should avoid Sunrise Point and Sunrise (and Sunset Point at Sunset) if trying to avoid the mob of other park tourists, I decided to drive down to the next overlook, Inspiration Point.

I got my tripod set up with only a few minutes to spare before sunrise, the clouds were showing some nice color, and I, incredibly, was the only person there!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hiking Down Into Bryce Canyon

After seeing Bryce Canyon National Park from the rim at sunset, I was determined to get down into the canyon for a hike the following afternoon.  I reviewed the park handouts and maps and decided to do the moderate-rated Navajo Loop and combine it with an “out and back” jaunt over to the Queen’s Garden while I was down in the canyon.  The total distance would be just over 3 miles with an elevation gain/loss of 550 feet.  A bit of a workout, but very do-able!

Remember this shot from my last post?  A commenter said she was starting to realize the impact that good lighting has on a photograph (such as late afternoon/early morning light versus the mid-day sun).  Well, here’s a perfect example!  This first shot was taken at around 4:30pm, an hour before sunset, as the sun was reflecting incredible “glowing” light off the hoodoos.  Complete magic!

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Now, here’s the same scene the next day as I started my hike (around 1:00pm in the mid-day sun).  Certainly still a great scene with some nice glowing hoodoos, but surely not the magic as the first shot.   Yes, indeed, lighting is a crucial element for a great photo!

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Now, let’s get on with the hike!

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