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Adrift on Ribbons of Light


Half-shell twilight adrift - Santa Barbara, California

An adrift half-shell on the wave-streaked sand rippling with ribbons of light under a tempestuous sky …

My first post for 2012: this image was shot a few hours ago. I still have some more photos to post from my last Canadian Rockies trip, but since we’ve been getting dramatic sunset skies, I went back to my local beach with my camera. Will resume posting when I find free time.

Happy New Year!


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Storm Clouds over Herbert Lake


Herbert Lake, Icefields Parkway -  Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Passing storm over Herbert Lake, Icefields Parkway – Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Woke up on a rainy morning, wanted to stay in bed; but couldn’t go back to sleep, so I put on my rain gears and headed out. I took refuge from the rain staying under the trees on the shore of Herbert Lake. The rain stopped for a while, and Herbert Lake’s surface settled as the morning light broke through just enough to add dramatic colors to the storm clouds passing over the Bow Range. Standing alone in the woods, I thought perhaps I should have stayed on Lake Louise, but I was bored from shooting sunrise there with over a dozen other tripods. On Lake Louise, I felt like a tourist, on this small Herbert Lake a few miles away, I felt like a traveler. The difference between a tourist and a traveler? Not so much in term of semantics, but state of mind. Perhaps G.K. Chesterton said it best, “The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” On this cold and rainy sunrise, this was what I saw.


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First Light on Pyramid Mountain


Morning light on Pyramid Mountain -  Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Golden sunrise light on Pyramid Mountain – Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

I waited for nearly two hours to get this shot. It wasn’t a spectacular sunrise, but eventually, first light lit up the side of Pyramid Mountain for a few minutes. I love catching first light on mountain peaks mirrored by a perfectly still lake surface.

There is a sense of separation in this composition: the distant cloud formation seems to mimic the rock formation under water, and a piece of driftwood serves as a lone element connecting with the distant trees on the other side of the lake. The ethereal light on the mountain is the force that binds these displaced elements together. As I wrote in my previous post, light is what you see. I hope you see what you seek.

PS: Perhaps this scene looks familiar? It is the same location where I shot Every Man Should Paddle His Own Canoe.


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Twilight Sky over Maligne Lake – Jasper National Park, Alberta


Twilight Sky over Maligne Lake

Spent a week in the Canadian Rockies during foliage season and came home with many beautiful photos. Out of seven days there, I was able to photograph one good sunset. The Canadian Rockies have so many beautiful locations that I would love to be able to spend a few weeks there. Between Banff and Jasper, I much prefer the quiet beauty of Jasper. For this evening, I had all Maligne Lake to myself. For hours, our car was the only vehicle in the parking lot.

Will post and write more about my trip. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this image. I captured many different variations of this beautiful sunset over Maligne Lake’s boat house, but like the soft pink clouds in this shot as opposed to later shots that feature intense red skies.

To get a good exposure of the sky and the foreground – including those trees that might have been in deep shadows, I stacked a 2 stops soft edge GND filter and a 2 stops hard edge GND filter. To get extra vertical coverage of the beautiful soft pink sky while maintaining my favorite rocks in the foreground, I took two horizontal exposures at 16mm and combined them in Photoshop. To capture the cloud movements, I lengthen my exposure to five seconds.




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Broken Kelp


kelp afterglow skyscape seascape cloud beach sunset reflection pebble california photofool

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. — Ernest Hemingway


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The Unattended Moment


convict lake laurel mountain eastern sierra nevada sierra sunrise

Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension …
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight …

The Dry Salvages — T.S. Eliot


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Laurel Mountain Reflections


convict lake laurel mountain eastern sierra nevada sierra sunrise

Laurel Mountain basking in the early morning light – Eastern Sierra, California


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Find Your Moment


sunset beach afterglow cloud reflection seascape wave pebble photofool

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”
— Henry David Thoreau


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