Monday, November 29, 2010

Manzanita in the Snow

No, I'm not quite done with the autumn stuff yet, but it'll keep for a bit.  We're well into the winter season up here in the mountains and I've been kind of slow getting started on taking advantage of this new environment's opportunities.  I figured it's about time to get out and capture some of the beautiful local scenery.. winter is probably the most attractive season, photographically speaking, in this area.
Manzanita bushes are everywhere up here and they are an especially interesting subject with their intricate branching and contrasting bark that grows away from the wood over much of the tree.. this one has more bark coverage than most.  They stay green all winter and produce thousands of small red berries, thus the name which means "little apple" in Spanish.
I found this almost perfectly shaped one growing among some lichen-covered rocks and snow. There are also some evergreen oaks in the background there, contributing to the green-ness. We were showing some visiting friends around the area and for some reason I just decided to grab my old Nikon D70 that I haven't used for years, and throw a lens on it for walking around.  On close inspection, the quality of this image is really awful compared to what I'm used to.. I guess technology really HAS improved a lot over the last 6-7 years.  I plan to go back to this spot on a similar day and get it on film, or at least a decent digital capture when I get a chance. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rainy Grove

A rather simple one from Utah, and not so many leaves left in this particular spot, but this is more about the random vertical lines of the aspen trees than the leaves anyway.  Once again, I shot this rather quickly between rain showers.  I was glad to put up with a little wetness though, because I love the light and colors you get from this kind of mixed-bag weather.
If predictions are correct, we may very well see our first snow of the season this weekend here in the San Jacinto Mountains area of southern California.  I'm kind of looking forward to it... nothing much more photogenic than fresh snow on a forest of pines and cedars, so maybe a chance to shoot some interesting stuff without having to travel... we'll see. Might be only rain and fog at this elevation where we live; we're often right on the rain/snow line early and late in the season, but either way, won't be long before I have some fantastic winter scenery to work with.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SkyWatch: Rain, but No Rainbow

Rain showers falling off to the east of Bryce Canyon, as seen from Rainbow Point, the southern-most and highest elevation stop on the road. The sun wasn't right to produce the namesake rainbow, I guess. This is a more colorful view of the canyon than in my last few posts from  here.... rain on the red rock just brings out those beautiful deep hues and an active sky is always key for me:)  Large view enabled for this one.. enjoy!
Check out the SkyWatch homepage every weekend for more interesting sky images from around the world.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nature's Museum

There is a fairly significant stand of Bristlecone Pines at the far south point of Bryce Canyon, just past the end of the road at Rainbow Point.  It's also the highest point  in the Canyon at over 9000ft (2743m).  I actually had not been here on previous visits... and as I mentioned in my last post, we got turned back while on the way to find a really big area of Bristlecones the day before, so I was determined to at least get to this one, thunder or no... and it WAS thundering, but far enough away to feel somewhat comfortable. Actually this shot would probably not be anywhere near as interesting without the threatening sky.
Most of the trees in this location are fairly young and green, unlike the really gnarly old ones found in the White Mountains of California, as I posted an example of here. I suppose this one keeled over hundreds of years ago and now sits like some abstract sculpture watching over the edge of the Canyon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Watercolor Aspens

After driving quite a ways down some rough dirt roads in search of a large stand of bristlecone pines in the Ashdown Gorge area below Cedar Breaks that I had read about, we did actually find the spot, but couldn't go up there because it was raining with thunder and lightening, and didn't seem such a good idea to venture out on an exposed slope with a camera and tripod. We waited a while... but the black cloud kept sitting right there, so decided to turn back and save that location for another time.  I did manage to get in a few setups between showers on the way back up the road, however.  This scene really reminded me of a watercolor painting.