Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wild Ride in Joshua Tree!!

I'm trying something new for this post. Never posted a video before, and based on feedback I've read on other blogs, I'm not very confident that this video will post correctly. But only one way to find out! 

The newer iPhones (and likely other phones as well) make taking video a snap. I'm old enough to remember how hard it used to be to take decent videos... all the gear needed, the expense, etc.). So easy now, and the icing on the cake is that, with a simple push of a button, I can choose between standard video, slo-mo video, and time-lapse! How cool is that!! So here's a time-lapse video taken as I was driving up the road to Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park. It's a little wild, so buckle up!

Here's what Keys View looks like from the top.

Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dust Storm!

I won't call it a haboob... it wasn't that big of a deal. But look how incredibly quickly the sky changed. I took the photo below on Friday (7/17/15) at 6:45 PM. Those rocky hills in the background are the northernmost border of Joshua Tree National Park, and that thunderhead cloud was growing quickly. Thunderstorms were predicted, and hopefully rain was on the way!
Thirty minutes later (7:15 PM) I took the shot below. In this short period of time the skies had gone from blue to yellow-brown, the wind had kicked up, and although there was no immediate rain, the smell of wet creosote was in the air.
Three minutes late (7:18 PM) my phone started making a weird beeping noise. Here's the screenshot from my phone:
Like I said, it really wasn't a big deal. I didn't notice a huge amount of dust in the air, although the sky certainly looked unusual. I decided to use the strange light (the sun was almost blocked out, although the photos don't do it justice) to take some granddaughter silhouette shots.

Using a texture and Photoshop, I doctored these up a bit to give them a more eerie, otherworldly look...

Thanks for stopping by! Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Used Car Shopping

Yard art out in the desert is common. There are some very creative, artistic people in the area (unfortunately, I don't fall into this category!) that take yard art to the extreme. When I discovered a big salvage auto yard out in a hidden corner of my desert town of 29 Palms, I got the bug to go shopping. 
Lilly at the salvage yard.

This old black car reminded my wife of one she owned back in the day!

Hmmm... this old stakebed pickup looks interesting!

OK, we've picked out our yard art car of choice. Let's see if we can negotiate a price and find somebody to haul it over to our place!

After a little arm-twisting, I talked the tow truck driver into driving up on the soft sand on my property. I promised him he wouldn't get stuck, and he didn't!

TaDa!!!  I'm the proud owner of a new (to me) yard art GMC flatbed pickup truck. First choice would have been the "flatbed Ford" from the Eagles song, but this is close enough! No pink slip necessary! Looks good out on my desert property, too. Just seems to fit right in!

My granddaughter approves...

Fun times! 
Linking with:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Catching the Light

I heard my wife say "get your camera", and as I went outside, I was greeted with this beautiful sky with a hole in the cloud. The streaming light was impressive, and although you can't see it here, the cloud had a very visible silver lining across the upper edge. A good omen, right??

Enjoy the upcoming weekend, and thanks for stopping by! Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunset Sequence

7.3.2015, 8:11 PM, 168mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/125 sec
7.3.2015, 8:13 PM, 123mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/200 sec
7.3.2015, 8:14 PM, 70mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/125 sec
7.3.2015, 8:19 PM, 26mm, ISO 200, f/5, 1/40 sec
Worth noting that all four shots were taken from the same location in 29 Palms, CA using a tripod. However, the focal lengths were very different. Shot #1 is a 168mm telephoto shot (using my 70-200mm zoom lens) that allowed me to focus on just a small piece of the sky. Each shot is a progressively larger piece of sky, with the last shot being a true wide angle shot (26mm) and requiring a lens change. If you are new to taking sky shots, I highly recommend changing up your focal length, as it makes a huge difference!

The four photos were taken over a period of only 8 minutes, but the sky changes dramatically over that short time. All were shot at f/5, but the shutter speed of the last shot was much slower (1/40 sec) compared to the earlier shots (1/125 or 1/200 sec) because the sky was quickly getting darker. This was one of the better sunsets that I've seen in a while. I was working outside and not even planning on taking any pictures when all of a sudden the sky just lit up in these beautiful colors! Fortunately, camera and tripod were nearby.

Linking with skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world. 
You'll be glad you did!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Enjoying the Show!

July 4, 2015 - Twentynine Palms, CA.
Look closely, and you will see my 2-year-old granddaughter covering her ears. A little loud, but she enjoyed the show! Hope you had a good 4th!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Where's the Moon??

Last night should have been perfect for moon photography. Full moon and a moonrise at 7:45 PM. Having the moon rising about the time the sun is setting can make for some dramatic sky shots. I grabbed camera bag with lenses and tripod about 7 PM and headed to a local hiking trail to get set up. I was even prepared to try something new: I had the compass setting of the moonrise (112 degrees) and the compass on my cell phone all ready to go. In theory, this should tell me exactly where the moon will rise (between trees, behind a hill, etc.) and allow for a dramatic shot setup.

Only one problem I didn't foresee (generally not a problem here in S CA) was a big cloudbank off to the east, which totally obscured any view of the moon. Oh well, best laid plans...
It wasn't a total loss, as the skies were beautiful and I got some exercise! I thought the cloud in the above shot was very strange looking.

Looking east... the moon should have been visible just to the right of this photo, but you can see how cloudy it was.

This is a very popular place to ride mountain bikes, and last night was not exception. They were zooming all over the place!

It became obvious to me at some point that the moon was going to be a no-show. Hiking back to my car, I stopped to take the fence shots (below). It was getting dark, so these are long exposure tripod shoots. I really like the way they turned out, and perfect for linking up with Theresa's Good Fences!
Selective focus on the little red flower, and fully open aperture for a shallow depth of field, helped with this shot.
Big tree roots make this section of the trail interesting (although mountain bikers probably don't like them much!)
Also linking with Skywatch Friday. For those who celebrate it, have a great 4th of July weekend!