Photographing Death Valley National Park

In April I went with a timelapse photography meetup group to Death Valley National Park. Death Valley rarely gets rain so we were very fortunate to be there during a stormy weekend. We got rained on at the motel in Beatty, Nevada, but not in the park itself. The storm clouds were all around us though and provided some good timelapse material

If you want to see some of the still images from the trip head over to my SmugMug gallery

Mentor Series Trek – California

The California trek was full of beautiful subjects to photograph, guided by two excellent mentors in Michael Schwarz and Dave Black, kept on track by Michelle Cast, our group leader and shared with a fun and interesting group of fellow trekkers.

After a morning spent meeting our mentors and learning the technical aspects of light painting, we were off to our first photographic stop, June Lake loop. Our mentors were on hand to answer questions and give tips on how to photograph the kayakers and boats.

Silver Lake - June Lake Loop

Silver Lake – June Lake Loop

The highlight of day one however was the opportunity to photograph Bodie Ghost town at night and having Dave Black teach us how to light paint it. After his tutorial, we were set loose to light paint on our own or in groups.

Outhouse

Outhouse – Yes I light painted the bathroom 🙂

The grand finale was Dave and Michael light painting the stamp mill which is like trying to light paint a big city block full of different sized buildings. We had so much fun we didn’t get back to the hotel until 1:30 am.

Stamp Mill

Stamp Mill

The next morning we took the shuttle down to Devil’s Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls. Dave and Michael worked with us trekkers on how to get that smooth silky water that make waterfalls so fun to photograph.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

The afternoon was spent having our photographs critiqued by our mentors. A learning experience all on its own :). We had our second light painting tutorial that night at Mono Lake after photographing a beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Mono Lake

Sunset at Mono Lake

We returned to Mono Lake the next morning for sunrise followed by our second Mentor review of the weekend and ending with a final slide show of everyone’s best 5 images. It’s always fun to see how you can take a group of photographers to the same locations and everyone see things so differently!

After sunrise at Mono Lake

After sunrise at Mono Lake

Link to my SmugMug Gallery

Nuts, Lavender & Alpacas – A Day in Valley Center

Nuts, Lavender & Alpacas. Sounds like a strange combination, doesn’t it. It was one day in the life of a So Cal Explorer. The meetup started at Bates Nut Farm. Turns out they don’t grow their own nuts anymore, but they have a store, petting zoo and fields to explore. They also hold weddings and I loved their lighting choices

I tried some motion blur by setting a slow shutter speed and moving my camera up and down.

My favorite colors

My favorite colors

Then it was on to the Lavender fields. Did you know lavender can be yellow as well as purple?

The final stop of the day was an Alpaca farm. I’ve never been to an Alpaca farm before and had no idea they were such sweet and gentle creatures. The owner turned out the Alpacas in a field of fresh grass. After they got over their initial curosity of us, they weren’t letting anything get in the way of their fresh meal. The Alpacas had been shorn a couple of weeks prior to our visit and were therefore “naked”. The fact that they weren’t all sheared the same way added to their personalities.

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