Windstorm in Death Valley

When I saw the wind would be 20 mph with gusts up to 40 mph, I made the last-minute decision to head to the sand dunes in Death Valley National Park. I hoped the wind would be strong enough to wipe away footprints left from previous visitors. Also, I was hoping for a bit of a mystery in the atmosphere. I got both. These were some of my favorite shots of the year! I especially loved the simplicity of lines created by light and shadow on the dunes. Most of these photos were take with a 100-400mm lens which helped get close to distant dunes and exclude distracting details.

This first shots below were taken when the winds were gusting, just before sunset, throwing sand in my pockets and ears. I was wearing googles and a face mask to protect my eyes, nose and mouth. My camera was shaking on the tripod, so I had to use a faster shutter speed with images stabilization on. The tripod, about 6 pounds, almost blew over. I caught it in the process of tipping a few times.

Sandstorm
Sand Tsunami
Sand Crater

The next morning, the wind was still blowing, but much calmer. The only footprints in the sand were from some other early visitors.

Launch Pad – taken before the rising sun hit the dunes
The Dolphin
Sharp Edges
Shadows

Later that day, I returned once more before sunset. The main areas of the dunes were marked with footprints, so I ventured to a less popular area. I was following one other set of footprints left by another photographer. Again, I found some great shapes created by the curve of the dunes and shadows.

Photoshoot on the Dunes – Look on the distant dune and you will a few people.
The Pipe – If you want to gain a better perspective for the context of this photo, click the link below and see the photos at the end of the collection.

To see the full collection from this outing, click here.

I love to hear which, if any, photos stood out to you. Please leave a note in the comments. Thank you for looking.

Zion in Autumn

In late October, I spent a week roaming the canyons and creek beds in Zion National Park. Fall color was on full display! I often found myself so immersed capturing photos that I lost track of time. Many of the photos I took over these days were small scenes such as a trees or leaves on the ground.

It has been hard to select the best to share with you. Below are some of my favorites. I have a larger selection on my website here.

Cottonwood Solo – This tree stands alone in the bottom of a canyon
Ponderosa Autumn – The tall trunk is a ponderosa, surrounded by the yellowing leaves of a cottonwood and the red of a big -leaf maple.

The following four photos were all taken in and around a small meadow that was bathed in beautiful light reflected off the red sandstone walls of the canyon. I spent a few hours in this location. I was within ear-shot of the trail and others passing by. Again and again I heard people exclaim, “Wow! So beautiful!”

Autumn Oaks
Laughing Leaves
Autumn Gold
Dancers in the Meadow – I loved how these trees twisted and leaned around each other. They appeared to be involved in a wonderful dance, aware of each other and frozen in time.

The photos below were taken along the Left Fork of North Creek. It is a challenging hike because of several obstacles in the route. The reward is capturing the scenes below. The first shot is “The Subway.” I had seen many pictures of this place before, so seeing it with my own eyes was like meeting a famous movie star.

Reflecting Change (The Subway)
Serene Falls
Archangel Falls
The Crack

I have a larger selection on my website here. Enjoy!