Sun setting behind Manly Beacon, Death Valley NP, CA, USA
We just returned from another workshop in Death Valley. The wind and weather in Death Valley always present challenges, requiring flexibility to adapt to the changing conditions. But this time, just to make things more interesting, Stovepipe Wells lost power during our stay. With high temperatures around 100 we definitely felt the lack of air conditioning. And simple tasks like charging camera batteries became difficult. But California Edison trucked in two generators, so luckily the most serious problems only lasted about 12 hours.
The power outage aside, we actually had very good photo conditions. Some wind just before the workshop cleansed the sand of footprints, and we had clear skies for our first two nights in the dunes. Then some clouds moved in, followed by a big sandstorm on our last night. Typical Death Valley stuff.
Green light, Wheaton and Hollis Hotel, Bodie State Historic Park, CA, USA
As I said in my last post, we had a great time in Bodie last week. On Tuesday morning we had a permit to photograph inside some of the buildings – a rare opportunity. These interiors are in a lovely state of decay, and it seemed there were wonderful compositions everywhere you looked. We had six hours, but could easily have doubled that without running out of subjects.
You have to be very careful inside the buildings. Everything is coated with a thick layer of dust, accumulated over decades, and even accidentally brushing up against a table with a jacket could mar that dust. These interiors are a museum – a dusty, decaying museum – and being inside the buildings is like being inside the exhibits.
Helicopter over the Walker Fire from Highway 395, last Sunday evening
Our Starry Skies Adventure workshop turned out to be a little more adventurous than we thought. Just before we left our home in Mariposa last Saturday to head for the workshop I checked the satellite photos online. The Rough Fire near King’s Canyon National Park had been sending smoke north, so I was keeping an eye on it. But my last-minute check revealed a new smoke plume just to the southwest of Mono Lake. Uh oh. Our workshop was based in Lee Vining, on the west shore of Mono Lake, only a few miles from that smoke plume.
I could see the smoke from this new fire on one of the Yosemite webcams. I found that it was called the Walker Fire, and that it had started the night before near Walker Lake, but I couldn’t find any up-to-date information about the fire’s size and location. When Claudia and I left home about 3:00 p.m. the Tioga Road (Highway 120) through the park was still open. But when we got to Tuolumne Meadows we found that the fire had closed the road between the eastern entrance of the park and Highway 395. What do we do now? We decided we had to drive around over Sonora Pass and check out the fire in person. That meant five extra hours of driving, and a long night ahead of us.
Sunset clouds reflected in an alpine tarn, Saturday evening. This was a spectacular sunset that seemed to last forever. Believe it or not I actually toned down the pink color – it was pretty intense.
My Hidden Yosemite workshop with The Ansel Adams Gallery ended Sunday evening, and since then I’ve been catching up on work – and sleep! The days are long this time of year, which meant early starts and late evenings during the workshop, but it was all worth it, and we had a wonderful time.
Sea stacks at sunset , Redwood NP, CA, USA
We had a wonderful time last week during our redwoods workshop. It was a really nice, fun group, with great camaraderie and lots of laughter, aided and abetted by the relaxed atmosphere at the fabulous Requa Inn. We got some fog, which is always a great complement to the forest scenes, and were also treated to a couple of beautiful sunsets along the coast.
Sunbeams and corona in a redwood forest, northern California, USA
Claudia and I have been up in the redwood country, in far northern California, for the past two weeks. We had such a great time during my Mystic Forest workshop. Like last year, we stayed at the Requa Inn, with its great food, relaxing atmosphere, and beautiful views. We had a wonderful group of people, and I already miss the energy of the group learning and photographing together. And we had great weather, with lots of fog! Here’s one image from our first morning, with the sun breaking through the fog and creating a spectacular triple corona. I’ll post more photographs soon as I get time to process them.
— Michael Frye
Related Posts: In Redwood Country; Back From the Redwoods, and the Lightroom 5 Release
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.