Super Moon: Take 2

I caught last month’s super moon a day late–the right edge was already waning.  You can see those photos in two posts:  Super Moon and Lunatic.  On my second attempt, I was able to capture the complete full moon.  I had intended to get the moon a bit earlier in the evening, so I could take advantage of some of the ambient light, making the clouds in the sky visible, and also some silhouettes in the horizon.  Once the sky is dark, moon is so bright, that when I expose it to get details, everything else fades to black.   Unfortunately, the moon was completely obscured by the clouds earlier in the evening, and I was faced again with a dark sky.  I had to bring the highlights down and the shadows way up to get the clouds the way you see them below.  It’s certainly not great technical photography, but the images do have a bit of an artistic quality that I find compelling.



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Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure!


We were exploring the western part of the Colorado Plateau a year ago last summer–a region of the United States that runs through the “four corners” area encompassing parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico and includes some of the most wild, treacherous, and beautiful canyon systems in the world.  A number of popular National Parks and Monuments are found there, a great deal of the land remains undeveloped and untouched.

We were traveling in July and the summer monsoons had begun to make their mark.  One thing you learn very quickly in this region, is never be caught in a slot canyon during a storm.  Flash flooding is a constant threat and not something you mess around with.

We’d gotten lucky and had spent the day as a family canyoneering just outside Zion National Park, AZ.  As we were leaving, we saw, rather, HEARD, the thunderstorm blowing in.  I knew it was going to hit over Zion just before sunset  during the coveted golden hour and I couldn’t resist.

On a tip from a local, the hubby and I set out on a dirt road leading up to a bluff that overlooked Zion.  Being on high ground, we weren’t in any danger of flash flooding, but there would be other risks.  I planned on shooting through the sunset which meant we’d be heading back down the dirt road with limited visibility and we had no clue if the storm would wash out the road.  We both mentally prepared for the possibility that we’d be camping out in the truck overnight.

When we reached the top of the bluff I was not disappointed.  I immediately climbed up to the roof rack and set up the tripod. The storm was fairly isolated to the the left of us and moving over Zion, but it didn’t mean we weren’t getting a sprinkle or two or that the wind wasn’t threatening to blow me of the roof.  It also didn’t mean that the thunder wasn’t booming in my ears OR that there wasn’t lightening flashing all around me.  It was frightening and exhilarating all at once, adrenaline lighting up all my senses with a clarity I can’t remember feeling before or since.


I photographed the storm over Zion from the roof of our truck for about 45 minutes with my camera covered by a waterproof windbreaker until the light was just about gone and my hubby had had enough.  We didn’t get enough rain to wash the road out, but we definitely took our time driving around the curves and edges to the base of the bluff and back to our hotel.


This was just one evening out of an unforgettable ten day trip.  I’ve posted images before from this trip and if you are interested here’s a link to some of those posts.  Believe it or not, I still have images to share from Canyonlands, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon.  Hopefully I’ll get to posting those soon.  In the meantime, here’s a few more adventurous photos from the trip.




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Want to play, too?  Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure




Hurricane Marie Sends Huge Swells to SoCal Beaches

Point Mugu, California, USA

SoCal beaches have been seeing waves topping 8′-10′ feet for the past day and a half.  I hit one of my local spots, Pt. Mugu, to check out the surf.  You know you are in the right place when there’s 10 surfers in the water and at least 50 on shore just watching.  On most good summer days waves might reach 4′ on this beach, so this is a pretty big deal.

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The the waves energy reverberated up my body through the soles of my feet.  Add the constant rumble and roar of the surf and my adrenaline was pumping.  One of those days you don’t ever forget.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

The Fraying Sail of the Vellela Vellela


Every five to ten years offshore winds are strong enough to deliver these delicate jelly fish like animals to the shores of the Western United States.  Known more commonly as “by-the-wind-sailors”, these cellophane like animals spend nearly their entire lives in colonies floating on the surface of the open Pacific Ocean.  Gelatinous discs slightly larger than sand dollars topped by a triangular sail ride the water’s surface supporting a colony of polyps below the waterline.  They are pretty neat little animals.

I was heading out to shoot a young dancer about ten days ago when I saw them for the first time.  In those pictures, it simply looked like I’d thrown rose petals into the sand.  They were mostly clear with blue rims around their floating discs, their sails sticking up to catch the light.  The debris you see in the sand in the picture below is vellela vellela.


By the time I went back to shoot them again for the challenge, the blue was gone from their rims, rendering them completely clear.  Their sails had begun to fray and many of them were drying out and becoming brittle and more opaque.  Here’s a few more pictures with a couple frayed feathers thrown in for good measure:

Want to play, too?  Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray


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