Firefall and Flowers

In February, I headed to Yosemite National Park to photograph the phenomenon known as “Firefall”. For about a week in February, the setting sun lights up Horsetail Falls on El Capitan, resulting in a look of the falls being “on fire”.

Due to the California drought, it’s been about 6 years since there has been enough snow on top of the mountain to create enough snowmelt water for this to happen. Needless to say, there were some pretty big crowds to navigate. The result was well worth it!

In March, Jason and I headed up to the Carolina coast. Our first target was the trees in Lake Matamuskeet, North Carolina. Unfortunately, three days of skies that were either clear of any clouds or covered with solid heavy clouds. Either way, there was no sunrise photograph to be had, so we had to move on.

We headed down to Charleston to check to status of the spring lower bloom at Magnolia Plantation. The main targets were the long white bridge and the flowers under the oak trees. We were there last year, but it just wasn’t happening so we came away empty handed. This year, we were pleasantly surprised to see a rather healthy bloom and, over several days, captured exactly the images we were hoping for.

So, two very different locations and two goals accomplished. Next up, I’ll be leaving mid-April to Oregon with Kelly. It will be my fourth trip to Oregon, but we’ll be working some areas we have not gone to before. Oregon is, obviously, a target rich environment.

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California, Yosemite, El Capitan, Firefall
Firefall : Prints Available
California, Yosemite, Half-dome, Winter, Moonrise
Yosemite Moonrise : Prints Available
South Carolina, Charleston, Magnolia, Plantation, flower
Magnolia Flowers : Prints Available
South Carolina, Magnolia Plantation, flowers, spring, reflection
Spring Reflections : Prints Available
Magnolia Splendor : Prints Available
Spring Oak : Prints Available
South Carolina, Charleston, Magnolia, Plantation, Bridge
Serenity At The Bridge : Prints Available

California Coast

Kelly and I headed to the coast to photograph a number of locations from San Francisco down to the Big Sur area. Our first effort was the lighthouse at Pigeon Point, and the sunset was just fantastic. Kelly really nailed that one.

Continuing south, El Nino was kicking up the weather with lots of rain and wind. While this was great for helping California with their drought, it wasn’t exactly what we expected.

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So, with the high winds and surf, we searched for the best locations to capture some of the dramatic scenes it was presenting.

On one particular day, it seemed like it was never going to stop raining. We were sitting in the hotel watching it rain and then, an hour before sunset, the clouds began to break up. We grabbed our gear and headed to a location we had picked out at Soberanes Point. The sun peaked out for just a moment resulting in an amazing sunset. This is one of the better photographs I have ever taken.

Before leaving, we stopped for a sunset opportunity at Muir Beach, but were convinced it was just going to be cloudy and nothing was going to happen. Once again, the clouds broke for five minutes, the clouds began to swirl and we captured something pretty special.

I had brought a large 500mm lens hoping to have a chance to shoot down some of the waves as they crested. I was absolutely thrilled to have been able to capture some excellent images.

If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

Next up is Yosemite National Park in February and I’m hoping that the increased snow this year from El Nino will provide us some excellent winter images. Stay tuned.

Yesterday's Guide : Prints Available
California, Big Sur, Sunset, Garrapata, Soberano
Soberano Sunset : Prints Available
Strange Sunset : Prints Available
California, Garrapata, Storm, Wave
Coastal Explosion : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Windblown : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Convergence : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Escape Flight : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
California Curl : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Power : Prints Available

Arches National Park

I headed to Arches National Park in early November to meet up with my good friend Jess Lee, with the main goal of doing some light painting of some of the arches at night. This time of the year can often provide clear skies, which is great for having the stars show up in the photographs.

I had done a little of this sort of thing before, but nowhere near what we were attempting this time. Our first attempt didn’t work out too well. Then, the storms moved in and we lost the clear skies we needed.

Our primary target was Double Arch, my favorite arch in the park. We finally got a night of clear weather, made some significant changes in the way were lighting up the arch and were quite pleased with our results. The second night, I went back to get a photo looking overhead in Double Arch. This was also high on my list.

There isn’t much to photograph in the park when the sky is clear, but in November the sun rises behind Balanced Rock, and I just had to capture the sunrise there.

That was about it for this expedition. Up next is Arizona in early December where we will work in the Superstition Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and maybe somewhere else depending on weather.

As always, hover over the photo for more information. Best viewed in Safari or Chrome, IE tends to shows too much contrast and saturation. Also, remember to “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions:www.facebook.com/josephfilerphotography.

Utah, Arches, National Park, double arch, milky way
Two If By Night : Prints Available
Utah, Arches, National Park, double arch, night
Above : Prints Available
Utah, Arches, National Park, balanced rock, sunrise, sunburst
Sunburst : Prints Available

Fall In The Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains have a wide variety of photographic possibilities from the rivers in the valley to the outstanding views from the top of the mountains.

We arrived in mid-October to be able to capture some fall color images. My struggle with weather this year continued on this expedition with clear blue skies every day up until the day we departed.

We went to the Big Creek area on the east side of the Smokies, where we had not been on previous trips. Wow, talk about your long and winding road! I was happy to find a river where all the rocks were being covered by water.

Along Little River Road, there is this small cascade that just begs to be photographed every time I drive by. I relented and decided on a vertical composition, which was different from what I had done on previous trips. It picked up a little fall color above the river, which was nice.

Since we weren’t getting any clouds for sunrise, we went into Cades Cove at dawn hoping for some fog around the trees. I could not have been more pleased with the fog swirling around the trees, but it only lasted for a few minutes. Sometimes that is enough.

There are not too many locations in the Smokies displaying red colors. It took some slow driving, probably aggravating drivers behind me, but we finally found a beautiful section of the road with the contrast of reds, yellows and greens.

The morning we were to head for the airport at 10am, we finally had some clouds that gave us reason to head up to Clingman’s Dome for sunrise. Sunrise is always a crapshoot and ,as I stood there in the cold and dark, I could only hope the sky would fill with color. I can’t say how excited I was when it happened after clear skies for an entire week. It was so worth the wait.

Next up will be a trip to Utah’s Canyonlands and Arches National Parks with some possibilities of some night photography.

As always, hover over the photo for more information. Best viewed in Safari or Chrome, IE tends to shows too much contrast and saturation. Also, remember to “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions:www.facebook.com/josephfilerphotography.

Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Little River, Fall, Cascade
Color Cascade : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, Fog
Fog Bound : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Cades, Cove, Fall, Color, REd
Smoky Mountain Colors : Prints Available
Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Clingmans Dome, Sunset
Explosion Of Color : Prints Available

Colorado Fall Color

Jason and I returned to southwest Colorado this year as I so impressed by what we experienced there last year. We explored a variety of back roads that we somehow missed last year and were rewarded with new scenes to photograph.

We started in Aspen to photograph the well-known Maroon Bells, named for the two mountain peaks behind Maroon Lake. From there, we head down to Ridgway, Colorado to work with the large variety of scenes there. The original “True Grit” was filmed in and around Ridgway. Of course, it is much different now than is was in 1970. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend the True Grit Café.

Usually, most landscape photography is timed around sunrise and sunset. However, there is something about the combination of the fall colors with blue skies that just seems pleasing. The trick is taking the photo shortly after sunrise or shortly before sunset when the sky is not too bright.

We were a little disappointed by the lack of snow on the mountains this year, but soon realized that there are color variations in the mountain rock that creates a different, and equally interesting part of the composition.

I would like to go back again next year, but there are so many other places to be. Next up will be Great Smoky Mountains National Park for fall color there.

As always, hover over the photo for more information. Best viewed in Safari or Chrome, IE tends to shows too much contrast and saturation. Also, remember to “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions: www.facebook.com/josephfilerphotography.

Colorado, Red Mountain, Crystal Lake, Reflection, Fall
Red Reflection : Prints Available
Colorado, Ridgway, Cimarron Ridge, Fall, Color
Cimarron Colors : Prints Available
Colorado, Red Mountain, Crystal Lake, Reflection, Fall
Morning Reflection : Prints Available
Colorado, Aspen, Trees, Fall, Color
Aspen Colors : Prints Available
Colorado, Aspen, Trees, Fall
Under The Aspens : Prints Available