Tag Archives: Infrared

A Few More Photos of the Alaska Range

I was going back through some of my photos, and realized that I hadn’t processed some of my infrared photos of the Alaska Range.

I use a Nikon D300 that I’ve converted to infrared through LifePixel.com.  (Please use that affiliate link if you are thinking of converting one of your cameras.)

All but the last of these images are from Talkeetna, which is about 60 miles south of Denali.  I think the view from Talkeetna gives a better overview of the Alaska Range.  The weather was also a lot better when we were in Talkeetna.  I would have loved to seen Denali from Wonder Lake on the north side, but that just didn’t work out.

Anyway, I wanted to share these, and hope you enjoy them. (Click the photos to see larger versions.)

 

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Denali

 

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Mt. Foraker (17,400 ft), Mt. Hunter (14,573 ft), and Denali (20,310 ft)

These are the three highest peaks in the Alaska Range, and the 1st, 3rd, and 10th highest in the US.

 

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Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter, and Denali

 

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Mt. Foraker.

The lenticular cloud above the summit indicates high winds.

 

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Denali

 

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Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter, and Denali

 

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Mt. Foraker

 

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Mt. Hunter

 

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Mt. Hunter, and Denali

This is taken from Denali State Park (about 35 miles from Denali), with the Chulitna River in the foreground.  In Talkeetna, stop at the Denali Brewing Company for a Chuli Stout, named after this river.

Canyon de Chelly

After a late night photographing the eclipse in Monument Valley, we awoke Tuesday ready to move a couple of hours south to Canyon de Chelly, near the town of Chinle.  There are really three canyons:  de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument.  Native Americans have been living in these canyons for centuries.  Canyon de Chelly is unique in that it is a National Monument that is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Navajo Nation.

As with Monument Valley, most sites require being accompanied by a Navajo guide.  Our guide helped us learn a lot about the difficult Navajo history of the canyon.  Spain, Mexico, and the United States all fought the Navajo here over many decades.

There are many ruins and significant rock formations in the canyon.  Ansel Adams made a famous photograph of the White House Ruins.  Desert varnish streaks the canyon walls in many places throughout the monument.  Here’s an infrared version I shot from the rim.

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Another famous location is Spider Rock, which is the legendary home of the Spider Woman.  This spire reaches 750 feet above the canyon floor.

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While we were there, federal fire crews were burning piles of invasive Russian Olive and Australian Tamarisk trees near the White House Ruin.  I could feel the heat on the rim as it rose from the canyon floor several hundred feet below.

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In the canyon, we saw many petroglyphs and pictographs.  Here are a few examples…

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As we worked our way up Canyon del Muerto, I made this infrared photograph of the cottonwood trees, with the cliffs in the background.

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Our furthest point up-canyon was Mummy Cave Ruins.  Here are two images made there.  The first is HDR, and the second one, infrared.

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After breakfast on Wednesday morning, we said goodbye and went our separate ways.  Thanks to David, Alice, and John, for making this a wonderful adventure.  Happy trails!

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Mystery Valley, and on to Hunt’s Mesa

On Sunday, April 13, we began in Monument Valley and, with a Navajo guide, visited Mystery Valley before making our way up to Hunt’s Mesa.

I got up for sunrise in hopes that we might get some good color.  I was playing around with HDR (high dynamic range) photography.  I didn’t get any colorful shots that I liked, but I decided to process the HDR as black and white, and I kind of like the way this turned out.  The sun is rising just behind this mitten…

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(Click to enlarge)

Here’s a map showing where my photos were geotagged.  We more or less worked our way in a counterclockwise fashion, starting at The View hotel at the top, Mystery Valley to the southeast, then further south as we and east as we worked our way up Hunt’s Mesa.

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Here’s an infrared photo from Mystery Valley.  They had a bad ice storm this winter, and several trees were damaged.

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Here’s a nice claret cup cactus in bloom…

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We saw plenty of pictographs and petroglyphs…

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As the day wore on, it was clear that we were in for windy conditions.  This affected visibility to some extent, but it wasn’t a complete bust.  Here’s a photo of El Capitan as we worked our way around to the back side of Hunt’s Mesa.

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I’ll save you the story about how our vehicle got stuck in sand for about an hour and how we managed to get it unstuck.  But a little later, we reached a sandstone cliff, and our guide, Tony, admitted, “I’ve never been up this way before.”  This was our signal to get out and walk.  Tony decided it was passable, but with our confidence waning due to getting stuck in the sand, we told Tony we’d meet him at the top.  Here’s a photo of him charging up the hill…

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Eventually, we made it to the top of Hunt’s Mesa.  Here are a few images from late afternoon and sunset.  It was still very windy, especially as we approached the edge of the mesa to take these photos.

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We camped out on top of Hunt’s Mesa that night.  The wind died down about midnight, and it turned even colder.  I was warm in my REI +25 sleeping bag, but eventually (at 5:30 AM), it was time to get up for sunrise.  We guessed the temperature was in the mid to high 30’s on Monday morning.

In the Navajo Nation

I left Flagstaff and drove east and north through the Hopi Reservation and Navajo Nation.  Near Kayenta, I stopped to take this infrared photo of Church Rock, with El Capitan (Agathla Peak) in the background on the right.  I used my Nikon D200 converted to infrared by Life Pixel.

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(Click image to enlarge.)

My destination for the day was Monument Valley.  This area has been used in many films—mostly John Wayne westerns, but also Back to the Future, Thelma and Louise, and others.  Monument Valley was a frequent subject of photographer Josef Muench, the father of David Muench.  Josef’s photos were used by Harry Goulding to entice John Ford to film many of his westerns in Monument Valley. I did an oral history interview with David Muench earlier this year, so it was interesting to visit a place where he had spent so much time with his dad.

Here’s a panorama of Monument Valley, taken with my Fujifilm X-E2.

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On the far, far right of this photo, the farthest mesa is called Hunt’s Mesa.  That would be our destination for a cold, windy camping trip the following night.  More to come on that in my next post.

Edit:  Here’s a map showing the location of that first shot above, courtesy of the Photo Transit app. (Click to enlarge.)

Church Rock Map

Maroon Bells Recreation Area

This past week, I had a chance to go up to Aspen, Colorado, and visit the Maroon Bells Recreation Area in the White River National Forest.  There had been rain all over Colorado—major flooding near Boulder, Lyons, and Estes Park—so, I stayed further south and west by visiting Aspen.  There was a mix of sun and clouds as I started hiking past Maroon Lake.

The Aspen trees are just beginning to turn to their bright yellow fall colors, and soon, this area will be inundated with photographers.  I was told it is the most photographed spot in Colorado.  Always wanting to do something a little bit different, I used my infrared camera (a Nikon D200, converted by LifePixel) to capture the image below.

By the end of my hike, the storm clouds had started to surround the peaks, light rain and thunder started, and I made it back to my car just in time.  It was a great hike.

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Click to enlarge.

Paris is in the Details

A few days ago, I posted a photo from la Tour Montparnasse in Paris—a broad, sweeping view of much of the city.  I hope you liked that photo.  I did, but it’s hard to express something new in this city that is constantly being photographed.

Many years ago, I took a photography workshop at the Grand Canyon Field Institute.  One of the best pieces of advice was to not try to photograph the canyon with a wide angle lens; instead, use a telephoto lens.  Rather than try to capture the vast expanse of the canyon, isolate a detail, and that will convey the spirit of place better.

Here’s a take on that idea.  Do you know where this is?

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It probably helps that I’ve mentioned Paris… it’s a detail of the Eiffel Tower.  If you hadn’t already been thinking of Paris, would you have figured it out?  Recalling this earlier blog post, would you have figured out the story on your own?

Here’s another take.  I think here, almost everyone who’s seen the Eiffel Tower (or even a photo of it), would recognize it. This detail shot even gives us a chance to read the names of the scientists and engineers which appear under the first balcony.  It’s a detail so easily missed when trying to take in the whole scene.

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How about this?  Do you recognize the place shown below?  Hint: several of the names shown on the monument are places in Italy.

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It’s a detail of the Arc de Triomphe de L’Etoile.  It tells its own story of the many battles fought by French forces over the centuries, but unless you know your French military history, you might not recognize from the photo that this is Paris.

Here’s one last variation on the theme.  An infrared photo (as are all four of these photos) of the Arc de Triomphe, with a menacing sky, and… what’s that?…  a two-seater microcar driving around it.  Doesn’t that scream “grand army”?  “Military might”?  To me, it’s the detail that makes this photo work.

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Paris

I’m in Paris for a few days, and wanted to share a photo I took today.  It’s an infrared shot of a few of the famous sites in France… La Tour D’Eiffel, École Militaire, Les Invalides, Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.

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This has been my first trip to Paris.  It’s so overwhelming all of the things I don’t have time to see, but I know I’ll be back and can’t wait to spend more time here.

Gettysburg

Today, I visited the Gettysburg National Military Park and Gettysburg National Cemetery, the site of a bloody American Civil War battle in July of 1863.  As with most of the Civil War battlefields, the park is filled with hundreds of monuments memorializing the dead and wounded soldiers.

Here’s an infrared photograph of the State of North Carolina Monument, sculpted by Gutzon Borglum (who also sculpted the heads on Mt. Rushmore and the carving on Stone Mountain).

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Hells Canyon of the Snake River

I am in Boise, Idaho, for a conference, and had a spare afternoon.  I drove up Hells Canyon, on the Oregon/Idaho border, and did some hiking just below Hells Canyon Dam.

Here’s an infrared photo, taken with my infrared Nikon D200, converted to infrared by Life Pixel. It’s interesting how the infrared highlights the different textures of the water.

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I took this photo just upriver of the Hells Canyon dam, looking downriver along the Hells Canyon Reservoir…

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I’ll be back.  I’d like to take one of the boat tours that heads deeper into the canyon.

Hawaii, Day Six

A reminder that I asked a few friends to suggest words to inspire topics in this blog.

Today’s word is “strength”.

I found out this afternoon that one my best friend’s dog passed away.  Those of you who know me know that I’m a dog person, and I was deeply affected by this news.  My heart goes out to Shelley, Cory, Sierra, and Lyla for the loss of their family member.

I also learned today that two people were killed Tuesday in an ultralight plane crash along the Na Pali coast of Kaua’i. I didn’t know them, but I saw the police and ambulance crews rushing to the north side of the island.

We get through times like these with strength—our own inner strength, but more importantly, the strength of our friends and family. People who love us and care for us, and make us feel better when we lose loved ones and we hurt.

Today’s images are from the Na Pali coast.  These photos are taken with my Nikon D200, which I had converted to an infrared camera by LifePixel.  These daunting cliffs, especially rendered in infrared, say “strength” to me—Nature’s strength, the strength of the Hawaiian people who lived there, and the strength of the people who visit the coast today on foot, on the water, and in the air.  This is a challenging place.

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I hope tomorrow’s better.  See you then.