An Afternoon at Saguaro National Park, Arizona

On my previous visit to Saguaro National Park about 3 years ago the images I came home with were OK, but being there in the middle of the day limited anything with some special light. So on the recent trip I was hoping to capture something special. When we arrived early afternoon it was quite overcast and gradually throughout the afternoon the sky just got better and better, finally allowing some breakthroughs of golden light late in the day that really lit up the Park, and the dark skies behind it all gave me my favourite conditions. I was running around trying to make the most of it, and even as we were starting to drive off some really strong colours lit up the sky...yes, I went off to the motel very content that night!



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A Bit of Colour

Been very grey the last few days here in Ballarat, so I was pleased to re-visit some colourful reflections at Acadia National Park in Maine from last October. 
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Cracked Up

Sunday was grey and lifeless, but remembering an interesting small pond I had seen the day before out at Nerrina with some great cracked mud around it, I thought this may give me a chance to play around with some black and white work. An interesting thing I learnt here...there was a couple of signs here announcing this was the home of the growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis) and its on the slightly endangered list, though still abundant in certain parts of Victoria and South Australia. It gets its name from its call - a three part moaning “craw-ork ar-ar”, rising and then falling in tone (described as the sound of a duck or goose being strangled). What intrigues me the most is this......how did the person describing this call know what a duck or a goose being strangled sounds like?!

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Magenta in Michigan

Found this whilst looking around through the archives....from our trip last October, this is from the backyard of some friends we stayed with in Michigan. Got no idea what the plant is, but the abundant magenta coloured fields made for a great backdrop.
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Mt Warrenheip Returns

On Saturday afternoon I had a wander around Mt Warrenheip. Its great to see plenty of new growth starting to sprout after the recent fire and the branches full of dead leaves have turned some nice shades of brown, giving a great contrast with the blackened trunks. And the red soil paddocks in the distance added another element to the view, with just the odd patch of green.
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Good Friday at Lake Burrumbeet

A grey old day here in Ballarat, so usually the best place to head in these conditions is somewhere with water. Caught a nice pair, yes there are 2 in this pic, of pelicans and then played around with some very slow shutter speeds amongst the rocks. With the water level slowly receding at the moment, the Lake Burrumbeet shoreline is constantly changing, always providing something new to work with.


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Seven Degrees!

....fahrenheit! Thats minus 14 celsius, the coldest I've ever been out in, but well worth it for this spectacular sunrise at Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park just over a couple of weeks ago. The fellow photographer I was speaking to that morning said it was zero on his iPhone, but when its that cold I don't think it makes that much difference. And I gotta admit to some frost bite concerns back at the motel afterwards....I did have gloves on, of course, but to make any adjustments to the camera I had to take them off every few minutes, and after 45 minutes that morning the cold was really starting to set in. This is going to make those so-called cold Ballarat winters quite tame!
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Some Falling Water

My visit to Geelong on Thursday gave me my first chance for a while, locally at least, to play around with some falling water. This is just one of the cascades along the river near Buckley Falls that caught my eye.
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Buckley Falls and the Barwon Paper Mill, Geelong

A visit to Geelong on Thursday gave me the chance to visit Buckley Falls and the Barwon Paper Mill. The Barwon River precinct at Queens Park, better known as Buckley Falls, for the British convict who lived with Aborigines for 32 years - has long hosted an unusual rocky cascade, water race and remnants of long-gone industry. As a picturesque riverside scene it is difficult to match the bluestone, red brickwork and craggy texture of the former paper mills that operated at Buckley Falls from 1878 to 1923. Whilst the water flow is down very low at the moment, there was enough water to keep me happy, and the whole location offers many opportunities, certainly worthy of a return visit once the rains return.


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Before the Sunrise

No, not from the Ballarat district! From our Lava Boat tour back in Hawaii, well before the sun has risen, the colours were amazing, and you can see how close we got. 
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Striking Contrasts

After the hottest Autumn day in Ballarat since 1957, the weather stayed warm all day, but the clouds got heavier and thicker. I was out around Dean at the reservoir there watching the great clouds moving through and this group of 3 trees was a great candidate for a black and white...and then as I was coming back to town there was one last break in the clouds to let, perhaps, that last glimpse of a fading summer shine through.

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Silo II

Second in the new project series. This is from out at Windermere.......pretty much as I visualised it, though the moon was a bit higher than I was expecting.
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Getting Down at Lake Burrumbeet

On Tuesday I was out and about looking for moon images....I find the day or 2 before the full moon (due on Wednesday) is often a good time to get that huge moon rising, so I was out around Windermere looking for moon and silo images. But with a big sunset in the offing, I decided to duck over to Lake Burrumbeet, to one of my favourite rocky points. This image was very hard to compose as I literally had my camera down on the rocks, almost at water level, and I couldn't see at all what I was actually shooting, but with a few attempts this one came out really well (though I must admit it was pretty crooked in the camera!)
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The Watchman, Zion National Park

Probably the most famous view at Zion is this view of the Watchman off the bridge leading into the canyon. When we arrived late in the day we checked in and raced to this spot to grab a few images before meeting a fellow Utah photographer and his wife  for dinner.....and then 25 hours later I was back. I really like those white, skeletal trees in these!

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Allendale Apocalypse

On Monday evening I was up north of Ballarat, just west of Smeaton. The clouds looked to be taking over as I wandered around one of the old mine sites, but the moon out east was sitting in some clear sky and kept me busy for a while. With some interesting images to take home, I headed south and looking to the west noticed just a touch of colour starting to appear on the horizon. With a lot of paddock burn-offs at the moment there was some low lying smoke around, and as the sun set lower and lower it finally found an opening to break through and put on quite an amazing display. The panorama here shows the scale, make sure you click on it for a larger look, but you really need to come over and look at it on my large screen! A fantastic end to the day, it put the earlier images I captured out of my mind, but still I'll try and post a couple, they're quite interesting in their own right.

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The Needle Iao State Park Maui

We had some time to fill in on our last day in Maui so we made a visit to Iao State Park, an easy drive that fitted in well with our next airport transfer to the Big Island. Quite a small park with some spectacular scenery, most notably "The Needle" that was enhanced with some passing breaks of sunshine.
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Looking West from Warrenheip

Sunday evening's excursion took me out to Mt Warrenheip to see what the damage was from the recent fire out there. Access is fine to get up the mountain and the fire damage is right in your face, you can already see some new green as the new growth starts up....I think with some nice light I should be able to get some interesting images on a future visit. Meanwhile, captured these 2 views looking west of some big skies.

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Sliding Sands Trail or is it Mars?

You could be mistaken for thinking we went to Mars on the recent trip....this is the awesome landscape from Haleakala National Park on Maui. We were up at the peak for sunrise and then had the chance to walk down into the park on the Sliding Sands Trail afterwards when some great conditions with the early morning light put on something very special. You've gotta click on this for a bigger look!
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A New Project - Silos

I've been thinking about a new, on-going project on silos....there are quite a few great examples in the Ballarat district that are always catching my eye, and its a subject that seems particularly suited to black and white. From Saturday night on my way home from Lake Burrumbeet, this set  makes a great start.......
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Saturday's Sunset

South side of Lake Burrumbeet provided a good opportunity with some very nice late colour, and the changing of the seasons has brought the angle of the sun a lot further north so that its not hidden off to the left amongst the trees as it has been through summer. Once again a slow shutter speed added some nice texture to the water.
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Fridays Fireworks

Looking very grey on Firday evening when I left home, in fact there were a few drops of rain about, so I headed up to Lake Wendouree with the challenge of finding something worthwhile. But well before I got up there, I could see the glow of some nice light on the horizon, and was rewarded with quite a nice sunset, with some really strong crepuscular rays (some people call them God Rays!). And an unusual purple hue to the light added to what turned out to be a great end to the day. And well worth  a click on this to see it larger.
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Further Down the Big Sur Coast

Hard to believe it was less than a week ago when I took this.....seemed well suited for black and white as there wasn't much colour in the original. Make sure you click on it for a Bigger Sur look!
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One Is All It Takes

On Thursday evening I was cruising around out west near Windermere. There were some great clouds around that I was hoping to use, and the breaks of sunbeams were also looking good. I spotted this view and had to really hustle before those beams faded away.....and after maybe an hour out and about came home with only 11 images....the conditions fell in a hole and left me with grey skies. But this one image made it all worth while, don't you think?
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Back to the Lava!

Here's another couple of images from our thrilling lava boat excursion recently on the Big Island of Hawaii. Taken quite some time apart, it gives a good indication of the lighting conditions as they went from near dark right into the new day. And that moon was a real bonus!
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Slowing It Down

Some great late light out at Lake Burrumbeet on Wednesday evening, so I decided to experiment with some long, time exposures. This always gives a totally different feel to an image, one that I especially like, hope you do, too!

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The Sunset that Followed......

These 3 came after the previous sheep sunset....a fantastic sky had me stopping many times on the way back down to Creswick as the colours just kept getting better and better. The clouds in the second one here is what originally had me heading out this way as they looked like they might fire up a bit! The moon was an added extra bonus!


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Australiana

Tuesday evening, out north of Creswick....classic Australian scene....and the sunset afterwards was pretty nice, too!

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Heading Down the Coast

Our last day on the trip was spent driving south down the Californian coast from Monterey to Los Angeles airport. About 30 miles south of Monterey you arrive at Big Sur, one of the most scenic coastlines in the country...this was from one of the first stops we made, just after the sun had risen and the light was strong enough to shoot in. 
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Clarkes Cows

On Monday evening I headed out towards Creswick - there were some great clouds around, but once I got out that way I then decided to head back over towards the Clarkes Hill area, just as the light was really working its magic. In the 2nd one here you can see the really small cows on the horizon in the top right that I captured in the last one when I moved further up the hill. 


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The Bamboo Forest at Haleakala National Park on Maui

Going back to the first day on Maui...we did the drive down to Hana and then on to the National Park section that sits on the coast. Was extremely wet, but made for some great images. This bamboo forest was massive, and because of the rain everything had a great, saturated look to it.
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A Welcome Home.....

At Lake Wendouree here in Ballarat on Sunday evening, the sun made a very brief break-through just before sunset...I took it as a welcome home greeting! And then this view of Nazareth House on the walk home with some interesting skies, perfect for black and white.

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Monday Morning Magic

Monday morning once again offered some nice low lying misty conditions. The first image here shows a few tendrils floating around Saddle Bac...