This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

9 Feb

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Last year, over the summer, I explored this place and I told myself that I would make it back here on a snowy, windless day to get some reflections on the reservoir.

I went back on Friday for sunset…sort’ve a boring sky, but I thought it might still work because the snow-pines-reflection combo was pretty rad. Then I got close enough to see the “new improved paint job”.

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Pretty much the exact opposite of “leave no trace”.  It’s up to all of us to respect and protect our shared spaces.  This isn’t just a photographer’s perspective, though this did call for some adjustments to my original plan (see the new composition with a totally different angle and unfortunately no snowy pines above!).  This is a human perspective.  This is a long-term planner’s perspective. This is a “what mess are we leaving for the next generation” perspective…the generation, I might add, that will be taking care of us in our old age, so it’s probably in everyone’s best interest not to ruin all of the pretty, peaceful spots before they have a chance to enjoy them too! ;-p

 

Sunrise Magic

4 Feb
Morning Glory :: NY

Morning Glory :: NY

Taken at the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills last fall.  This is one of my top two sunrises of 2015….not that there are many to choose from.  I have a tough time getting up early.  Days like this work hard to convince me it’s worth it though. lol

The Plunge

25 Jan
The Plunge :: VT

The Plunge :: VT

“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

The settings: 1 sec, f/9, 10 mm, ISO 100

Quiet Abandon

20 Jan
Quiet Abandon :: VT

Quiet Abandon :: VT

“It is not the length of life, but the depth of life” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Introducing Warren Falls in Vermont. If you take Route 100 in the Green Mtn Forest, you’ll see a very popular waterfall along the roadside called Moss Glen (Granville). Right up the road is Warren Falls, which in my opinion are more impressive. The clear water, the multiple levels of deep, inviting pools and the rock erosion make for a beautiful scene.

 

In the summer, this is a popular swimming hole, and its difficult to photograph. Late fall though, if you’re brave (stupid?) enough to ford the river for this vantage point, then there are some great images to be made. :-)

The settings: f/22, 1 sec, 16 mm, ISO 100

Stardust and Dreams

6 Jan
Stardust and Dreams :: CA

Stardust and Dreams :: CA

“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity.” – Neil Gaiman

Growing up in Connecticut, I came to think of light pollution as the norm. It wasn’t until I started traveling that I realized how many stars there really are. Now, dark skies take my breath away every damn time.

This image was taken last month in Badwater Basin, Death Valley on a beautiful, cold, starry night.  In reality, it is a manual blend of two exposures.  The base image, exposed for the sky, didn’t retain much foreground detail.  I brushed in a little of a lighter exposure on the foreground in post processing.

Base Image:

iso 1600

30 sec

f/3.5

10 mm

Top 6 of 2015

30 Dec
Nubble Lights :: ME

Nubble Lights :: ME

My top of photo of 2015 is hands down the night I got to see the Northern lights for the first time. :-)  I sat on the rocks in front of the lighthouse, listening to the waves around me, and watched the pillars of light in the sky dance. All around me, I heard other people gasping and laughing at the magic of Mother Nature’s show. It was an experience that I will cherish forever.

The rest of the images, in no particular order are….

Breathing Dreams

Breathing Dreams

This shot of the mighty Taughannock Falls in NY was taken in March.  I have an ongoing photo file of places that I stumble across in my internet travels that have potential…  This location was one of them.  We spent 5 hrs in a car, each way, for a place that on the whole probably wasn’t going to offer many good vantage points for images. But then again, maybe it would. Maybe it needed to be explored. Maybe it needed to be worked at. Maybe… Well, maybe’s are intriguing…so we went.  After all, life is meant to be an adventure. :-)

Elemental :: MA / NY

Elemental :: MA / NY

Elemental is a shot of Bash Bish Falls in NY.  Beyond having spectacular light luck, and great water conditions (the low water level here was perfect for photos…though maybe less perfect regionally for everything else) I like this photo because it comes with a sense of accomplishment.  I had been coming to this location for the last 17 years (give or take) and was never able to capture the sort of image that did it justice.  This image is a symbol of perseverance.  It reminds me that nature is so very changeable and that great images require patience and persistence to find the right set of conditions.

First Light :: NY

First Light :: NY

I saw two mind-blowing sunrises this year, and this was the first.  First Light was taken as the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills of New York state.  The reservoir is about 2 hours away, and believe me, when the morning came, I didn’t feel like getting up.  But I did, and we (Kyle Van Etten, Scott Davis, Kathy Malatesta and myself) drove there, and it was so very worth it.  The light was magical.  It was a reminder of one very important rule in landscape photography:  You can’t get the shot if you don’t show up.

Cavern Cascades :: NY

Cavern Cascades :: NY

Cavern Cascades is one of several great falls in Watkins Glen State Park in NY.  The thing I like so much about this shot is the way the light fell in the gorge, and the varied textures making it absolutely perfect for black and white, which – as you may already know – is where I started my photo journey years ago.  Oh, and the company on this trip was pretty damn nice too.  I met up with Ron Clifford, AD Wheeler and Derek Kind to explore the area for the day.  Such super nice guys and really talented photographers.  I’m very glad to have met them. :-)

Of Fire and Waves :: CA

Of Fire and Waves :: CA

Last but not least, is a brand new shot from my last trip of the year.  Earlier this month I went out west to explore Death Valley (California) and Valley of Fire (Nevada).  This shot is from my second mind-blowingest (obviously, that’s a real word) sunrise of the year.  My fellow photographer, Melissa Couture, and I were treated to such a show that morning.  It was one of those times where the photographer and nature lover in me was at freak out level 10.  I felt incredibly blessed to have experienced those moments, watching the colors of the sky shift and burn across the clouds, while the rocks below were painted with a beautiful glow.  It made me grateful for the opportunities I have had in my life, for the chances I’ve taken, for the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met.  Not a bad way to close out 2015, in my opinion. ;-)

Thank you to each and every one of you for the continued support, the comments, the feedback and the love this past year.  It really means the world to me (and to David, my business partner-in-crime!).  Keep on rocking into 2016!

 

xoxo
Shannon

The Badlands

29 Dec
Of Fire and Waves :: CA

Of Fire and Waves :: CA

Earlier this month I went out west to explore Death Valley National Park in California.  During the month of October, they had a flood (yes, I said flood!  In the desert!) that changed a lot of the landscape.  Roads were washed out, some areas were completely inaccessible still, and the salt patterns in Badwater Basin got a bit of a reset.  Zabriskie Point though?  It was lookin’ mighty fine.  Especially draped in such dramatic light.

To say we lucked out with the skies during our trip is an understatement.  Like….the traveler/photographer/nature lover in me was literally freaking out.  A lot.  Because holy crap, that light. *swoon*

According to the Wik (always a reliable source of information), these badlands were the result of a little bit of water erosion (there used to be a lake here, with fish and stuff)…and then a little bit of lava action (so…also some volcano-y stuff).  The rock formations left behind were otherworldly and breath-taking, from both above at the overlook and below along the Badlands Loop trail. (To read more about our hike that day, check out my stuff on The Outbound Collective. They just released a brand new app for the iPhone and have a pretty rad new #protectthewild series of articles in their journal that are definitely worth a read!)

I had an awful lot of fun exploring Death Valley, and have put it on my “to re-visit” list, because a few days was just not enough time to see all of the awesome!  For now though, looking at these photos will have to suffice. ;-)

Special thanks to David Thompson and David Pasillas for their help with this beast of an edit!

For those of you who like the details: f/9, 10 mm, iso 100, 1 sec

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