Tag Archives: wanderlust

Wanderlust :: CO

11 Jul
Wanderlust :: CO

Wanderlust :: CO

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” -Wallace Stegner

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a spectacular place. ❤

Although the idea of our national parks is deeply rooted in American culture, there was a time when preserving wild spaces was just the merest wisp of an idea.  It was an idea, however, that resonated deeply with people like John Muir, whose prolific writings stressed that these natural spaces were necessary for the soul.  His advocacy later became the driving force behind the creation of several national parks.

In response to growing pressure, Yosemite was placed under the protection of the state of California by Abraham Lincoln.  In 1872, Ulysses S. Grant made Yellowstone the world’s first national park.  In 1916, the National Park Service was created to oversee the growing network of national parks, refuges, forests, etc with a mandate to protect the parks “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” and to promote their use by all people.

So where does that leave us now?

Just like anything else, not everyone agrees with the idea of protecting and preserving the land and animals that live within the land set aside by the government.  In particular, designated National Monuments – which come into being through the executive branch, under the Antiquities Act, for the purpose of preserving sites on federal lands with significant natural, cultural, or scientific features – have come under fire recently.  The Antiquities Act, however, was specifically created to protect these spaces from OURSELVES.  At the time, precious native american historic sites were defiled and artifacts were being stolen from the lands by treasure hunters to be placed into the hands of private collectors.

The arguments against many of the designated monument lands generally boil down to resources and money.  It costs money to maintain the lands.  The local towns are more and more overwhelmed and their resources are stretched thin to accommodate visitors.  There are natural resources within those lands that someone wants to consume more of – lumber, grazing lands, fossil fuels, etc.  Most recently, the American people have been “loving places to death” and there isn’t enough man-power to stop them….  The list goes on.

But in the end, there is only one argument needed to convince me that these lands need protection though…. Humans.

Now, let me clarify by saying that not all humans are short-sighted or greedy.  And often times environmental damage is done because of limited choices, lack of options, the need to survive.

That being said, it can’t be denied that we only have one planet, and we haven’t always been good stewards.  There are billions of pounds of garbage in the worlds oceans.  We poison and acidify our drinking and recreational waters.  We pollute our air, and then cry foul when our populations develop higher incidences of cancer, asthma and copd. We create environmental dead zones, with our waste killing off millions of birds and animals.  We deforest huge swaths of land without re-planting trees, who are major players in the “you need oxygen to breathe” game.  Most importantly, and humans ignore the fact that we live in a web, where every single thing on this planet is connected to the others.  Food chains are delicate and small changes to environmental conditions can have far-reaching consequences which will likely affect your children.

So while I personally believe there is almost always room for compromise, I also strongly believe that our nationally designated spaces serve an important, long-term, survival-as-a-species function.  They are pockets of hope for future generations.  I hope with my whole heart that we continue to appreciate our wild spaces, and they function they serve not only as a safe haven for our weary souls, but as a space where the other important strands in the web of life can thrive.  I hope we continue to think about the big picture, which is keeping this planet hospitable to our species for as long as possible.

Or at least until we figure out terra-forming and light speed.  We comin’ atcha, Earth 2!

 

Ponytail Falls

17 May
Tender Introductions :: OR

Tender Introductions :: OR

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. – Poe

This gem is called Ponytail Falls (located above Horsetail Falls) and it was our first stop in the Columbia River Gorge on a recent trip to Oregon.  It is a relatively easy, but steep, 0.3 miles from the trailhead, and definitely worth the effort to go see.  It was also one of the few falls we saw in the Gorge that didn’t immediately cover your lens in spray.  If you intend to go shooting anywhere in either the Columbia River Gorge or along the Oregon Coast, make sure to bring extra lens cloths! 🙂

Many thanks to local photographer TJ Simon for taking time to show us around to his favorite spots in the state.  We definitely couldn’t have seen so many great spots without his input and company.  Do us a favor…make sure to check out his site and show him some love!

Exif data: f/11, 1/2 sec, iso 100, 10 mm

 

Caliche

9 May
Caliche :: OR

Caliche :: OR

 

Strange name for a photo, eh?  Well, it’s actually quite literal.  This was shot in the Alvord desert of Oregon (a stunning place, in my opinion) on a mostly dry lake bed.  I say mostly, because when we arrived, the northern end of the playa still had some water – not much, but enough that there was a thick mud along the water’s edge called “caliche”.  (At least according to the locals!  I am certainly no mud expert.)

Anyway, this whole set up was interesting in a few ways.  First, in the span of just a day, a slight wind caused the water on the northern end of the lake to migrate significantly south vastly changing the face of the damaged playa in just 24 hours.  Anyone who was silly enough to park / camp close to the migration area would have been in for a rude surprise.

Second, I have never seen such sticky mud before.  Our hike across it got progressively harder…and taller, as the caliche built up beneath the soles of our shoes.  According to some of the people living on the playa’s edge, visitors can easily bury their vehicles up to the axle if they don’t heed the subtle color changes that signify the transition from hard, dry earth to mud.

As for the actual image, this was our first sunrise at the desert and obviously, it was pretty dang stunning.  This was shot with a wide angle lens and a grad ND filter.

It was also taken as part of a series of images to be used in this month’s lesson, Hyperfocal Distance, that David and I are teaching over at Light & Landscape (a fun, online teaching and critiquing program that we helped launch in February….we have an online image review planned for later this month, so if you’re looking for some feedback and a taste of what we do in the L&L Member’s Area, definitely contact us for more information!)

The camera settings:  f/11, 1/8 sec, 10 mm, iso 100

Snowstar

12 Feb
Snowstar :: CT

Snowstar :: CT

Singles Awareness Day is coming up soon. For those of you with good fortune in the love department, you know this day as Valentine’s Day. We think everyone deserves to feel appreciated on the 14th, so help us spread the love.
If you use Instagram, and want a chance to win a free copy of our book, you have TWO tasks. First, follow @dpasillas, and @seeingspotsphoto. Second,  comment on the contest post. Boom. Done. Just like that, you’ve put your name in the running to win a free copy of our book, “Photography. Duh!”
Already a follower? Great! You sound smart and attractive! Just leave a comment to enter the drawing. 
The winner will be announced Monday the 15th.

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

Dance With The Devil

4 Nov
Dance With The Devil :: NY

Dance With The Devil :: NY

Back to your regularly scheduled waterfall photos! haha  I’m starting to think that perhaps I should mix things up a bit.  I’ll try to grab some mountain or tree or beach shots soon, mmmkay?  In the meantime, enjoy this little gem from Ithaca’s Treman Park. 🙂

I opted for Black and White for this one for a few reasons.  First, it was taken before the leaves really started to turn beautiful shades of autumn…so the scene had that awkward, in between, non-harmonious color scheme.  Also, if you read my tips on Seeing In Black and White, you’ll know that shapes and repeating patterns usually convert to monochrome well.  In this case, the fallen log and the waterfall shapes complimented each other perfectly, while simultaneously creating a nice line into the frame.

Haven’t read the Learning to See in Black and White article?  If you’re an iPhone/iPad/etc user, you can read it in one of the older issues of Light & Landscapes, a free magazine through the newstand app.  If you’re not, I uploaded it into my Tips & Tutorials page.  To access it, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter and in the confirmation email, we send you the link/password to access our latest tips write-ups!

Plus…you know…we have a holiday give-away planned (when I finally get around to writing the next newsletter) and if you GET the newsletter, then you’ll have the opportunity to enter the drawing!  Double win!  Free tips and stuff! 🙂

Oh…and before I forget…the photo info: f/11, iso 100, 0.8 sec, 10 mm

Throwing it Back

15 Oct
The Bubbles :: ME

The Bubbles :: ME

Because…you know…it’s Thursday.  Who invents those hashtags anyway?  They’re kinda like internet holidays.  I mean…hell…National Chocolate Day?  Sure I’ll celebrate it, but how is that a thing?

Hmm…  Okay.  Bad example.  I should never question the celebration of Chocolate.

National…um…Bandaid Day?  Yeah.  We’ll go with that.

ANNNNNNNNNYYYYWAAYYY, this is a shot from Acadia last fall, because the leaves this year are being stubborn.  Taken at Jordan Pond, this is a pretty famous view of the Bubbles.

I have to say, as National Parks go, Acadia is pretty awesome.  It really does have something for everyone.  It’s beaches are beautiful, we saw a lot of surfers when we were there, the hikes range from “holy crap I’m going up a mountain” to “Ahhhhhhh, these woods are relaxing” and most things in the park are very accessible.  These pockets of nature are really the sort of thing we should be celebrating.  National National Park Day.  While eating chocolate.  And wearing bandaids.

#tbt #traveltuesday #hastagsfordays #wanderlustyAF

The shot settings, for those of you who like that sort of thing: iso 100, f/11, 1/4 sec, 11 mm

Lately, I’ve been very good about remembering to post my newest images on Instagram, so if you want to keep up with where I’ve been lately, or chat about how much you also love the NY Giants, follow me there. 🙂 (Go GMEN!)