Haleakala Summit

Haleakala Volcano Summit, Maui

This is a forgotten image from our trip to Maui and Haleakala Summit back in 2011.

The visit to Haleakala National Park was a highlight of our trip to the island, and, as with all amazing places I visit, I’ve wanted to see it again ever since.  This was not our first Maui visit, but we never made it to Haleakala the first time, we were too busy watching the turtles and basking in the sun.  Second time around we finally got more adventurous and made our way through the clouds and to the top of Haleakala summit; the view was breathtaking!

Image of Haleakala Summit, Maui, Hawaii

I strongly recommend for anyone visiting Maui to make the trip to the top of the volcano their top priority.  The drive is unlike any other we have ever experienced: you start off on a regular road but soon end up driving through a thick layer of clouds on a winding serpentine up, up and up.  Then, just as suddenly, the clouds fall back and you’re suddenly above them, viewing the island as if you’re in an airplane.  It gets even better, because what waits at the Haleakala Summit is view unlike any other I have ever seen.  Hundreds of craters and a landscape that simply takes your breath away (the elevation helps with that too).

We all have one regret about the trip still; because it was our last day and we did not know what to expect, we were not prepared for hiking.  Bring a backpack with you if planning to go up, there are miles and miles of hiking trails at the top.  All we could do that day was watch and envy hikers in all directions.  The great thing, is that I’ll be ready for next time, and finding this image in my working files, all lonely and forgotten, just reminded me why we should go back to Haleakala summit sooner, rather than later.

Location: Haleakala Summit, Maui, Hawaii

Exposure: 1/160 sec  f/7.1

ISO: 100

Camera: Cannon 50D

Lens: EF 24-105


Yellowstone Colors

I find myself coming back to Yellowstone National Park images again, and I don’t think I’ll stop for quite some time. The scenery offered so much more than interesting subject matter: the colors of the landscape are simply irresistible.

colors of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Even looking at this image after I’m done, I had to flip a few times to before and after to make sure that I did not deviate too far from the original. I’m both surprised and delighted that I did not. The colors in Yellowstone are just unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and the images are so much fun to play with over and over again.

As with all my landscapes, I try to recreate my perception of the place at the time I experienced it and this particular scene was all about color. Nothing here is forcefully added, colored by hand or tweaked in post-processing to beyond recognition. The colors are presented just as they are; the reds are just as rusty, the blues are just as acidic and the greens do have the glowing neon quality. Yet, such a place exists in nature and I am profoundly grateful that it does and also that I had the opportunity to see it in this lifetime.
Photographers often talk about challenges they had to overcome while taking a particular image; the one thing I recall from the past is that I would get so overwhelmed with such a majestic sight, that I would literally freeze and forget the most basic functions of my camera. I guess it was the pressure, especially if it was a place not so close to home and I knew that it was probably the only opportunity I’ll ever get to take the shot.
So, after many, many failed attempts, I learned to just take a deep breath, check my settings beforehand, and then just shoot without thinking. The eyes become a pretty good guide, and the hands tend to follow naturally, adjusting the controls. I’ve been a lot happier with my images since.
Location: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Exposure: 1/640 sec at f/13
Focal Length: 32 mm
Camera: Canon 5D MarkII
Lens: EF 24-105 mm

Seascape Parallels

Pismo Beach Seascape

This is probably my favorite seascape of Pismo Beach, California.  It’s an amazing place to visit any season and it has an incredible micro climate, offering a cool place to escape during the summer and a warm place to look forward to during the winter. Of course, no matter when you go, there are endless photo opportunities here.
seascape image. parallel lines consisting of sand, wood, ocean waves and the sky

I have taken and processes so many different images of the ocean from Pismo Beach over the years, but this particular seascape caught my eye this morning because of its peaceful nature. These usually do not contain perfectly straight lines, as the beauty of the seascape is quite the opposite. I guess I saw a different side to my favorite beach, and the playful display of parallels appealed to me greatly even though it has been two years since this image was taken. I guess time to go back and get some more (as if I ever need an excuse).
As to the technical specifications, this was pretty simple and straightforward: minor Lightoom adjustments for contrast, followed by a final finishing touch in Photoshop using one of my favorite plugins: Exposure 7 by Alienskin. This was done using the Kodachrome 35mm – Brighter filer from their Vintage selection (I use this one a lot), I love the consistent blues and pure whites.

The exposure is as follows:
Exposure: 1/200 sec at f/ 8.0
Focal Length: 105 mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon EF 24-105mm  (LOVE this lens)

Panorama Trick : Yellowstone Pools

Yellowstone Pools and a Little Panorama Trick

Yellowstone Pools are one of the major contributions to the surreal appearance of the Yellowstone National Park.  The bubbling water, the amazing colors, and the smells all contribute to the other-woldldly experience and make for a hell of a photo opportunity.

Some opportunities, however, come with a challenge, and this shot was no exception.  Because of the proximity to the scene and a fence which obstructed the view (but protected the well-being of the observer), my 24-105 mm lens was simply not going to cut it: at the maximum 24 mm zoom I was still missing the sky!  This became a chance to experiment and think fast, so I flipped to a portrait orientation  and clicked away… I’m sure glad I did.

Yellowstone Pools

The lesson learned is that you can even get your shot in tight places, with abstractions and equipment limitations; the trick is to stitch it all up in post processing and knowing what you want to capture.  Yellowstone pools can be depicted in limitless number of ways, but for me it was important to portray their presence against a beautiful sky and a forest line on the horizon.

I highly recommend to try this technique sometime, and here is a very helpful tutorial from Phlearn on how to process your panorama in Photoshop in case you’ve never tried it before : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbSGBGZy8cw .

Personal panorama trick:

  1. A panorama does not need to look like one. Focus on what you wanted to capture and cut out the rest.
  2. Use your manual focus. This is VERY important; otherwise you might not get the desired result.
  3. If you fail, then try again. This is MOST important as the technology at this point handles most of the problems, just don’t give up.

Happy shooting to All.

Lone Pine Sunrise

Lone Pine Sunrise or How to Visit Death Valley in Just One Day.

Lone Pine, California, nestled along the Highway 395 is a little town with a population of just over 2,000 but it can offer an amazing Lone Pine Sunrise to anyone wanting to reach or visit Death Valley in just one day.

Admittedly, it’s one of many that people look past on their way to the big, exciting Mammoth Lakes as they drive up, reducing their speed because they have to,  and looking straight ahead, thinking the entire time “I can NEVER live here”.  A few actually pause and think.  They think why people live in this desolate place.  They also think about the fact that if they had to, would they be able to? Also, if they did not have to, why would they choose to? Mostly, we chose not to think about those reasons.  But I wonder, why do we naturally presume that those reasons are bad?

This post is about one of the magical things Lone Pine has offer to the unsuspecting passerby: an opportunity to visit the amazing Death Valley in just one day.  Admittedly, a day is NOT enough, but for the lack of alternatives this life has to offer, if one day is all you get, the sleepy town of Lone Pine is the way to get it.


Image of a sunrise in Lone Pine


Our first time to see the Death Valley was all the way back in 2012, I actually had to look up the date, and, astonishingly, underestimated the time elapsed by 2 years!  Lately, this does happen a lot.  Fortunately, I happen to appreciate time and try and make the most of it.

Visiting Death Valley in just one day is pretty simple: since all of the places inside the valley itself are booked at least six month ahead of time, try booking a night in Lone Pine instead.  Wake up early, catch an amazing Lone Pine Sunrise,  (the thing most people miss looking straight ahead) just  look across the road and then reach your destination in less than two hours.

The Lone Pine sunrise was a powerful experience and, finally, I had a chance to correct my wrongs and… redo a photoshoot I really messed up almost four years ago.

Hooray and hello beautiful Lone Pine Sunrise!

Burned Forest

Eerie Burned Forest, Yellowstone National Park

Burned forest became a familiar sight throughout our trip to Yellowstone National Park, adding to the already eerie atmosphere due to an unearthly landscape and completely unpredictable weather. The elegant silhouettes of the burned trees stood out sharply in contrast with the lush fire regrowth, gracefully becoming the predominant feature of the landscape and outshining their flourishing counterparts.  The big fire left its mark.


Image of burned forest in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

There is absolutely nothing predictable, subtle or ordinary about Yellowstone National Park.  I’ve mentioned this in a few of my posts already, but, believe me when I say, that the entire trip felt more like visiting a different planet or dimension rather than visiting a national park.

No subtleties here: severely harsh and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time, Yellowstone is most definitely a place to tickle every one of your senses.


Fire Regrowth

Yellowstone National Park Fire Regrowth

Image of the burned trees and fire regrowth in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The trip to Yellowstone National Park this year left us dumbfounded and completely overwhelmed; we started planning a return trip before ever leaving this amazing place.   There was a surprise waiting for us on every turn of the road; we’ve researched the park thoroughly, looked at countless photographs and still the experience of being there by far surpassed our every expectation.

It all started within minutes of crossing beyond the “Welcome to Yellowstone National Park” at the south entrance;   we pulled over next to the sign for Lewis Falls, but it was the riverbank on the opposite side of the road that caught our immediate attention instead.  It was the vast spread of burned trees standing perfectly straight and, amidst the silent giants, the thick, strong and lively fire regrowth of new life – the contrast of these two was pretty powerful.

Having read a little about the big Yellowstone Fire over 20 years ago, it was still unexpected to see such a well preserved evidence of the event.  The fire regrowth was everywhere as were the fallen and many still standing giants, adding to the already surreal feeling of the place which truly is beyond words.

Lewis Falls

Yellowstone Waterfall – Lewis Falls

Image of the Lewis Falls in Yellowstone National Park


One of the most accessible waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park is Lewis Falls; you don’t even need to get out of your car to get a glimpse of it while entering the park from the south entrance.

I do, however, recommend that one take the time and pull over: there is plenty of parking space and a few minutes by Lewis Falls provided us a wonderful welcome and introduction to the park.

Also, we found an interesting place to take in the sights on the other side of the highway, right along the river. Burned trees and lush fire regrowth along the bank gave us much to look forward to.

Stormy Clouds

Cloud volcano and chasing stormy clouds

Image of stormy clouds


I LOVE California.  I love the weather, the people and the inexhaustible variety of  almost everything.  From food, to landscape, to entertainment options – the choices are varied and delightfully bountiful.  California is a wonderful place to call home.

There is, however, a constant absence here which I note quite frequently: the absence of clouds.  Yes, I am spoiled and I do want it all.

As someone who is constantly chasing a pretty landscape picture, I find myself wanting to scream at times.  You know, those times when you have a beautiful shot just begging to be captured: the sunset hits the mountains just at the right angle, the flowers glow, the water shimmers and a bird flies as on cue into your frame.  You take the shot and end up with a beautiful composition, great colors, dreamy lighting and… a gaping blue hole up top.  The missing sky.   It is painful, endlessly frustrating and, I must admit,  I have even considered pasting skies in.  Yes, yes I did.  I even have a full stock of skies for pasting.  I just can’t do it or, maybe, I can’t do it just yet.  Another year or two of this drought and I’ll be ready though.

For now, I chase clouds wherever I find them.  This amazing stormy cloud covered mountain in the Grand Tetons looked just like a cloud volcano.  It was a great sight to see a great privilege to photograph.

Snake River Bend


View of the Snake River

One of our many stops,  while driving through the beautiful Grand Teton National Park, was a vista point overlooking the Snake River Bend.

Snake River was our companion throughout the drive as well as a reason for many stop just to take in the views.  Seemingly calm at first glance, it provided white water rafting stretches as well as endless photography, swimming and  fishing opportunities for anyone equipped for the occasion.

Image of Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Yoming



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