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

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.

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

 

 

Lone in Grand Teton

WE FOUND THIS LONE BEAUTY IN GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING.

Lone tree image, grand teton national park

 

While planning our trip to Yellowstone, we had to consider many factors due to sheer size of the park; we ended up settling with the south entrance via Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I have to admit that the decision was largely due to browsing the “Images” tab on Google search results for the Grand Teton National Park, rather than traveler reviews, which I personally find  somewhat inaccurate.

I stopped reading the reviews after I came across something along the lines of “we found the park somewhat underwhelming” and just decided to look for myself, since what I’m interested in most is what’s there to see.           Great idea, if I say so myself!

It took us hours and hours to get to our destination since we pulled over just about every 5-10 minutes to take in yet another amazing view. Perhaps, we’re just easily impressed, but I’d say we were pretty overwhelmed by Grand Teton National Park the entire time.

Motion Blur, Merced River

Yosemite

Visiting Yosemite

W

when visiting a visual icon like Yosemite National Park, one is automatically drawn to the views  which are familiar. After years of looking at images created by the masters who, at one time or another, also  witnessed  the same grand vision through a lens of their camera or measured scales with their paintbrush, carefully composing  their gems on canvas,  it is practically  impossible to look away because you suddenly find yourself inside a masterpiece.

Views like  Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite  Meadows and a ridiculous number of other astonishing sights  are pretty hard to keep the lens away from. My seconds, third, fourth, fifth (I have lost track of the number of times I have been utterly overwhelmed by these views to a stupor )  I’ve often joked that Yosemite is a place where one can set a camera on automatic, put auto-focus on, close one’s eyes and start pressing the shutter button…and still get beautiful  images. I have to try it one day.

I love Yosemite_ Uncommon Photography Spots by Milieux Photography

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Clouds and mountain image.

Cloud Formation and things to do in Geneva

Lake Annecy, France: Cloud Formation

 

A trip to lake Annecy was a complete accident but an unforgettable one; it is a MUST for anyone visiting the Rhône-Alpes region and also one of the  places to visit near the city of  Geneva.

We literally got stuck in Geneva for 4 days without doing the “things to do in Geneva” preparation before the trip and then the most wonderful thing happened: we went back to the airport, rented a car and spent 4 days exploring the Alps, getting lost in little mountain villages and seeing things no “things to do” list could ever prepare us for.

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Old train going through a solar windmill farm, changing California landscape

Windmill Farm California

Windmill Farm, California

Sometimes things just come together: the light is amazing, the lines are perfect….. and an old train just casually rolls into the frame.

 

Kodak Ektachrome 100G Simulation

Exposure 5:   Kodak Ektachrome 100G Simulation

Today, I unintentionally told a lie: the words “no, this is pretty much out of the camera” left my lips and it was not until hours later that I realized that I was talking about a very different image then the one I was asked about. It was the puzzled look that I could not quite place and then it hit me as I set down to work on this image. Whoops.. .

I love to process just as much as I enjoy shooting and today I found a new favorite filter for a sunset scene: Kodak Ektachrome 100G simulation  filter which is part of the Exposure 5 package. Slightly modified to remove noise as the original had an ample amount due to 1600 ISO, it’s an instant preset. I kept wondering why this was “the one” and after a little poking around, I learned that this was the one used by National Geographic for years in low light situations.

Familiarity…. film nostalgia satisfied once again.

 

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