Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove is a California State Park, located along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) between Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach) and Laguna Beach.

These are a few of the images that I captured, yesterday afternoon. All were made with a Nikon D700 and 24mm f2.8 lens. Exposure times varied 1/2000 to 30 seconds.

Often, I see photographers pack up their gear and go home, as soon as the sun sets. Actually, some of the best visuals are in the 15-20 minutes AFTER sunset. The photo, above, was taken at 7:11 — the official sunset time, but the one bellow was taken at 7:49 — more than 30 minutes after the sun was below the horizon.

Exposure for the sunset was 1/30 second and the sutter speed for the second image was 30 seconds.

Master landscape photographer, Matt Saville, setting up to shoot a rock!

My new friend, Susan Manley

I cheated: This photo was made within 60 seconds of the ones above and below. The ‘secret’ — a 1/2000 shutter speed vs. 1/250

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Paul Edward

Susan Manley Nice shots, Paul. Thanks for sharing.

lagunamary Two favorites:

the story telling shot with Matt,
and the image after Susan;
the luv composition of the golden, sandstone rocks with the wave breaking in the background

Road Trip through Utah, Part 2

This is the second part of the story of my Utah Road Trip. Part one is available, here:

Having spent the previous day roaming around both inside the park, and its environs, day two was devoted to exploring the shuttle stops that I missed the first day. Each stop is the home to several trailheads. The trails vary from overnight to a couple of miles, and a few are suitable to children, while others require technical skills.

The first ‘European” settlers in the area were farmers. Just looking at the terrain puts me in awe of the hardships that they overcame.

One of the most impressive views, for me — from a shuttle stop, without hiking — is the Court of the Patriarchs, below.

Left to right: Abraham Peak, Isaac Peak, Mount Moroni, Jacob Peak (nearly hidden, to the far right. I don’t know the name of the large white peak in the background.

The following are random shots. All were made with a Nikon D7000, handheld. In most cases, the lens was a 24-120mm, f3.5-5.6. It’s a somewhat maligned lens, usually my people who are using it for the wrong purpose. For this type of photography (backpacking or hiking, where you need a variety of focal lengths, and can’t always zoom with your feet, and where the relatively slow and variable shutter speeds are not a problem, it is the perfect lens (for me). Post processing in LR4 — and since these images are for me, and not a client, they may seem a little over-saturated, to some viewers — and that’s okay, because that was my choice. At the end are some B&W images, a few from outside the park.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Paul Edward

Shane Thompson Great photos Paul. I absolutely love Zions and the entire Colorado Plateau. I really am quite lucky to live close enough to shoot there from time to time. This part of the country was made for super-saturated colors. Back in the day I loved shooting here with Kodak E100vs and Fuji Velvia 120 rollfilm in my RB67. I would underexpose a half to a full stop and use a polarizer and would end up with some really vibrant reds and dark blue skies. If you have never seen the book “Plateau Light” by David Muench it is really worth checking out, some amazing photos of this area.

Perseid Meteor Shower — Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you don’t know what the Perseids are, go here:

On Sunday, August 11th, I drove from Huntington Beach to Joshua Tree National Park (about 130 miles). After hiking the Hidden Valley Trail — it’s not very well ‘hidden’ and they have signs :-), I rented a campsite at the Hidden Vally Campground — only $10 per night, but first-come-first-served (no reservations). I made some new friends, and sat and talked ’til about midnight. The northeastern sky was filling with stars and meteors were whizzing by, but the lights in the campground — cars, people with flashlights, etc., made it less than optimum for time lapse photography. I could grab a few stills, but take a photo, every 30 seconds for a couple of hours, and you are going to get lots of lights shining into your camera lens. I had scouted the area near the campground, before dark, and found a spot, about 50 yards from the campsite, but behind some rocks, which block most of the extraneous light. Not all light was blocked, as you will see in the following ‘movie’. The first few frames were captured from the campground, so you will see some headlights. You will see some lights, shining on the rocks, in the rest of the movie, as well.

These images, from the Hidden Valley Trail, were captured with an Olympus E-P1 and a Zuiko 17-42mm, f3.5 – 5.6 lens.

I was using a Nikon D700, on a tripod, with a 24mm/f2.8 lens. Initially, I took a few frames wide open, but settled on f8. Shutter speed was 25 seconds and IOS was 3200, at first, then 6400. I took 120 shots, spaced 5 seconds apart (25 sec. exposure and 5 second interval) which gave me a 5 second movie (24fps) for 50 minutes of shooting.

I shot jpeg, processed the images in LR4, and output via the Slideshow module, using a template for 24fps. I used templates from Had I been shooting in daylight, I would have shot RAW, but 25 second exposures, in RAW, can fill up a card, quickly.

To add music, and make a title, and closing credits, I brought the LR slideshow into iMovie 11, added some music from Purple Planet. iMovie adjusted the frame rate from 24 to 30fps, resulting in 4 second movie. The title and credits extended this to 20 seconds.

So, you might be wondering why I only show for 50 minutes, if I knew the result would only be 4-5 seconds long. Short answer: Coyotes. I was in pitch dark, about 50 years from the campsite, when I heard the coyotes howl. If you’ve been around coyotes, at all, you soon realize that there yelp is designed to make it sound like there are more of them, than there really are. When we lived in San Juan Capistrano, right along San Juan Creek, we heard them every night, and saw them, frequently, especially near dusk.

OK, so here I am, in pitch dark, ‘surrounded’ by yelping, hungry, vicious predators. Sure, I had a $2,500 camera, on the top of a tripod, with which to defend myself. As they got closer, and louder, I remember what my scuba instructor told me, 40 years ago: If you see a shark, make a judicious retreat from that part of the ocean, but assume that, by the time you saw him, he had already decided that he didn’t want a bite of you, because he knew you were there, long before you knew he was there. I applied that logic to my coyote encounter, and retreated from that part of the desert. Hence, 50 minutes, rather than the planned three hours!

I got 120 shots, and the coyotes probably got the squirrel they were hunting.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Paul Edward

Road Trip to Utah — Zion National park

In April, I took a trip to Southern Utah. Originally, I wanted to go to Monument Valley, but, by the time I got back to Southern California, I had visited Zion Canyon, Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin, and driven 1,000 miles of backroads — and finally got to Monument Valley, returning home eleven days later.

I not going to write a tour guide, or tell you any travel secrets, or give a lot of technical information on photography, or post-processing. If you are interested in that, use the contact form and ask away. I’ll share what I can remember. 🙂 I will tell you that most images were captured with a Nikon D7000 — yes, not with my D700. I wanted the reach of the crop factor. Also, you will have to enjoy over-saturated, sort of fake HDR post-processing. 🙂 Hey, I just retired, so I don’t have to please clients, or anyone but myself, now!

Today’s post is about Zion National Park. Mid-April and early May is a great time to visit Zion. School isn’t out, yet, so the number of visitors is less than mid-summer. Also, beginning in April, private cars are restricted from Zion. The park service operates a fleet of shuttle buses that pick up hikers and sightseers at the Visitor’s Center, and circulate through six or seven bus stops, inside the park. While each drop-off area is scenic, in itself, there are multiple trails heads at each stop. You can select from easy 2-3 hour loop, or in-and-out trails, to overnight trips.

There are a variety of maps, guided books, and internet resources to help you plan your time. A few days before I started my trip, I made a hotel reservation, in town of Springdale, UT. Driving up from Orange County, I passed through St. George, just before dusk, made the turn off to Zion, and arrived at the hotel after dark. The next morning, I was up at dawn, had breakfast, and caught the local shuttle to the park, and jumped on the park shuttle to the farthest stop. I hiked on the mostly paved River Trail as far as I could go without the need for waders, or swimming. Then I doubled back, along the same trail, to the shuttle stop, got on the next bus (they come and go about every 10 minutes, are free, and you can get on and off as frequently as you like).

I stopped at two more times, hiked a few more trails, and got back to the hotel around 3PM.

Zion is unlike the Grand Canyon — you don’t start at the top and look down into it. You start in the canyon, and look up at the massive rocks towering above you. There is certain majesty about it, and even if you arrive not believing in a Supreme Being, you will leave with a firm belief in something greater than yourself.

After spending the morning and early afternoon roaming the floor and lower reaches of the canyon, I wanted to get a look at it from above and from a distance — but the areas around the rim of the canyon are not in the park and some are on private property. I found a tour company who had a license to take visitors into these upper areas, via four-wheel drive vehicles. More importantly, for me, since I spent most of the day looking up, the views from the high plateaus gave a different, and more encompassing perspective of the area.

Often, petroglyph locations are not well publicized, to prevent them from being defaced. Fortunately, I didn’t appear to be a vandal, so my guide took me to a location, outside the park, that had a couple of examples of rock art.

More views of Zion, from a distance.

Not far from the village of Springdale, on a dusty, bumpy road, on the side of a mesa, is the cemetery and remnants of the town of Grafton. Two brick buildings have been restored — a church and a house.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Paul Edward

Paul Edward Hey Shane — good to hear from you. Funny that you should mention the film. I didn’t know that, but, coincidentally, a few days later, I drove over to Bryce, and through Red Rock, which was one of Butch’s hideouts — and two days later, I drove up Rte. 89 and saw the sign to Beaver — his birthplace. I didn’t cut over, since it is on I-15, and I am likely to go that way, sometime.

Take care, Shane!

Shane Thompson Paul, I don’t know if you knew this, but Grafton is where they filmed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. In the film they stay in the house, and that is where the bicycle scene is filmed as well. It’s also really interesting to read the headstones where they have the cause of death.

Johna Performs at WitZend, Venice, CA

WitZend is one of those cool places that could have come right out the ’60s coffee house scene. It’s brick wall, exposed beams, small bar, and good food transcend the decades and make you feel right at home. If fact, several leather sofas, in addition to cafe tables, and old theater seats, makes it seem like you might be in a friend’s living room. Add the mellow tones of Johna you may never want to leave.

Vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Nadine Krämer has one of those voices that can entrance you. Kolja Pfeiffer handles the keyboards, and together, this German duo make for a very pleasant listening experience. They are probably considered ‘pop’ performers, but there is a blues quality, and every one-in-awhile, I got the feeling that Nadine could be a rocker, if she choose.

OK, I write about photography, and not music, but Johna, at the WitZend, in Venice, CA., was a very comfortable experience.

Johna opened shortly after 7PM, on an August evening, so there was still some sunlight coming in through the large windows facing Lincoln Boulevard, as well as a couple ceiling sunlights. There was enough light to shoot without flash, but I knew we would quickly loose the natural light, so I placed a Nikon SB-900 with a Gary Fong Universal Lightsphere, to stage right, put a Nikon D700 on a Manfrotto monopod, and alternated between flash and no flash. I started with a sensitivity setting of ISO 800, but soon was working at either 3200 or 6400. As I’ve said, in other posts, ’embrace the grain”. 🙂

Johna at the WitZend

Kolja Pfeiffer — Keyboards Listening to Nadine Krämer — Vocals/Guitar

Johna at the Witzend

Kolja Tinkles the Ivorys 🙂

Kolja on Keyboard

Kolja on Keyboard

Nadine Krämer -- Vocals/Guitar

Nadine Krämer — Vocals/Guitar

Nadine Krämer -- Vocals/Guitar

Nadine Krämer — Vocals/Guitar/Songwriter

Nadine Krämer -- Vocals/Guitar/Songwriter

Nadine Krämer — Vocals/Guitar/Songwriter on Johna’s West Coast Tour

As I do for most club performances, I took a 50mm/1.4, 85mm/1.4, and a 70-200mm/2.8. While I generally transport everything in a Tamarac System 10, (or Pelican roll-aboard) — yes, it’s about 15 years old — once I get to the venue, I find it too bulky to use when moving through the crowd, or between the tables, so I put one lens on the camera, and the other two in a Shootsac.

Johna on Stage

Johna on Stage at the WitZend — the 2nd Stop on their Month-Long West Coast Tour

If you missed Johna at the Whiskey a Go Go, in Los Angeles, or at WitZend, in Venice, run down to San Diego, for their next tour stop, or see the full schedule, here.

For more photos of Johna, in Venice, check out the gallery.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Paul Edward
S m u g M u g
T h e   B   S c h o o l