Backdrop: Bruneau Dunes by moonlight.
I left to find a bathroom, but what i found was a beautiful group of trees. Lit by a distant sodium vapor streetlight. Don't ask why I brought a camera and tripod on my hunt for a bathroom; just accept it as a fact.
Well if i hadn't hopped over the protective fence, it would have been in my shot. We can't have that, now can we?
My new favorite plant. Everything about it is so right. The color. The texture. The smell. It even has a woody stem.
Which, as it has been brought to my attention, are the largest waterfall group in North America. Yes, that includes Niagra.
N.D. 400, F/22, ISO 100, 30s exposure. Water just looks better fogged. More water = more fog = more better.
They had a few different vantage points, and this was a bit of a hike away, but I really like how the water swirl in the lower left, and the shadows on the shoreline in the lower right came out.
Shot low, without a viewfinder.
Roadside cliffs near the Hagerman Fossil Beds, home of the Idaho state fossil: the Hagerman Horse. You know, the one that's basically a zebra.
An art lesson in a photo. I mean just look at how perfectly the roots project into negative spaces in the trees on the left and right. I even suspect myself of trimming the trees to get this shot at this point, but I just wandered upon the scene at Bogus Basin Ski Area.
The wavy hills just go on forever man...
Now with less foreground clutter. But also with more Victoria's dad getting fed up with me walking so slowly due to basically constant photo-ops. I mean and also the whole 60 Lbs of pack with poor ventilation thing, but mostly the photo ops. Note to self: bring more water next time. Second note to self: bring change of dry clothes to avoid a sweat soaked ride back.
From Victoria's mother's garden.
Also from Victoria's mother's garden. This is basically The Shot that I use to illustrate that sometimes pictures absolutely should not have their color saturation "enhanced" with Photoshop. Even a ten percent saturation bump here starts to destroy the underlying, beautiful, velvety texture of the leaves.
The crispness of the waves in the river over a 30 second shot really illustrates how well standing waves work in places like this.
Hey, sometimes I like minimalism too.
So we get to the Dunes at around 10 or 11 PM. It's still light out, temperature is nice, but the lighting isn't great. I shoot around a bit, strap up, and decide I want to make my way to the top of the dunes. The mosquitoes. are. everywhere. The pond at the bottom of the Dunes is essentially one big stagnant mosquito hatchery; it's the worst swarm of mosquitoes I've ever seen. I try running the trail to the top, but I just can't, way too many mosquitoes. Ctd.
30s exposure, lit by moonlight, ~1 AM. 18mm (27mm) f/3.5
So we retreat to the car, and spend the better part of half an hour murdering the dozens of insects that flew in when we opened the doors. Some of their corpses are probably still in that car to this day. We wait a while, until about 1 AM turning the AC on and off intermittently, ever wary for the sound of a missed bug. I head out with my kit, and frame up some shots. The mosquitoes are still horrible, but now they're a tad fewer than before. My technique for these shots was something like this:
Step 1: Plant tripod, frame shot, meter, focus, push shutter.
Step 2: Run in a large circle approximately 30s in circumference.
Step 3: Realize that was only 20s, and the shutter is still open. Run another loop.
Step 4: Check histogram, refocus, re-trip shutter, run in another, bigger, circle.
Step 5: Repeat step 4 if necessary, else grab tripod while running and move to next spot.
That thing in the top right is the moon! and the left side of the sky is the milky way! Way more stars than in NYC!
After all the shooting was done, we all piled back into the car, and managed to make it to the only Dominoes for an hundred miles fifteen minutes before closing. They still made us some pizzas, because we were starving, and they were pretty bro-tier. I'm going to go back to Bruneau some day. I'm going to go back there and climb those dunes. Also re-shoot with my new D810. This trip was my D7000's last hurrah, and it performed admirably.
At the Boise Birds of Prey center. there were some really neat birds there, but the light didn't work out too well for me for the most part. No matter, it was still a phenomenal stop, highly recommend.
This little guy was the cutest thing. I managed to catch his handler, an older gentleman named Bill B. after he gave a small presentation on the kestrel to room full of people, and asked him to hang on for a few shots. When I got home, I noticed his name tag displayed that he had volunteered over 900 hours of his time to the center since 2008. Bravo, Bill B. you were a pretty chill guy, and thanks.
Don't let the smoothness of the water fool you, these were some reasonably serious bits of whitewater. I do just love how serene it feels after the ND filter though.
Ended up having to camp out in a slow vehicle turnout for ten or fifteen minutes to wait for a 30 second gap in traffic to avoid streaking on the bridge. It did give me the chance to take a really good look at the shot beforehand though, so I think I got the details exactly as I wanted them.
In case you're wondering, that's my F5 around my neck.
I don't know what they are, but they sure were pretty. If you can identify them, feel free to leave a comment =)
I was unaware that tree roots had bark. The more you know. This also looks absolutely beautiful on my roll of Ilford Pan F Plus 50 ISO Black and White film.
One of a few good bridge spots on Rt. 55 over the Payette River. This bridge is here: 43.975464, -116.191841, but a rope footbridge with a really neat view (if you're brave/stupid enough to hop the fence and then venture out on the rickety thing) is here: 44.211792, -116.106211. And I just spent a stupid amount of time tracing the Payette river on Google maps to get those coordinates, so you better use 'em.
Unidentifiable mountains on the way to Stanley, ID. I really like how the motion blur preferentially ate the foreground.
Approx. 3s exposure, hand held.
Okay, I'm not going to lie, these shots were sort of inspired by that silly "it's in my hands again" campaign for the trainwreck of a camera that was the Nikon DF. Ugh. Anyway, it was a wonderful, if drizzly night for camping near Redfish Lake. On a little jaunt to the lake, I found some small Labradorite like inclusions in the local rock, miniscule really, but enough to send back a few blue reflections from my flashlight. Also, a camouflaged fish. Also, too poor conditions to get any significantly good pictures. On the bright side, at the Sunny Gulch campground near Salmon River I found a small sample of opal, which was freaking awesome, because I had really wanted to go opal hunting that trip, but couldn't.
My best guess at to the location is along Redfish Lake trail #186. ND filter, 30s exposure, knee deep water.
I think this is my favorite photo of the trip. Some of the Bruneau dunes are also up there, but the sheer texture of the rock, and the absolute cooperation the lighting gave me really put this on the top of my stack. The water fogged just right, the rocks sat nice and still, the highlights didn't saturate, and all was right in the world. I took this picture at the start of the hike, and then again a few hours later, after thinking it over a bit, and the second set pictures were almost exactly the same as the first set.
The lensing going on due to the averaging of the water flowing around the rocks is just awesome. And quite science too.
Always always always bracket your important/favorite shots. This was my -2 stops bracket, and it turned out to be just right.
I mean, slightly less rocks, but it's the same river section. That surface texture is killer.
On the drive back to Salt Lake, we took a bit of a detour through some neat sites to see, and City of Rocks was one of them.
We were doing 85 when I saw this hanging out on the side of the road. Since there were damn near zero other people on the road, we just stopped, pulled a U-turn, and drove back a ways, before pulling off onto the shoulder. The place had no walls left at all, and it was an awesome find. It's to my best guess here, in case you were wondering: 42.009859, -113.206767. If you happen to go there, and it is not there, keep driving south on 30S/81. It's definitely before you hit Utah. But I'm pretty sure that's it.
Boy do they make good burgers.