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Category Archives: US National Parks

Parks I’ve visited and photographed

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On the way down to Pismo Beach for our Anniversary week-end we took a side trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument where I had heard there was Spring Super Bloom happening. To give you a little sense of where the Carrizo Plain is located in California I’ve copied Wikipedia’s description for you. “The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed grassland plain, approximately 50 miles long, and up to 15 miles across, in southeastern San Luis Obispo County California, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.” ~wikipedia.org

You could see from miles away great swatches of yellow and orange on the hill sides, and I was so excited to see fields of flowers.

Super Bloom Carrizo Plain Nat Monument

There were Coreopsis, Two-toned Tidy Tips, Goldfields which were mostly spent, Phacelia, and Baby Blue Eyes just to name some that I saw in abundance.

The field above was mostly Leafystem Coreopsis growing I think.  Here’s two more closer looks.

Coreopsis Wildflowers-Super Bloom 2017

Coreopsis- Super Bloom 2017

We hung around the Soda Lake area for a few hours, but I could have easily spent the whole day, but we also wanted to get to our final destination and be by the beach for sunset.

I hope you all have a wonderful week-end filled with smiles and laughter!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm, Nikkor 20mm f/1.8g| Canon 500D close up Lens| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

 

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©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Super Bloom Carrizo Plain

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC2017

More to come…

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It was quite a weekend for me with two back to back trips to Yosemite National Park.   We begin on Saturday Feb. 11th; my friend Dali, and I headed out early for the park traveling route SR120 which was open when we left the Bay Area but, when we got near the gate to the park there was an electronic sign saying there was no access to the valley from that entrance due to a rock slide.  The Ranger told us there was an alternate route into the valley but it was a 2.5 hours journey from there to the valley. Unfortunately, that would have put us in the valley after 5pm and we needed to be in place, camera set up, and ready to start photographing  by 5pm or hours sooner knowing what the crowds can be like at this time of year.  So, disappointed we turned around and headed back home.  That was 8 hours on the road and nothing to show for it.  It’s not the first time!

Not totally defeated, and ever the optimists we knew we still had Sunday! We met earlier Sunday morning the 12th, and drove the slightly longer southern route to access the valley. The southern route is lower in altitude and usually open all year, but even this year with all the rain there were rock slides, and it was closed for a day the week before, and on “call ahead” status for days after before we left!   Fortunately, Sunday morning the road condition site said Open so, we forged ahead ever hopeful.  With a stop for lunch, and gas we made it into the valley without any delays, and hiked to our spot in plenty of time to set up and photograph what we had planned.

What would entice us and hundreds of other people to spend 16+ hours driving back and forth to Yosemite National Park in two day you may be wondering? If my post’s title didn’t give it away… Horsetail Fall!  🙂

In mid February for about two weeks (give or take a day or two) if the conditions are just right the sun will shine on the waterfall and light it up orange-red. It’s amazing it looks like lava flowing down the cliff face.

What are the perfect conditions to see this? There has to be water flowing. This waterfall is fed by rainfall, and snow melt, and there has to be sun to light up the waterfall.

In February having sun isn’t a given. I’ve been skunked in years past waiting and hoping the sun would peek out from the gray clouds to light up the fall only to be totally skunked. No light what-so-ever hitting the cliff face or waterfall.  It was still fun waiting and anticipating the event with hundreds of other photographers, and vowing to be back next year to try again. I did show up the following year, after year, after year.

Having water hasn’t been a given these last 6 years either. Being in California with the drought there were years it was just a trickle. This year with all the drought busting rain, and snow up in the mountains we knew there would be more than a trickle of water flowing but, we had to have sun too.  Thankfully, we had perfect conditions Sunday. Water flowing and Sun!

Here is an image from the peak of the phenomenon.  This is very nearly straight from my camera. I ran  this frame through Adobe Camera Raw for Lens and Camera Corrections, and I did correct the sky.  To capture the true color of the fall my camera washed out the sky. I added the blue back in the sky, and removed my dust spots, and I opened up the shadows a little bit.   Overall very few post development adjustments were added to this image.   This image was shot at 120mm.

Horsetail Fall February 12, 2017

I thought I’d try making a Timelapse from the stills I made.  It’s crude, and a bit jumpy as I zoomed in and out a few times to get a closer look, and I change the angle of my camera once during the shoot in the beginning.

Timelapse made with 145 still images.

If I’m going to do more Timelapse videos I’ll have be more disciplined about my set up and shooting.  I hope you enjoy it despite my shortcomings as a videographer.

This is the 7th year I’ve been photographing this phenomenon. So, was it worth the 16 hours on the road? OH YES! I’d do again. “)

Nikon Df| Nikkor 80-200mm| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

 

 

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It’s Theme week (Curve(s) )on Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2.

It rained a lot during the week which kept me indoors, and my imagination and “sight” were MIA this past week when looking for curves everywhere I did go, and around the house. So, I went back to Death Valley National Park via my archives to find curves.

Monochrome Madness 2 43 of 52 Curves

I love the curves, and contours of the Sand Dunes so, I selected an image I made in 2011 for my entry to Monochrome Madness 2 this week.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@35mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2016 & On1 Photo 10

Visit Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2 to see this week’s entries here. Note- Leanne resides in Australia so post will be available on Wednesday’s in the U.S.

More to come…

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We return to Monochrome Madness 2 this week with Theme Week.  The Theme is Country.  I was torn between; Country a nation, or Country rural. In the end I went Literal (no surprise there right) 🙂

My image is from Fort Point National Park in San Francisco, CA. which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

MM2 27 of 52 Country

The view is looking North across the “Gate”. You see both the South and North Towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and in the foreground some of the 3 tier casements of Fort Point, and on the top tier some of the old Cannon Foundations, and watch tower.

For the History Buffs

In 1851 the War Department got busy planning to build a Fort(s) on the Pacific Coast. Priority was to build a Fort at San Francisco’s Gateway because the Military considered it a High Priority and Key to the Pacific Coast.

Construction began on Fort Point in 1853, but completion of the Fort was delayed due to the cost, and complexity of the building’s multi-storied tiers of arched casements. The fort needed to be strong enough to withstand the strong storms of the Pacific.  The building is made of walls 7 feet thick, and has the multi-tiered casement construction typical of Third System forts.  There were 30+ forts of this type on the East Coast, but this was the only one built of this type on the West Coast.

Third System forts were planned after the war of 1812; they combined high walls, heavy masonry, and classified as Third System, as a grade of structural integrity.

When Fort Point was completed to its top tier (barbette) it could accommodate 90 cannons which weren’t yet installed.

In 1861 war was looming on the East Coast so the Army mounted  55 guns at the fort, and the first garrison and defenses were ordered.

Fort Point never had to fire its guns during the Civil War, and the Confederate Army never launched an attack on the Bay.

For further reading about the Fort’s Post-Civil War History to Present day click here.

I believe the flag is flying at Half Staff to honor the victims in Roseburg, OR.

To see all the images that were shared for the Theme Country  click Leanne Cole Monochrome Madness 2.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6 & Silver Efex Pro

More to come…

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Several weeks back several photographer friends and I spent the week-end in Lassen National Park hoping to making images of the Night Sky. Unfortunately, as the shadows of the day grew longer the clouds got thicker. They made the sunset lovely, but foiled are hopes of night imaging.

We photographed the Sunset at Lake Helen image here  then we walked back to the car and on the way we saw Lightning! That’s a BIG DEAL for me and my friends because, we rarely see lightning where we live in the San Francisco Bay Area. It wasn’t bolt to the ground, or is it ground to sky lightning bolts? It was the type Eric our mid-westerner in the group called “cloud to cloud” lightning.

It was behind the mountains and lighting up the clouds so, instead of packing up we set up to photograph the lightning.

After 10 minutes or so shooting it we decided to get higher to see if we could see Bolts and try to capture that.

It was quite dark by now, and we still hadn’t seen any Bolts, just the sky lighting up. This image is one image I made of the sky being lit up by a strike of Lightning.

Chasing Lightning in Lassen National Park

While we were shooting the rain started, so we packed up and moved to the other side of the lake hoping to get in a few more images since it was only sprinkling.

Lightning Summit Lake Lassen National Park

I had just got set up to start shooting when the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down. I managed to get this one image of the sky lighting up from lightning then we packed up and raced to the car all of us and our gear wet, but thrilled to have seen lightning.

Heads-up!

Next week my MM2 image will be posted on Leanne’s page, but not on my own until the following week. I’ll be offline next week.

I’ll be back online Sept. 6th, and catching up with all I missed while offline.

If you have time please click over to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness2 post here to see all the images that were shared this week.

More to come…

Copyright © 2015 Deborah M. Zajac, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It was a gorgeous sunny day in Yosemite. In February! The little bit of snow we had up here last week from the 3 day storm has all melted.

Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

The meadows are brown, and dry since there has been very little rain, and next to no snow this year, but

I gotta tell ya…no matter what time of year it is or the conditions, this view never gets old!

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| Tripod| BW 6 stop ND filter| 2 images focus stacked and blended in Adobe Photoshop CS6

More to come…

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