I wanted to get together one post to have all the diverse landscapes of Death Valley. These are the many faces of Death Valley.Read More
My foray in to the west coast of US has been very little. I've heard plenty of stories about the lifestyle of the west coast, which is supposed to be much more easy and carefree compared to the life in the east coast. With the pacific coast, the warm weather and the sunny disposition, its easy to imagine why one would think that. Places like Napa Valley I guess seals that deal. Maybe because it was a vacation but everything that has been romanticized about Napa Valley seemed true to me. The winemaking culture in itself is a very romantic lifestyle (hard work as it is) and everything that surrounds it supports that perception - from the food, to the places that supply that food, to the little neighborhood stores that carry the food, its a very idealistic life. To top it off, if you add a ride on a hot air balloon, well - then that just takes the cake.
It was a good thing California time is 3 hours behind NY - that was the only way I could wake up for the ride. But once you get on the ride, you know why it has to be in the morning. The sunrise over the Napa Valley vineyards was breathtaking. Our balloon company, Napa Valley Balloons was top-notch. They had the morning planned out perfectly. First it was a meet-n-greet session with coffee and juices, then the flight, and then a post-flight breakfast with champagne at the Domain Chandon's etoile restaurant. The lifestyle of Napa Valley was on full display from above, and I captured it as well as I could.
Death Valley is a prime venue for snakes. I loath snakes. I purposely chose to go the dunes in the evening, so that I wouldn't have to encounter them.Read More
Death Valley is something else. From the time you enter to the moment you leave, the scenery is nothing like you'll find anywhere else. As such, a million photographers go to Death Valley every year, and one of the most popular locations is Zabriskie Point. Zabriskie Point was also the location of a 1970 movie with the same name, and made infamous for being one of the worst movies of all time. However, the location got a lot of exposure, and became very popular thereafter. It's a favorite because its a very easy location to get to. Its very close to the Furnace Creek Resort, and the location is right off the main street. A few short steps, and you are here.
As with so many of the locations I visited during this road trip, this was daunting as ever to photograph. Part of photographing is trying to be better, and the other part is to be original and create something nobody else has created. Its the dilemma that I faced in this trip many times. At some point I had to abandon this thought process, because it wasn't any fun. I got to Zabriskie Point on the third morning after being in Death Valley, and I was tired and hot. I had left it for last since it was the easiest to get to, and realized that was the right decision. There is a ton of wind on the top of the viewpoint here at Zabriskie Point, and in the early morning, it actually felt cooler (relatively speaking, of course). So in the cooler wind, while everybody else was photographing the Panamint Mountain Ranges, I decided to turn to the Elephant Feet. There were much less people photographing this frame, and so I got to go down from the viewpoint a little bit and get this shot.
An old concept of photography that I tried to recreate in the Southwest US.Read More
This was taken at around 5am At the Mono Lake in Mono County, in the Eastern Sierra region of California. This lake is instantly recognizable by its 'Tufa Towers'; Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate--limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941.
This lake is an extremely popular tourist attraction, and is highly photographed by photographers. Usually the pictures you will see of the Mono Lake is rich colors and a lot of dynamic contrasts, most times, an HDR. Not wanting to make a cliche photograph decided to give this a b&w treatment. This place is really surreal, and the colors of the lake and the tufa towers gives a feeling that you are not on earth anymore. Giving it a b&w I think seals the deal, and really makes it look like something else outside of our realm.