Monday, June 17, 2013

Blue Trees

I am very fortunate to have access to a beautiful cabin at Bear Lake, Utah owned by my in-laws. June is a spectacular time to visit, the wildflowers are blooming, the weather is mild, and the stars are big and bright.

I set out to make several different pictures this past weekend. The first plan was to get out for some night photography since the moon would be out of the sky by midnight and I am fully addicted to shooting the stars. Unfortunately cloud cover prevented any star photography that night and would continue to do so for a few more nights to come. Next!

The second option was to capture a sunrise with some wildflowers in the foreground and Bear Lake in the background. The more I searched the more it seemed like every vantage point that overlooked the lake had every flower past their peak. OK a little frustrating but I am still loving every minute of being in this spectacular scenery.

Alright the clouds broke up enough that I could see the potential for a cool sunset from the other side of the lake. After scouting a few locations I settled on a nice little rocky beach. Now to just wait for the sun to set and I would be good. The only problem was the weather just wasn't on my side, the wind started to pick and proceeded to blow in clouds that would soon block out any display of light. So I jumped in the truck drove as far north as I could, ran to the beach, and turned in circles trying to find a composition in the few minutes I had left. I managed to get some shots but just barely.

On the last night I finally had clear skies and a clear plan too. I arrived at a big clearing in Logan Canyon just to the east of Bear Lake, that I knew would be dark. As I stepped out of the truck I was a little concerned about the lack of brilliance in the sky. I thought it must just be that I haven't had time to adjust to the light. Down the through the field I still don't see the stars I am hoping for and the light pollution from Logan 40 miles away is getting worse. Tail between my legs I tromp back to the truck (making sure to still check behind me for spooky stuff though). I pulled up to the cabin at 1:30 and to my shock the Milky Way was as bright as I have seen it all year. I tried a few different lights for the trees, but the the blue from my headlamp gave the image an otherworldly feel that I loved.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Silver Night Fright

Silver Lake near Brighton Ski Resort is a small mountain lake teaming with fish and surrounded by beautiful tall pine trees. On this crisp clear night the stars were stunning and could be easily seen across the entire sky. The Milky Way was faint, but still visible despite the light pollution coming from Salt Lake City to the East. Pollution's kind of a harsh word to describe it, especially when the bright red light looks so amazing. The lake itself was like glass, in fact the only ripple in the water was from an occasional fish jumping for an insect. It was perfect.

Except for one thing, my overactive imagination. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I am out in the dark or how well I know a place. My mind starts to wonder what lies in the deep dark reaches that I can't quite see. It's this childlike fear of the dark that keeps me flashing my headlamp behind me when I'm waiting for that  twenty second exposure or I get chills down my neck that make me speed up my pace when hiking down the trail. Then the scariest part of all is the silence. The kind of quite that you know the things that go thump in the night are standing right behind you. Gulp!

Of course it's also what makes it so profound to be outside. When most people are in sleeping, I'm out in nature lucky enough to witness a scene as magical as this one. To top it off I get to capture an image that gives me a such a deep sense of satisfaction that all is right in the world. It makes it so I can't wait to go out and get scared all over again. Ya it was a perfect night.

Plus, even if it's all in your head, there's the fun of jumping in the car and locking the doors as fast as you can just to get the heart pumping. Spooky.