Tag Archives: Death Valley Dunes

Death Valley #3

Another group of images from Death Valley and The Alabama Hills.  The first image is unique, in that it includes vegetation that normally try to avoid.

The next image, as pointed out by a viewer on Facebook, has a finger in the right side of the sky.  As I was making this image, I was feeling the presence of my friend Cindy who has passed away on this day. Now I see Cindy in this image telling me, all is well. This image is very outside of my comfort zone. I was shooting directly into the sun. But, I had to go with with I was feeling and ended up with a number of images that I like.  This is just one. 


The image below has become another favorite.  Love the bright shape at the top right.  Love the hint of light and details to the left of that…

Another with lots of tones which I am very much drawn to.

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Death Valley #2

Below you will find more images from my recent trip to Death Valley.  Enjoy!  Oh and remember to see the images bigger, click on them

The first image is from The Alabama Hills in Lone Pine CA.  I was drawn to the texture on the background rock in shadow and then the gentle curve of the lighter rock in the foreground.

The next image is a result of the foreground and background being in deep shadow due to the clouds.  The sun was lighting up the middle ground.  This composition screamed to be photographed!

The Image below was made in the Salt Basin in Death Valley.  It is the rain water seeping onto the valley floor.  We could see it growing inch by inch…. very slowly.


Posted in Abstract, B&W, Cole Thompson, Death Valley, Workshop Also tagged , , , |

S’ Wonderful


“S’Wonderful, S’Marveloous, you should care for me” This is the first line from the song entitled S’Wonderful.  I love Diana Krall’s version and am listening to it as I compose this post.  I have no idea why this song popped into my mind other than I tend to associate songs with words all the time.  I hear a word and a song comes to mind and I start singing it. Ask my family, I believe it drives them nuts.  That said, it is how I feel about the dunes. They are wonderful and marvelous and full of infinite possibilities. This composition screamed to be a square.  Well, it didn’t actually scream but a voice in my head did…..

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The Power of the “S” Curve


The “S” curve in nature is a very powerful graphic element.  I was thrilled to find this one in the dunes.

During our recent tour with Cole Thompson, he was kind enough to show us some of his post processing techniques.  Learning how he uses the Dodge and Burn tool was an eye opener for me.  I used these tools and new ideas to lighten and darken key areas in this image.  The key when using these tools is to work on all three tonal ranges, shadow, mid-tone and highlights. There is a drop down dialogue box that shows all three on the tool properties bar at the top.  Before, I would use just one and that approach does not work nearly as well. It is also important to use a brush at just 2 or 3% opacity. Even though you don’t feel like you’re doing much when lightening a dark area when working on the highlights, trust me, there are pixels that are indeed being affected.  The same holds true when darkening a light area. There are shadow and mid-tone pixels there.

Posted in Abstract, B&W, Cole Thompson, Death Valley, Essence Also tagged , , , , |

Drawn to You

I am drawn to the dunes. I love being out there, especially in the morning. I walk about a mile to a spot that I hope will be great for first light and wait. Then the sun crests the horizon and the show begins.  And I can’t help but gasp with amazement each and every time.  It is awesome!  I apologize to anyone who is near me as I let out a verbal and loud, WOW, you’ve got to be kidding me?!  And then I get to work, looking for intimate scenes where the sun is creating shadow and light that makes my heart sing.  I am happy, I am at peace,  I am where I should be, drawn to the dunes.


Dancing in the Dunes
Sun Painted Sand
My Heart Sings

[Tweet “Dancing in the Dunes”]

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Panamint Dunes

During our scouting time, we decided to see how close we could get to the Panamint Dunes. Unfortunately, not very close. It appears to be about a 2 mile walk after a rough 6 mile drive. We did not make the walk this time, but did get out a long lens to capture just a few long distance images. As luck would have it, a few clouds rolled in just for me and a blast of light lit up the dunes.

Eastern Sierra_2014Jan31_0271

In Cole’s presentation, he spoke a lot about vision, a topic near and dear to his heart. He spoke about creating images that he saw in his minds eye and not what the camera captures. I think my image would be a good example. When I made this capture, I knew exactly what I would do in post to create the look I had in mind.

Cole and I agree on this topic. I have no interest in making images that look like what I saw, I am more interested in creating images that convey what I felt or saw in my imagination. I don’t want to be restrained by what others think I should do but rather create what will make my heart sing.

Posted in B&W, Cole Thompson, Death Valley Also tagged , , |