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Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

A Great White Heron basking in the warm early morning light along the American River.

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Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

A peaceful scene at the Merced NWR, just before the noisy liftoff shown in my previous post.

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Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

I spent an afternoon at the Merced NWR trying to photograph Ross Geese, who spend their winter here in large numbers (something like 50-60k). Most of the time, I was waiting by a seasonal pond waiting for them lift-off while listening to their noisy cryptic chatter. There were few anxious moments when it looked like they may take off in large numbers, but nothing really happened.

As dusk approached, they started to fly away in small groups to a nearby field far away from the road and it looked like they were going to spend the night there. But something spooked them right after the sun went down, they screamed past me in a large circle and most of then flew back to the filed from which they took off. I had given up all hope, and was concentrating on some sunset reflections shots, when my wife alerted me to a low rumble from the distant filed, and I turned around in time to see the large cloud of birds lift-off once again and came flying back to the pond there were in before. Its hard to describe the scene with words, so take a look at the video below. I shot this before and after I made this photo.

http://youtu.be/7fb8N9fgyvs

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First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

I had arrived at Tenaya Lake for a morning shoot well before sunrise. Clouds did not cooperate for a glorious, out of this world sky with vivid colors, so I had turned my attention to some of the intricate details in the landscape along the shores. But when the first light started to kiss the granites and the tree tops, I had to turn my attention away from the details and point my long lens to the distant granite.

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Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

This frame was made on the same morning as my previous post along the Tenaya lake shores. The sun was up for quite some time sneaked up above the ridge (top and left of this frame) and was side lighting the trees. Brief pauses in the wind provided momentary clear reflections on the lake surface clearing out all surface ripples. Once the winds picked up, the ripples would appear once again and blur out the reflections. As you can see, this frame was made while there was still some surface ripples left. I think, that way, the picture is more dynamic with some neat texture in the water surface.

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Tree, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Tree Stump, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Tree Stump, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

I was camping in Yosemite this summer and decided to head up to Tenaya Lake for the early sunrise. Once I reached there, I realized there wasn’t going to be any spectacular sunrise, since there were no clouds. So I decided to explore the shores of the lake to see if I could find any interesting details in the landscape. I stumbled upon (as many should have) a group of trees and boulders with circular bands, probably created by the receding water levels.

I test fired some shots with the sun still behind the peaks, but realized that I needed direct light to have a decent picture. I scouted out multiple subjects and compositions. Once the warm sunlight reached the scene, I was ready and made many exposures, one of them is here in this post and the rest, I will be sharing soon.

The strong contrast between the lighter bands on the tree, rocks and the surrounding shadows was something that I wanted to capture in this photo.

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Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park, CA

Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park. CA

Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park. CA

I was out in search of some colorful dogwood trees along the Merced, which I remembered from my spring visit. Having photographed the colorful leaves, I was attracted to this quaint little scene along the river banks. A bright overcast day allowed for some good fall foliage shooting conditions.  Light breeze, sometimes disturbed the water surface removing the clear reflections, but there was lots of time for me to capture this scene once the water surface settled down.

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Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

During this time of the year, the Yosemite high country along the Tioga Pass road, is dotted with small ponds. They are mostly still all time of the day and are perfect mirrors. You could be driving at a fast pace, but still be able to appreciate the subtle reflections from these ponds. In fact, that is how I first saw this scene.

After the hike up to the Gaylor Lakes, there was still time until sunset, and I decided to get some hot food into my system, before I headed out to the Mono Lake area. I was driving to the Tuolumne meadow grill and on the way, on my left hand side I noticed this pond reflecting the surrounding foliage. There was no visible landmark near this pond, except that it was right next to a pullover on the road. At that time, this scene was in complete shadow and I made a mental note to return back to this scene. In hindsight, may be I should have stopped and photographed under these conditions as well.

Next morning, after spending some time in the Dana meadow area at sunrise, I drove up to this scene. The warm rays of the sun had just lit the entire scene, the reflections were still there, but a little subdued due to the direct light and there were mosquitoes (or some sort of flies) hovering over the pond as you can see in this image.

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Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

I spent 2 beautiful days in Yosemite this past weekend and got to photograph water in the park.Water is by far the most prominent feature in the park this time of the year. Or I should say, especially this year, since the amount of water run-off from the snow melt is one of the largest in recent times

This one was shot along the Bridalveil Creek, just downstream from the thundering waterfall. Just prior to this, I had walked up to the viewing area without my camera, just to get soaked in the spray of water from the falls. I must say, on this summer day, it was extremely refreshing.

I spent a good amount of time here, getting the shutter speed right to have some texture in the water. With such fast flowing water, any slow shutter speed is not good enough to get the right details. It requires some experimentation in the field to get it right. In this very well written article by Michael Frye, he talks about an interesting aspect of photographing moving water, photographing many number of frames (possibly with different or even same settings), from the same spot and using the same composition, could lead to strikingly different results, just because of the very random nature of moving water.

Talking about this photograph, When I was looking for some interesting patterns along the stream, I found a particular section, where there was a sudden dip and then an immediate obstacle for the moving water. That should explain the curving shape in this frame. Sunlight was filtering down from the trees above and had partially lit the scene, with some very bright spots and some very intriguing shadows. Waiting for the right combination of the two should explain the rest of the photograph.

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Beach Patterns, Kona, Hi

Beach Patterns, Kona, Hi

Beach Patterns, Kona, Hi

I made a series of photographs on a beach near the city of Kona in Hawaii, mainly concentrating on the abstract designs that I could find.

What attracted me first to this scene was the bright green sea plants (that’s the best I can describe them as, do let me know if you have a better name). The way their shapes changed with every wave, creating new and exciting patterns against the bright white sands was incredible.

Initially, I tried not getting wet, but that meant that, I would miss a lot of different perspectives, so in I went. Fortunately, the water there in Hawaii is not that cold and it was mildly pleasant to just hang out with my camera glued to my eyes, pointing it down at the sand.

This particular shot was taken right at the boundary of a transition, a phase on the beach where, the wave that just crashed in is receding. Majority of the water flow had already passed, leaving behind a fresh new design made using the sea plants. But right around the edges of this little island, there was a trickle of water that just hung around for a bit more, reflecting the sunlight in various shapes. A little while later all the water would have flown back getting rid of the sparkle that was once there.

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