Snow Critters

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This last storm met the predictions of the weathermen who projected 2′ of snow.

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With it, brought animals looking for food.

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It was great fun to see this little baby deer enjoying it’s first snow.  It reminded me of Journey when we get snow, as she runs around and loves to ‘snorkel’ in it.

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There is something so pristine and beautiful about the new fallen snow… apparently the animals think so too.

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I suppose the cold white stuff is a novelty for them, something they don’t see often… so it’s new, fun, and refreshing as they walk through the cool stuff.  Like a new toy, it’s invigorating and exciting.  Whatever it is… it’s a pleasure to see happiness at any time or place.  Bring it on.

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Fossil Creek ND

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As I continue to strive to get better pix I find that if I stop to think about the photos before just clicking away at the shutter, my photos come out better.

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Case in point when I went out to get smoke pix, just because the smoke makes for more moody pix (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/19/mood-lighting/ ).

So continuing my current pursuit of Fall Colors, we planned a trip to Fossil Creek.  When I think of water pix, I think smooth silky water cascading over rocks, which means to me, a long exposure.

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So considering the outcome I wanted, I had to think about how to achieve my desired result.  Do I go first thing in the morning, dawn… or dusk?  With little light to be had, that could work… OR I could go in full daylight and sun and use a tool I carry in my bag – a Neutral Density (ND) Filter.

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I actually use a variable ND filter so I can control how much light I cut anywhere between 3 stops to 10 stops.  The ND filter allows me to stop down my exposure so I can take a 2 second exposure to get that super silky water.  Tripod required!

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Hmmm… it works!  Thinking through our actions does make a difference.  Who’da thunk it?  Ha!

 

West Fork Trail, Sedona

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We went to Oak Creek to see Fall Colors, but we decided that during our visit and goal to see Fall Colors we should include West Fork Trail.

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We have never done West Fork Trail.  The crowds and lines to get in have always been just terrible.  It seems to be like so many over-touristed places that become overcrowded taking away from the entire experience.

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So we got a hotel, went out to a nice dinner, and got up early to hit the trail before anyone got there.

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I can tell you now from experience … that is absolutely the way to go.  We were the very first one’s there.  We arrived at 7am, and took one of maybe 5 parking spaces outside the gates that don’t open until 8am.

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We had the trail to ourselves.  We had 2 people pass us going up, (after they caught up to us).  It was great to not have to bob through people – which is what we did on the way back down.

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We felt like salmon swimming upstream as we had to side step the hoards of people once the gate opened… and we were headed back down the trail.

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We thought it would be difficult to get out of our parking spot way up front… but cars were more than happy to make way for us to get out as we pulled out into traffic, and passed an impressive line of cars waiting for a parking space to get in.

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Proper planning yielded a great day and a beautiful hike.

Oak Creek Fall

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It’s Fall, so we are on our mission to collect Fall Colors pix.  When we think of Fall Colors in AZ one of the first places we think of is Oak Creek in Sedona.

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Anytime you can mix fall colors with water it always makes for magical scenery.  The reflections, glow, and leaves littering the ground are all tell tale signs of winter coming.

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Of course, all I have to do is look at my thermometer to know that winter is coming, as it was 3F this am.waterwash_IR.jpg

Check out more pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2019/10/31/sunshine-gorgeous-scenery/

Change the Vision

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I love Fall.  The colors are stunning.  Though I do find it difficult to capture.

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This season, I decided to challenge myself and shoot ‘out of the box’.   It appears experts are always looking for something new and different.  It doesn’t even matter what the field.  Something edgy that hasn’t been done before often ‘wins’ over tried-and-true.

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I’m happy to learn techniques, composition, and style that I can apply and repeat.  But I suppose that one could argue that such a philosophy can yield predictability and common-place results.

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I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  That’s for the eye of the beholder… and the end user to decide.

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Blue Ridge Shine

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve noticed I’ve been on a somewhat futile quest to build a collection of photos of obscure lakes around Arizona.  It was Blue Ridge Reservoir that started the whole mission.

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We did an overnight trip to Blue Ridge and got some cool shots which got me to thinking about those awesome sunset / sunrise reflections in the water.

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So we visited a lot of dry water holes… and encountered a bit of smoke from prescribed burns along the way.  So why not combine the smoke and the lake photos by a re-visit to Blue Ridge Reservoir.

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I love it when a plan comes together!

Thanks to my friend Sue for sharing in this amazing experience.  It was a lot of fun!

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Mood lighting

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As I continue to improve my photography, I think about what that means.  It’s all about the light – dawn & dusk, we are so often told.

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It’s complicated though.  Light is bright and shadows are dark, how does one even them out and still add emotion, mood, and interest?

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Light is the master of depth.  We need light to make our ‘hero’ shine, or our supporting cast fade into the background.  In this way we can isolate our subject so we know what (or who) it is.

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Fog and smoke provide a fantastic mood factor, allowing us to separate the foreground from the background.  While our controlled burns up north can be dreary to look at… they can also make for some very moody exciting pix.

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Light rays illuminate and become visible through the smoke or fog in the air, distinguishing different elements of the life in the forest.

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The fog creates a diffusion through the harsh light, from which comes clarity.