Sun star

Call ’em what you will – sun star, sunburst, starburst, sunray, or just plain fun.

I love doing sunstars. A sunburst adds a dimension to any photograph and point of interest.

Sun bursts through the trees to reflect through the Aspen Trees

I am often complemented at my use of adding sunrays with a a star filter, program, or app. The truth is, sun bursts are very easy to do in camera. No apps required.

All one needs is a wide angle focal point and small aperture. I love my Canon 16mm, set at f/11 for these great results. Sometimes you have to take a number of photos to get the sun poking through the trees just right.

You may have to split a tree to showcase the sunburst, rather than just looking directly at it with full intensity.

But, it’s an easy thing to do, at sunrise, sunset, or even mid day.

As with any photograph – look ahead, look behind, look all around, and look up. Sometimes the best things are just ahead of us.

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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Mind the Shade

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There are so many things to remember when trying to make a good photograph.  I recently talked about Keep It Clean, and reducing clutter in a photo.  Another important consideration is Shade and Light.

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In the photo above, it’s easy to see the large disparity between exposures – intense shade and shadows in the water, and blown highlights in the sky and trees.  To make the photo successful, I could have done an HDR to take multiple photos with the proper exposure for each separate condition (Shadow & Highlights), and them merged them later.

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Or, using the light that I had, I could cut out the blown highlights in camera, and turned my attention to where the light was more even and exposed for the shadows just by looking down.  Cutting out the highlights yielded a more interesting and focused composition.

Remember… mind the Shade & Light, when composing that pic.

 

First Snow

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We had already scheduled a trip to check out how fall colors were coming along when we got 6″ of fresh heavy snow.  The cold snap helped the colors along, bringing out brilliant reds in the maples, and golden yellows among the oaks.

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The ground was covered with a blanket of fallen color on the fresh white snow.  It was a thing of beauty to walk among nature and all her glory.

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We even found these fresh bear tracks leading through the forest, who surely must have been enjoying the cool weather and the awesome environment we were witnessing.

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For more Fall Color photos check out my blog here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/20/snowfall/

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Grand Canyon North Rim, Point Sublime

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While at the Grand Canyon North Rim, we decided to take in Point Sublime, another overlook we had never been to.  The map shows it’s only 17 miles… so we figured it would take maybe an hour to get there.  NOT!!

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We stopped at the Backcountry Office to get our Permit to camp there.  The Ranger told us that we should take the long way for our truck, instead of the shortcut for short wheel base Jeeps.  We had no idea the trek would take almost 4 hours.

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The dirt road is not well marked, and the rough map is difficult to follow.  The drive along the way is lined with aspens and a gorgeous drive.

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The turn at Kanabownits was basically the last sign we saw.  We turned around once, but decided to stick it out.  The road along the way was worth the drive… we were anxious to see the overlook.

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At the end of the long drive we were rewarded with a stunning vantage point.  We set up our camp as we took in the views we had all to ourselves.

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Photos just don’t do it justice.  It was worth the price of admission (free!).

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Grand Canyon Aspen Fall

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The first signs of fall are in… starting at highest elevation and dropping to lower elevations, it’s beginning to look like Fall Colors.

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We were at Grand Canyon North Rim this past week, and the Aspens are in full Yellows.  Love the golden hue against the deep greens of their neighboring Firs and Ponderosas.

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The colors were made more beautiful by the ferns that adorned the ground in varying shades of green and brown.

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Nature is at her most beautiful and happiest as she smiles upon us all with full color.  Gotta love it.

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Lockett Meadow Aspen Yellow

Lockett Mdw_IR.jpgThere’s a chill in the air, you know what that means.  Snow is on the way, and fall is in the air.  It’s been a busy time around here, but we are trying to get out to check out the fall colors.  I posted our first glimpse here…  https://kritterspaw.com/2017/09/29/first-fall/

In an effort to diversify our fall outings, we planned a picnic to Lockett Meadow to check out the aspen color.  Lockett Meadow, just outside of Flagstaff, is known for it’s fields of yellow aspen… and it didn’t disappoint.

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The woods were ‘aflame’ with yellow, bursting with brilliant yellows against aspens’s signature white truck.  It made a delightful setting for our enjoyable and relaxing day out.  Even Journey enjoyed it.

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With the winds we are experiencing, I don’t expect the leaves to last long.  The roads are alive with leaves scattering and blowing across our path as we walk among nature’s beauty.   Catch it while you can, and enjoy it while it lasts.

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First Fall

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Living in the woods, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite season, as we have all 4 of them.  They all have their own beauty.  Having said that, I do love Fall.  As a photographer, Fall provides such photographic possibilities.  While it is a grand subject, made busy by the very trees and leaves that make it beautiful.  The trick is to separate out the color from the busyness, while maintaining the intent.

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Our Fall has only just begun, but it is coming fast.  The temps are dropping, as are the leaves.  So these are the first Fall photos of the year, but there promise to be more…. and I can’t wait for the challenge and the beauty that comes with it.

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Fossil Creek

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While our fall with all it’s colorful glory, has come and gone… at lower elevations such as Camp Verde & Cottonwood, fall is in full color.

Just off SR260 along FR708, a LONG washboardy dirt road, is Fossil Creek.  The distinctive yellowy orange cottonwood leaves are falling everywhere.

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cwPSi.JPGI never tire of the abundant aqua waters cascading over endless rocks and fall trees, making for a sublime serenity.

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We sat and had lunch and watched the water go by.  What better way to relax and spend the day.

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Snow Trees

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The Forest Service seems to close the roads the minute we get snow… and keep them closed until Spring.  So we jumped into action immediately after our first snow storm, and went directly to the Mogollon Rim to see if we could capture the Rim in snow.  Unfortunately, the fog rolled in, and the view over the rim was a complete whiteout.  Check out my First Snow pix on kritterspaw.com.

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What do they say… one closed door leads to another open door.  In my case fog lead to some very cool Snow Trees with the last remnants of fall color on pristine snow in an eery fog.  It reminded my of an enchanted forest.

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