We have had more trips cancelled this year than we have gone on. Such is the year 2020.
We had put off our trip to Alstrom Point, overlooking Lake Powell, due to weather. Not bad weather, but too much blue sky! With little rain or clouds on the horizon, a beautiful typical AZ blue sky can be less than photogenic.
So when forecasts for clouds came out, we packed up and headed out. Unfortunately, there were none. While we were there, the weather forecast called for clouds the next day (when previously it had called for Clear and Sunny). So we stayed another day. All we got was more blue sky. So we headed for home.
On the way home though, we were gifted with a great little surprise: big horn sheep.
I anticipated where they were headed and stalked into them. Fantastic.
I often take Panorama’s, but seldom actually stitch them together.
So let me step back a minute. Panorama’s are a wide span photo, either vertical or horizontal. These days you can do them with your camera or point & shoot, where in some ways they are easier. Just press the button to go… and again to stop. Wa-la.
To do them with DSLR is a little more complicated. In Photoshop, you do a Photomerge, which is hidden under the obscure tree File – Automate – Photomerge. Select the photos you want to merge and it will whir and wiz until it comes up with a compilation of your photos stitched together. You’ll have to do some cropping or Content Aware patching to fill in any holes… but wa-la… the Pano.
A good tip when you do the Pano in camera is to stick up one finger to designate that you are beginning a pano… then take your series, trying to remain level to the horizon and constant focus & exposure as you sweep your photos across, then stick up 2 fingers to designate that you are done.
This way when you are going through you digital negatives you know you have done a pano and can stitch it together using Photomerge in Photoshop.
Admittedly, I will take them, but rarely get around to or bother to stitch them together. Maybe it’s because they just don’t inspire me as great photos, they are difficult to print, and hard to email. Some subject matters do lend themselves to the pano format however. So don’t necessarily blow them off. Give them a try to enhance the story telling of your trip.
My friend, Maureen, recently asked me which is better – gray skies or blue.
Hmmm. As in all things… it depends.
I love the dark clouds of an oncoming storm. It adds such great interest to a photo. Gray clouds are an entire different matter. They can create a washed out dull photo. In those situations it may be best to just cut the sky out of the photo altogether and enjoy the absence of a gray washed out sky.
Blue sky on the other hand can be very harsh and lend no interst to the sky… no drama or interest.
It’s as they always say … dawn & dusk are the best.
Those times yield the best low lighting on your subject casting a nice soft glow.
Weather can yield the best photos. Dark, bloomy clouds add depth. But if it’s just gray and overcast it can create a bad photo day. Watch for the weather. Embrace it, and take advantage of the weather… it often adds more than less.
Have you been to… or heard of Alstrom Point? It’s on the back side of Lake Powell, north of Page. We have seen photos of this amazing place and wanted to check it out for ourselves. If you go to Page, continue west to Big Water. Stop at Big Water Visitor Center for a fascinating education in this dinosaur rich area, with over 4000 dinosaur’s being discovered just in the last 10 years, many newly discovered species. They’ll give you a detailed map on how to get to Alstrom Point. But essentially it’s behind Big Water along a long 2 hour dirt road.
The overlook was nothing short of stunning.
We camped out so we could get sunset, sunrise, and star photos. We enjoyed it so much, we stayed 2 nights. It was one of those magical moments that you remember for a life time. Watching the full moon rise over the lake was fantastic. This orange ball rose just behind Gunsight Butte, lighting up the sky like it burst into flames.
Because we were there 2 nights we got to do sunrise and sunset, as well as night stars.
Pictures don’t do it justice. It was a fabulous couple days.