Reflections of Blue Ridge Reservoir

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There is something magical about sunrises and sunsets, and when combined with the soothing comfort of water – it makes for stunning scenery.

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It was a full moon the other day, so we decided to get some pix of Blue Ridge Reservoir at night… and in the morning.  The light cast by the full moon lit up the daisies growing through the patchwork rock that lines the ridges above the lake.

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The forest and it’s trees come right down to the waters edge at Blue Ridge.

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A brisk calm morning greeted us with gorgeous clouds and fantastic reflections in her still waters.  It doesn’t get any more relaxing than waking up to gorgeous scenery and the serenity of a calm sea and her comforting embrace of the beauty that surrounds her.

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Blue Ridge

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Crazy!  Last year I wrote about Blue Ridge Reservoid  (https://kritterspaw.com/2018/08/14/blue-ridge-reservoid/), as it had no water in the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

With all the snow we had this year… it’s now overflowing.

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Fallen logs litter the waterway from all the downed trees, and the water rises above the boat ramp.

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I look forward to the spring flowers, lunch outings, and camping amongst her many tall pines, soaring eagles, and nesting blue heron.  Nature does work in mysterious ways.

Bull Pen

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While I have come to appreciate our brisk winters and beautiful snowfalls, sometimes it’s just pleasant to get ‘off the mountain’ and get a change of scenery.   I suppose it’s true for anyone… even those who already live in a place other people come to vacation.  One needs to get away and feel the buzz, new inputs, and varied vantage points.

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Ours came this week via dropping off the mountain just north of Camp Verde to Bull Pen Recreational Area.  Arizona is certainly full of hikes and trails, streams and waterways.  We could have gone out to a restaurant for lunch, or shopping for things we don’t need… but instead we opted for a picnic with a view.

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We live on the ridges above Clear Creek making for excellent views of both East Clear Creek and West Clear Creek all along the lengthy traversing creek.  While most places requires quite a hike down hill (and back uphill) to view the creek, Bull Pen is easily accessible by dirt road.  And an excellent spot for a brief getaway picnic.

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Sedona, AZ

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We did an overnight in Sedona and enjoyed this amazing overlook from our campsite.

We ooh’d and aah’d along oak creek (https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/oak-creek-sedona-az/)  and saw our first ring tail cat in the wild (see post ….https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/30/ring-tale/).

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Words just don’t do it justice.  Hard to top this trip.  Where will we head next?

 

Oak Creek, Sedona AZ

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It’s fall in Northern AZ.  With all the snow (all 10″ between 2 storms) and wind we have had, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground on the Rim… so time to explore fall colors in other parts.

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Sedona along Oak Creek makes for a fine diversion.  The aspens were in full yellows and the ferns varying shades of reddish brown.  It was the kind of scenery that gives you pause as it takes your breath away.

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The cascading waters just added to it’s peaceful serenity.  It’s hard to beat scenery like this.  Arizona is truly a magical place.

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One that we are fortunate enough to call home.

 

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.

 

Bull Pen

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Finally… an outing!  We have been ‘home alone’ sort of speak for too long.  So we took the truck out and did a quick jaunt to Bull Pen for a simple lunch outing.

Bull Pen is just outside of Camp Verde and has several trails that go down to Clear Creek.  There is nothing like sitting outside the babbling of the water rushing across boulders forming their own waterfall.  It’s peaceful and relaxing… just what the dr. ordered.

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We were surprised how many people were actually there for during the week.  We found a nice spot to ourselves and relaxed in this beautiful environment, if only for a few hours.

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Olympic National Park

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We have done a lot of the National Parks lately.  Olympic National Park in Northern Washington is one we have never done… but one I would recommend.  Unfortunately during the winter many of the scenic drives are closed.  But I dare say we got to do the best of them, the Quinault Rain Forest.

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With the abundance of mossy trees standing in groves and forests you can barely distinguish the moss trees from the moss fallen logs and ground floor.  Moss hangs from the trees like creepy beards on swamp things.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s super cool and amazingly scenic in a creepy strange sort of way.  Absolutely spectacular.

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The huge amount of non stop rain is testament to this tangled webs of moss laden forest.  Branches so heavy with moss they break and fall to the ground, leaving only the moss covered stubs left on the trees.

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Waterfalls spout out of the mountain like running streams everywhere you look.  It’s just awesome to witness this amazing rain forest.

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The Pano

I often take Panorama’s, but seldom actually stitch them together.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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