Moonbows at Yosemite National Park

B68P9327-Edit-Edit-EditKnown as moonbows, spray bows, or lunar rainbows, this amazing site at Yosemite Falls comes into alignment only a few days each year. It is produced by moonlight rather than sunlight.  For the creation of the lunar rainbow, you need clear skies, enough water in Yosemite Falls to create misty conditions, dark skies, and bright moonlight.

Other than the difference in light source, its formation is exactly the same as for a solar rainbow. It is caused by the refraction of light in many water droplets in the falls, and is always positioned in the opposite part of the sky from the moon relative to the observer.

Moonbows are much fainter than solar rainbows, due to the smaller amount of light reflected from the surface of the moon. Because the light is usually too faint to excite the cone color receptors in human eyes, it is difficult for the human eye to discern colors in a moonbow. As a result, a moonbow often appears to be white. However, the colors in a moonbow do appear in long exposure photographs.

There are several different spots to set up to capture this scene. I took this shot from the walkway at Cook’s Meadow.  Yosemite has some of the most amazing scenery in the world.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to go there, put it on your must see list!

Glacier National Park

DSC04941-Edit-Edit-Edit-BlogMany Glacier: This area is often referred to as the heart of Glacier. Boat rides, horseback riding, and great trails are found here. Three excellent all-day hikes are the Iceberg Lake, Cracker Lake, and Grinnell Glacier Trails. Roughly 10–12 miles round-trip, these moderately strenuous hikes bring visitors to unmatched subalpine scenery. Grinnell Lake, Red Rock Falls, and the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail are good choices for shorter hikes. Check out the recent renovations to the Many Glacier Hotel. The lobby in particular has had a dramatic makeover. The historic helical staircase has been recreated, returning the hotel lobby to its original look.

Two Medicine: Before the Going-to-the-Sun Road was constructed, Two Medicine was a primary place for travelers arriving by train in East Glacier. As in the past, those who visit today are rewarded with spectacular scenic hiking. Trails to Scenic Point, Cobalt Lake, Aster Park, and Old Man Lake are popular day hikes. Guided boat trips across Two Medicine Lake make No Name Lake, Upper Two Medicine Lake, and Twin Falls easy trips. Running Eagle Falls is reached by a wheelchair-accessible nature trail, which highlights traditional use of plants and the spiritual importance of this site to the Blackfeet Tribe.

North Fork: The North Fork is one of the least visited sections of Glacier National Park and can only be reached by private vehicle. If you don’t mind traveling over rough dirt roads, then you might enjoy a trip to the North Fork. The area offers views of forest succession in recently burned areas, views of Bowman and Kintla Lakes, a homesteading site, and chances to see and hear rare park wildlife. Allow all day for the round-trip drive to Kintla and Bowman Lakes from West Glacier along the Camas Road. Be sure to bring supplies for the day or prepare to stop in the town of Polebridge before you begin your drive.

Historic Oceanside Pier

DSC00457-Edit-BlogThe historic Oceanside Pier is a prized community resource as well as a monument to its citizens’ persistence in seeing that a pier remains a part of its oceanfront recreational facilities. At its current 1,942 feet in length, it remains one of the longest wooden construction recreational piers on the West Coast. From its reach, viewers can peer into the entrance channel of Oceanside Harbor, a 900 + boat recreational marina that sits along the northwest borders of the city. The pier is a recreational common ground for Oceanside, a place where young and old, fisherman and surfer, tourist and residents mingle, stroll, and sit to watch the waves or the sunset while enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. While a fishing license is required for surf fishing on the beach, no license is needed for fishing off the pier.

Oceanside’s love affair with its pier began 125 years ago when the first piling was driven into the sand at the end of Couts Street. The remnants of that first pier are still there, occasionally making a rare appearance during minus tides and low sand levels.  In 2012 several pilings were exposed for a brief few days, which had not been seen for over 20 years.

DSC00486-Edit-BlogIn 1916 a flood devastated San Diego County, wiping out roads, railroads and bridges and killing several people countywide.  The Oceanside pier played an important role in getting much needed food and supplies to Oceanside and the surrounding area.  Coal for the Santa Fe railroad was shipped in; The Swift Packing Co. sent several tons of meats for Oceanside and neighboring towns and the Pacific Coast Biscuit Co. landed about two tons of miscellaneous groceries and meats.  Because this activity necessitated heavy equipment and cranes, the damage they did forced the closing of the pier for a short time after the emergency.  In conjunction with the recent storm damage, the steel pier had taken more than it could withstand. However, it would take over a decade to build a newer, better pier.

After being rebuilt many times because of strong storms, on September 27, 1987, the pier was dedicated and opened with the public invited to inspect Oceanside’s newest pier. Balloons were sent off and after the mayor and City Council made their opening remarks, residents could now take the long awaited stroll along the wooden planks. Thousands of people walk out on the pier each year. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in Oceanside and San Diego County. Oceanside’s first pier is gone but it has been written deep into the history of Oceanside. We are proud of our beautiful pier and the history it represents. We are equally proud of the citizens who have persevered and have dared to dream. Oceanside has always loved its pier and it would not be the same without it.

Mammoth Caves of La Jolla

The La Jolla sea caves, formerly known as the Mammoth Caves, have been one of San Diego’s major tourist attractions since the late 1800s.  They are among the City’s most unique and scenic features.  Situated just east of the famous La Jolla Cove, the seven sea caves were naturally sculpted into the base of a 75 million year old sandstone sea cliff.  The caves’ openings face north towards Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores beach.  At low tide the caves are accessible from the ocean, but only one (“Sunny Jim’s Cave”), is accessible from land.  Visitors can enter Sunny Jim Cave via a tunnel which was dug in the early 1900s from the historical landmark, The Cave Store, located on the cliff above on Cave Street.

Many stories have been told about the history of the fascinating and majestic sea caves.  City Clerk’s Archives special collection from the early 1900s tells the story of that tunneling and proposed tunneling of the infamous Mammoth Caves by two former Cave Street landowners, and includes the petitions and reactions on the subject by the then residents of the small seaside community and other concerned San Diego citizens.

Bryce Canyon National Park

There is no place like Bryce Canyon. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! Descriptions fail. Photographs do not do it justice. Bring your sense of wonder and imagination when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.

Wind, water and time have eroded Bryce Canyon Park’s sandstone cliffs into otherworldly characters plucked from the unconscious of a mad Viking. Rows of humanoid pillars crosshatched by rock strata look almost intentional but perfectly surreal. So silent, eerie and beautiful. So improbable it has to be true. Your first view of the park is a dramatic unveiling. Wind through stands of pine trees until they break at the rim of Bryce Canyon National Park, revealing a panorama of goblins, towers and fins of a color you can’t quite name.

Don’t pack for Zion when you’re going to Bryce, which is a full 18˚F cooler. The rim reaches 9,100 feet above sea level, so July peaks around 80˚F and winter snow sticks around until April. (Yeah, snow. Lots of it!) It’s a year-round national park: comfortable all summer and snowy hoodoos make for gorgeous cross-country skiing winter to spring.

Bike it, hike it, snowshoe, or ride a horse. If you don’t want to park, hop on the shuttle and people-watch between viewpoints.

The Subway at Zion National Park

DSC00898-Edit-Edit-Edit-2-BlogThe biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

Making the long treacherous trek on the Left Fork Trail to the “Subway” was both a challenging and rewarding adventure. It was quite a walk down the steep narrow rocky gully leading to the bottom of the large valley and the Virgin River. The weight of our packs made the hike even more difficult. The trek was over 8 hours, bouldering and scrambling on an undeveloped trail, and climbing up several staircase waterfalls flowing over very slick algae covered rocks, before finally reaching the Subway. We made it up into the highest part of the Subway by clinging on to the rock walls for stability. The hike out was brutal. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the parking lot. Yes it was challenging, but We never felt more alive.

Antelope Canyon

“If you stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

To older Navajos, entering a place like Antelope Canyon was like entering a cathedral. They would probably pause before going in to be in the right frame of mind, and prepare for protection and respect. This would also allow them to leave with an uplifted feeling of what Mother Nature has to offer, and to be in harmony with something greater than themselves. It was, and is, a spiritual experience.

Antelope Canyon is a naturally formed canyon that is often referred to as the most photogenic of all of Arizona’s natural wonders. The Native Navajo call it “Tsé bighánílíní,” or “Where the water runs through rocks.” The entire canyon system was formed by the erosion of the soft Navajo Sandstone in the area over thousands of years.

_X5Q0084-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-2-Blog2Thousands of people have walked through these canyons, and many more thousands of photos have been taken here. If you’re planning a visit here, it helps to pay a little extra and get a personal guide to lead you through the canyons. Otherwise, you will be stuck in a mass of people and it will be virtually impossible to get a good photo without someone in it.

PHOTO TIP – ADDING DEPTH TO YOUR PHOTOS: Incorporating a sense of depth is one of the things that you have a lot of control over. It can improve the vitality of the image and it’s also fun to experiment with. Most photographers know that a good foreground can really make an image pop. To take it a step further; ensure that there is a foreground, mid-ground, and background to your images so that you can take control of the sense of depth in an image. This helps to lead the viewers eyes into the photo and gives it more of a three dimensional effect.