Sepia Sunset

Sometimes when reviewing your images from a shoot you get one (or a few, it happens) that you look at and go “ugh” and it gets the X mark for deletion.  Time has taught me that not every image is beyond salvaging though so you should wait before  pressing the delete button.  Of course if the entire frame is blown out or conversely totally black, that is a definite delete.  Why should you not immediately delete a file you deem less than stellar?  Because there are moments after you step away from an image when all is quiet in your editing mind and you revisit it to perhaps make a bit of magic.

Or at least a pretty cool edit.  I had blown out the sunset here in Torrey, Utah more than I could recover to my tastes so I was going to move it to the dead zone when I came back and played around with editing it in black and white (which I still didn’t like) and finally into this version of sepia with the old west aged border.

I think I like it now!

Teri  📷

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Memorial Day and memories sparked by the movie Battleship

(This is a repost from 2012 with some editing)

Today is Memorial Day;  a day when we here in the states honor and remember those men and women who have served in the various branches of the military and ultimately gave their all.  As I have mentioned before, many of my relatives have served in various branches during different times in history.  WWI, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Korea, and during times of peace.  While I knew what the day was about it wasn’t until my father became ill and had to spend the rest of his days in the St. James Veterans home that my eyes were truly opened to what our men and women have gone through serving their country and it was shown to me not by books or a class in school but by the actual people themselves, how much many have sacrificed – including the ultimate sacrifice.

So where does a movie fit in? DH called in his “it’s my turn” card and he picked the movie we went to see.  His choice was Battleship.  On a scale of 1 to 5 I would give the movie a 2.5 – 3.  But in the middle there were some moments where I actually cried and it wasn’t because the acting was so fine (or bad) or anything of the sort.  The movie used real active duty sailors as well as real vets; they were called Old Salts in the movie.  Seeing them wearing their hats showing where and when they served opened up the flood gates of emotions I thought I had long since dealt with.  Daddy has been gone now almost 7 years but seeing those frisky old guys wearing their hats brought it all to the front of my mind.

If you aren’t aware of where the movie takes place, it happens in Hawaii and a pivotal part of the movie involves the battleship USS Missouri.  There were a couple of guys at the veterans home who served on that ship during Pearl Harbor and although they did not like to talk about it much at all, they would sometimes let little snippets out.  One time one of the men let his memorabilia be used as a display in the halls of the home.  History is never so real as when it is right there in front of you.  But something was universally true, many of the vets in that home knew someone who did not come back like them and you could just see the dark cloud come over their faces IF you got them to talk about it.  None of them ever really wanted to talk about it.

Never would I have thought that a movie based on a kids board game could reduce me to tears, but it did.  It just shows that even after all this time I still miss my father very much and although I hated him being in that home, I do have fond memories of the place and the people there.  If you celebrate today then I hope you have a good time whatever your plans.  Enjoy and be careful out there but do remember what the real meaning of the day is and say a prayer for those serving as well as those who miss their brave loved ones.


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Triangle Frame

Sometimes you go looking for the shot and sometimes it comes to you.  We went birding yesterday, as that’s DH’s thing and he was past due on having a pick of where to go photographing, so off we went to his favorite ponds where there are always ducks, geese, herons, egrets, turtles and a pair of swans.

The swans were nesting in one of the ponds so we slowly walked down as close as we dared without startling them and took some shots.  I noticed that one of the swans was busy feeding its face in the remains of the waterlilies and was swimming in one direction.  I  observed that as he was doing this he was weaving between the lily stalks, so I sat at the edge of the pond and waited until his (taking a guess it was Mr. Swan and that Mrs. Swan was keeping the eggs warm) head was framed by the stalks.

And this is what I got while patiently waiting and actually enjoying the peace of sitting by the pond watching the swan.

Teri  📷

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Big Fun

It’s a three day weekend here as Monday is Memorial Day – the unofficial start of the season for grilling, eating out on patios, festivals, road trips and more as well as the end of school for many.

Have fun this weekend and be safe out there.  Will be back with more of Capitol Reef next week.

Teri  📷

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The Milky Way and How to Shoot It

First, in order to get your photo as devoid of light pollution as possible from city lights, you need to find a dark(ish) area.  I learned that there are certified dark areas and maps to assist you in finding them.  One site for this is called which shows the entire globe.  Even if you aren’t going to do astrophotography it is interesting to look at.  So now that you have a place you’d like to try that’s nice and dark, what next?

Next is when to go.  The Milky Way is only visible at certain times of the year depending on where you are on earth and it’s best to shoot on a new moon night because the moon is pretty darn bright and that will effect how well you will be able to see the Milky Way.  A great app (it costs around $10 but is so worth it) to help you in not only finding the Milky Way but when it will be visible in the sky, at what angle, when the moon rises and sets, how to plan for the shoot, hyperfocal distance calculator and more is Photopills.  That app helped me from the planning stages to the implementing of this shoot.

Once at your dark area where should you take your photos from?  In my case I knew it would be somewhere in the Capitol Reef National Park in a spot with hopefully some foreground interest and not where I could fall off a cliff or something like that.  It is very important that you look for where you want to do your night shooting in the day time and remember where it was for later.  In the dark you may, like we did, “misplace” that location.

You can use just about any camera – full or crop – but what’s important is the lens.  What will give you the best results are a wide and fast lens.  You need something around 24mm or smaller with an aperture of f 1.4 to 2.8 because what you are shooting is vast and you need a lens that will  let in as much light as possible since, well, you are shooting in the dark.   Also needed are a sturdy tripod, a shutter release (or set your camera to a 2 second delay) and flashlights because – it’s dark out there!  Filters are optional.  They make some to enhance the sky or to cut down light pollution if there is any.  I didn’t use any filters other than my UV filter by accident.  Should’ve taken it off but was so excited I forgot to for the first shoot.  Whoops!

Give your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness, set up your equipment (wearing a headlamp is great for this and for getting around in the dark) find the Milky Way either by sight or by app, put your camera in full manual, turn off any image stabilization in the camera and/or lens, focus on the brightest star until it looks good and sharp or focus out to infinity (a photographer on YouTube suggested going out in the daytime and focusing on something far away in manual until it’s good and sharp and then putting some tape on the lens at that spot to keep that focal distance) and set your maximum exposure time and ISO – but to what?

There really isn’t anything hard and fast for either setting.  There is the 500 rule where you divide 500 by your lens for exposure time.  Some have suggested using 300 instead and in the Photopills app there is something called the NPF rule which takes into account not only the lens focal length but what camera you are using and its amount of megapixels.  I went with the NPF rule.  The goal is a long enough exposure time to capture the stars but not so long that they go from points of light to star trails.  Take some test shots with various settings until you get what you want.

Suggestions for what ISO setting to use have ranged from 800 to 6400.  Again, you adjust until things look good to you and then shoot away.  Once you have your photos uploaded and are staring at them on your computer editing is a personal taste and I have no suggestions for you other than one listed below.

This is the result (editing in LR and Nik ) of my first night’s attempt at astrophotography.  Could it have been better? Of course!  But I am pleased with it for a very first attempt.  That big bright star is the planet Jupiter and if you look to the left and slightly up from the planet you will see a straight line; that was a meteor!  And in the lower left corner is Chimney Rock with me shooting from the parking lot there.

(Sony A7RIII – 24 mm  f1.4 lens shot at f1.4 – ISO 3200 – 8 seconds exposure – 3 Legged Thing Brian the tripod – pro master shutter release)

I want to do this again and get better at it so it’s back to checking out the dark site finder and making plans for another new moon night.  Oh! I forgot to mention… the best laid plans can be laid to waste if the weather decides to muck with you.  The first night shooting the weather was perfect.  The next night it was cloudy, no stars.  And finally on the last try the sky had low clouds in it which I waited out until they drifted past the core of the Milky Way.  Phew!

Do you have any astrophotography photos or tips to share? Please do! Here are some tutorials that can assist you should you want to try this kind of photography:

When is Milky Way season?

How to plan, shoot and edit photos of the Milky Way

5 tips and tricks for photographing the Milky Way 

11 essential tips for shooting a night landscape 

Astrophotography gear guide 

Have fun – Teri  📷


Posted in Art, Nature, Photo Techniques, photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Capitol Reef National Park – Chimney Rock

Humans do like giving names to things; their children, themselves, cars, cameras, where they live and in the case of the park here – rock formations.  Not only is there the looming chimney rock itself but there is also a 3.5 mile trail with an elevation of 580 feet gain (over the elevation of 6,837 feet in nearby Torrey) with a 360 degree panorama view at the top.  See here for more information about the trail.

There is a small parking lot at the start of the trail with rest rooms and a sign that tells you about the trail and the flora and fauna of the area which included gopher snakes.  While we saw plenty of the lizards, trees and flowers no snakes were seen and frankly I was very good with that.

Sadly we didn’t take that hike and how I wish we had.  I must confess that there were two trails (this one and another) with great views that for some reason or another we didn’t take.  I take full responsibility for their omission as often I would be so excited by something else I’d forget about the trail or had worn myself out on another one and wanted to call it a day.  I could kick myself for forgoing this trail but it gives me a reason to go back.

Chimney Rock is formed of sedimentary rock from the Moenkopi Formation formed during the Triassic period over 200 million years ago.  I cannot begin to explain the geology and geological terms but that link from the geology department of the University of Utah explains it very well.  I can just imagine my college geology professor shaking his head at me now.

Connected to Chimney Rock is Mummy Cliff shown below.  Why it’s called that I cannot say but if you know please share the info!

Chimney rock did serve as the first spot from which we took our first ever Milky Way photos which was the main reason for our trip to Capitol Reef.  We set up in the parking lot at 3:30 in the morning in the cold and practically pitch black with gear in hand and lights on heads to capture something so beautiful… which I will share in the next post.

In the lower left hand corner of the image below you can see some cars parked in Chimney Rock’s parking lot.  We pulled over here across from Chimney Rock on our way to Fruita, Utah for this shot; just one of the many pull over spots in Utah and in the park that people can take photos from safely.  Thanks, Utah!

We were going to go back the next night to go off the parking lot and into the desert a bit for better foreground interest for astrophotography but we missed the turn in the dark and ended up some place else.  This is the spot we “planned” to take photos from with Chimney Rock and the dead tree for interest.  Where we eventually set up for night two of shooting (because it had a bigger sign pointing it out) did turn out well and it’s where I saw parts of a meteor shower.  Not a bad trade off I’d say.

Capitol Reef is one of the smaller national parks in Utah and I found that to be much more to my liking.  It afforded us places to go without jockeying for position with tons of other people and often there were times on some of our hikes – and drives – were we were the only ones around.  Now maybe that could also be attributed to the time of year we went but don’t pass up this park, it’s a gem!

Have you ever been here and what were your adventures like?  Have a favorite trail you hiked or did you just go for the pie?  More about the pie later too!

Teri  📷


Posted in Nature, Parks, photography, Travel Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Gallery Show

Guess who has a photo in a local art gallery?  It’s called “The Great Portrait Show” and I have one piece in it.  It’s the photo of the blonde in the gold sequin dress to the left of the black pillar.  The theme for that shoot was Marilyn Monroe by the way.

They had 400+ submissions for the show and accepted only 101 or as I like to say 100 plus mine.  Cool, huh?

Teri  📷

(The tour of Capitol Reef will begin tomorrow.)


Posted in Art, event, photography, portraits | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments