Monday, October 10, 2011

The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch by right2roam
The Final Stretch, a photo by right2roam on Flickr.

Keeping with the theme of "can't believe it 'til you see it", here is one of my favorites from a camping trip in Death Valley. I remember years ago when I was just getting into landscape photography, coming across an article in... I can't remember the name of the magazine... about the most unusual landscapes on Earth. The Racetrack Playa was rightly included in the top ten.

No one has actually observed the stones moving, but move they do, leaving tracks as evidence of their trek across the dry lake bed. There are several theories about the conditions that set the stones in motion. To me, the most plausible is simply a combination of wind and water. The playa's surface is composed of very fine clay sediments which become slick when wet during the winter rainy season in Death Valley. Winter storm winds can gust up to 70 miles per hour, which is perhaps more than enough to send a rock sailing across a nearly frictionless surface.

Check out these links for a little interesting reading about this unusual phenomenon.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/life-in-death-valley/the-mystery-of-the-racing-rocks/5088/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racetrack_Playa

Canon EOS 5D
Focal Length: 47mm
Aperature: f/22
Exposure: 1/13 second
ISO 100

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fireworks at Pfeiffer

Fireworks at Pfeiffer by right2roam
Fireworks at Pfeiffer, a photo by right2roam on Flickr.

Has it really been that long since I've posted anything to my blog? I'm back from several months on the road, now spoiled with a reliable internet connection and a hard drive full of California backlog to sift through. So, congrats!... If today is October 7th 2011, you're one of the first to see this little gem that I came across this morning.

There is a narrow window during the winter when the sun sets in just the right position casting a beam of light through this natural arch at Big Sur's spectacular Pfeiffer Beach. The first time I saw a photo of this effect I thought that it had to impossible, some kind of trick. But I did an image search on Pfeiffer Beach and saw a large number of impressive photos of this arch at sunset, and from the dates the photos were taken derived that the beam of light effect can be seen November through January. I perused a number of websites and blogs looking for the precise dates, but couldn't find anything. During my stay in California I made a number of trips to this amazing place, but the weather and lighting conditions only aligned once for me so that I could capture this effect.

Canon EOS 5D
Focal Length: 105mm
Aperature: f/14
Exposure: 1/10 second
ISO 250