Haw Creek River, Arkansas Ozark National Forest

November 21, 2016  •  1 Comment

Haw Creek River Angie, Elvis and I drove to Arkansas to spend Thanksgiving with Joni, Caleb and Braxton.  Today (Monday) was a photo day so I researched Ozark National Forest as I had photographed the eastern side near Buffalo Area near Pedstal Rock and Whitaker Point (Hawksbill).  This time I went to the Haw Creek area about 15 miles west of Pelsor.  

Still a lot of great color this time of the year.


I learned a lot about polarizing, 10 stop neutral density and graduated filters from Matt Suess in Zion National Park.  I put some of the long exposures techniques to use on this crisp morning.  I normally like to use HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos but using filters tends to be more difficult and results in a lot of "hit and miss" photos.  Once the exposure is zeroed in then you try different apertures and shutter speeds to get the likable results.

I also use Abobe Lightroom for my cataloging and photo refinement.  I have found once you do your normal development I use the Hue, Saturation and Luminance to bring out the fall colors.

I also made a couple of virtual realities with my Google Cardboard camera software on my LG V10 android phone.  I highly recommend getting familiar with the Google VR technique as it is a "poor man's" virtual reality gimmick.  Before long it will be a full motion interaction as fast as the technology is moving.

Here are the 2 VR's .  One and Two

May God Bless you and yours as I have been blessed for this Thanksgiving week!

(Interviewing for Santa Claus)



Utah Zion National Park Day 8 (last day)

November 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

What a hike yesterday morning.  I am writing this Sunday morning as I am driving from Springdale to Salt Lake City when I finish.  SLC is 4.5 hours away.  The Canyon Overlook is a moderate hike in the Zion Rangers terms.  In old man terms it seemed like a death march.  As we were climbing up at 5 am Matt Suess told us it was a good thing we couldn't see to the left as we probably would not have liked what we saw.  Our headlamps only lit what was in front of our feet.  As you can see in the photo above the view was incredible.  The wind was whipping through the viewpoint.  I took this VR from a little ways back from the edge to show how many people were there once the sun came up. The photo below is what the view looked like before and after the sun lit the canyon.

Here is a VR about halfway down the desent from the top.  Matt had everyone view a sunlit top of a canyon wall.  This was my view VR of where we were.

We next went to the same place where we did the milky way shots a couple of night before.  The photo below was a close area of where I was standing so you can see the different looks from night to day.

Here is the VR I took of this area.

All in all I highly recommend Zion National Park.  I have only showed a few of the thousands of photos I really took.  The park has many more day trails and hikes that we merely just hit the high points.  If you are physically up to a 7 to 10 day exploration then I highly recommend this park.  It is a huge park and you really need days to discover.  

If you are a photographer then I also recommend Matt Suess www.mattsuess.com to get you the best photos you can take.  HE had a very precise schedule of places, time and sun placement for every hour of each day.  He has traveled this park for many years and knows it well.  I am planning a trip with Matt in June 2017 in the Grand Tetons which I am really looking forward to.

One last VR of my room.  I guess I was very sleep drunk to include as every muscle in my body ached from the miles of hiking each day.

Utah Day 7

November 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Court of the Patriarchs

We left early again to get to this spot called Court of the Patriarchs.  There were probably 40 photographers lining the banks and even in the river to my left.  Remember this is the 100 year anniversary of the United States National Parks.  Matt Suess has been photographing Zion for years and knows the best times and places were the traffic to be best for shooting.  We (5 of us) were all within arms distance of each other clinging to the side of the river bank.  The VR is here

Due to the time as it is 3:30 am and we are meeting at 5 am this morning I will not be a wordy as the other days.

Here are the next two VR's.

Weeping Rocks

Big Bend

We ended the day back at The Watchman.  Matt took us to another location and ask us to find our own framing for our own creation in capturing the area.  Here is the VR of this location and the photo below.




Utah 6 - No Day 5 as it was a computer day

November 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Zion National Park


Wow!  What a day!  Remember I am in a Zion photography class with 3 other students and Matt Suess the master teacher.  We met at 5:30 am and headed to our first spot to get started.  The first VR is here.

Since I did not record the locations of the next several spots I will stack up the next VR's. 

Next location

Next Location

Next Location

There are so many incredible locations to photograph like this canyon.

One of the most famous locations to photograph at Zion is the Watchmen Tower.  It is a very tall presence as you enter the park.  The park entrance, campgrounds and and the edge of the town of Springdale lay at its base.  We parked on the side of the road in a turn out to hike back to a river that runs toward it for a great photo location.

VR Location here.

VR River location here. 


The last location of the night was another famous Zion must have photo.  By this time we are all exhausted but Matt promised we would like this effect.  I had never done any night photography like this before.  It involves the Milky Way which we had a phone app to find it called SkyView.  This area is a lone peak about 75 feet tall with one lone Pinion Tree that sits on its top.  This night photography technique is very difficult to master in total darkness on rocky terrain while being on the edge of cliffs.  Matt brought some portable lights to give the peak some color.  I am not totally happy with my first attempts I plan on working the talent till I am happy.  The technical settings for something like this is ISO 8000 and a 3.5 opening with a 20 second exposure.  Lots of fun!!



Utah Day 4

November 02, 2016  •  1 Comment

Kolob CanyonThis is the north west corner of Zion National Park. This day four started early.  The day before while headed to Bryce Canyon through Zion I had seen several photographers were lined across a bridge waiting for the sunrise to hit a certain spot on Watchmen cliffs.  I was determined to get there early and stake my spot.  Well as it turned out the throngs of photographers were not there and I pretty much had it to myself.  It was a very colorful site with a sizable river under the bridge and made a soothing sound that I could sleep by.  I waited two hours to get the shot I felt was best.  Here is the that shot and the VR is here.

I took the morning off after this morning shoot to catch up on editing photos.  I had read quit a few blogs about the Kolob Canyon Drive.  It is only 12 miles with turnout vista points every 200 hundred yards or so.  The photo at the top of this article was the end of the 12 mile trail.  It is called Timber Trail overlook.  The VR of this point is here.  


Starting today at 5 pm I am taking a class with Matt Suess.  Matt is the reason I am here.  He is an expert of the area with Utah, Arizona and Montana (Tetons and Yellowstone).  I took a class several months ago with him on a software package called On1 in Dallas and liked his approach to teaching and his zest for photography.  I will be in his class until Sunday.  I have a four hour drive to SLC to catch a flight back home at 3 pm.  Matt's site is www.mattsuess.com


January February March April May June July August September October (3) November (8) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February (2) March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May (1) June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December