First Snow, Canyon and Creek

We had the year’s first snow in the valley last week. Of course, as soon as I saw it was coming down, I had to grab my camera, jump in the car and head for a trail to hike. I picked Grove Creek because it is close and has both nice views and a running creek. Here’s what I came back with:

Grove Creek in Utah after first snow. By Jameson Gardner 2014.

I took these two of the creek on my way down. I tried a couple shots of the water on my way up, but I think I was impatient and the light was different because it was still snowing. So, I tried again later, this time bothering to set up my tripod and take a some care. As you might expect, the shots with a little care came out much better.

Grove Creek in Utah after first snow. By Jameson Gardner 2014.

This one below was taken on my way up the canyon and is actually stitched from about 15 shots. I had my 18-55 and could have just taken a wide angle, but I used the 50mm instead and the resulting 3 columns of 5 shots came together nicely and produced an image with pretty amazing resolution compared with what a single wide angle shot would have given me. Not that I really need it, I’ve shrunk it down to the same size as all my others for the blog 😉

path snow pano web

Along the way, I started thinking about how I didn’t get a lot of photos during leaf changing season, so I took one of this fallen oak leaf to make sure I didn’t miss representing the late fall flavor.

Oak leaf fallen among weeds after first snow. By Jameson Gardner 2014

Path down trail in Grove Creek Canyon after First Snow. By Jameson Gardner 2014

Whenever the wind blew, it pushed the low clouds from the valley right up the canyon. I wish I could have adequately captured the experience. It was like something from a fantasy novel. I’d be hiking along with crisp views of the canyon below, when suddenly a thick mass of writhing mist would barrel up the canyon twisting around rocks and trees. Then before I could get my lens cap off I was engulfed and couldn’t see past 10 ft in front of me. This happened several times. Both the path above and the tree below were taken when the wind in the valley lulled and the mist began to thin and dissipate. It usually cleared completely before the cycle started over.

Tree on slope in Grove Creek Canyon after First Snow. By Jameson Gardner 2014

I also tried to do a little time lapse while up there. I didn’t bring any sort of interval timer or controller with me, so I did it manually. I have to admit that 35 min of standing in the snow,counting to five and releasing the shutter over and over got a little dreary, but my best photos usually aren’t the ones I take out the back window in my pajamas.

Hope you enjoy.

Utah valley and powerplant after first snow 2014. By Jameson Gardner

Sunset Time Lapse

A while back, I posted a little time lapse of the blood moon eclipse. That was my first attempt at time lapse, and ever since I have been itching to do one of a sunset. I missed some beautiful opportunities last week when a series of storms delivered amazing cloudscapes. So, when the sky started to look interesting this week, I had to rush home to get my equipment ready. Nothing gets my heart pounding like the idea that I might miss a good opportunity. Whether it is an amazing patch of orange light on a snowcapped peak, or a dwindling supply of tasty food—I get greedy. Having missed my chance with the previous ones, when this opportunity presented itself, I cancelled my plans and got to work.

Location for my setup was limited to the length of my extension cord. I messed up my remote jack earlier this summer so my only reliable control option is tethering my camera to a laptop and using Canon’s EOS Utility. Set up on the roof of a horse stall overlooking Utah Valley and shooting at 5 second intervals for about an hour, this is what I got:

Well, that is mostly what I got. I actually got 38 frames with birds, bugs and helicopters in them. Since no bird takes more than five seconds to cross the frame, they would just pop up like blips giving it an old-timey dusty projector reel kind of feel. Not what I was going for. So, I photoshopped out the birds. 38 frames to fix seems like a lot, but out of 560, I’m counting my blessings.

My setup on the roof of a horse corral to take time lapse photos of the sunset. by Jameson Gardner

Here is my camera set up on top of the horse stall. The laptop is up there too on the other side of the peak. Normally it is kind of nice to use a laptop instead of an interval timer because the EOS Utility provides an onscreen preview of each shot. That was useless in this case though, because once I started shooting I had to climb down to avoid wobbling the roof.

Sun lights the interior of a storm cloud over Utah Valley, Utah. By Jameson Gardner

Here are a few shots I took on the days when I wish I could have done a time lapse last week.

Rays of light shine through clouds just before sunset in mountains above Alpine Utah. By Jameson Gardner

Rays of light filter through clouds and shine onto Utah Lake, Utah. By Jameson Gardner

Blood Moon Eclipse

I know the Blood Moon is old news, but I finally got around to exporting one of the little time-lapse animations that I shot. It was kind of last minute, but I went up the canyon with a couple friends to try to capture the eclipse. This was the first time I had ever done time lapse and not having time to order a device to control shot intervals, I had to link my camera to my wife’s laptop and control it with the Canon EOS Utility. It actually worked well and provided an onscreen preview of each shot.

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Time Lapse April 2014

The moon moves faster than you’d think. To be zoomed close enough to get any detail, it meant the moon was moving out of the frame pretty frequently. So I have here, just a segment of the eclipse, when the last sliver of direct light is disappearing. I also have a still that I took while metering for one of the time-lapse segments.

Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse April 2014

It all made me wish I had a telescope.

Chasing Ice

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The story I am illustrating for my BFA project takes place in the arctic. I was researching arctic icebergs, flows, and glaciers and came across a documentary called “Chasing Ice”. In short, it is about photographer James Balog’s project to document receding glaciers. It show’s indisputable proof of our changing climate and raises concerns about the dire consequences of such a change.  In addition to that, it is also an engaging story of how the project came about and was executed.

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The film is full of beautiful photography and time lapse. I recommend watching it if only for the stunning visuals. However, I was also touched by what may be the last fleeting glimpse of an incredible part of our earth’s history.

The images in this post are from the film.  I hope Mr. Balog and the producers of “Chasing Ice” won’t mind my showing them here.  The film is available for streaming on Netflix and you can watch a trailer or find out more at chasingice.com

I also loved the soundtrack, thanks J. Ralph.