This time of year we have colorful clouds at dusk nearly every night. This is a shot from a few days ago in my neighborhood. Normally for a shot like this I would use a tripod but because I ran out of my house it was hand held as I stood at the base of the street in awe. Getting this to shot to turn out pushes the Sony sensor to the edge of its limits in terms of recovering shadows and details. If you zoom in you can pick out a lot of noise and flaws, but the point is I was able to get an amazing scene in unfavorable conditions and on a moments notice. I wish I had used a tripod, but in the end the Sony sensor compensated very well.
Where I live there seems to be some kind of atmospheric border. At around sunset each day the east boils with violent ominous clouds and the west is lit with broken clouds in a cascade of colors. I will see completely different weather depending on which window I look out of. It seems like the border between these two conditions is right over street. As soon as the sun sets the clouds settle down and any local storms subside. The tropical climate here can be truly different from one block to the next.
By the next morning the sky is blue without a hint of any drama or clouds. But as soon as the sun heats up the clouds re-appear as though out of thin air. They get thicker and more dramatic throughout the day until we get afternoon thunderstorms, which then dissipate at around sunset. It’s a predictable pattern that repeats each day. Only when we get tropical depressions from the Atlantic or the Gulf does this change. Then it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen.
This random shot was taken while walking the beach one afternoon. Isn’t it interesting how we flock to the land’s border with the sea and stare out? Maybe that is a metaphor for crossing from one element into another. Although we don’t think of it that way when we come here to relax.
I will hang around the piers because they are magnets for all kinds of compositions. Generally they form a leading line, but in cases like this they form a border; in other cases they bisect the image. People do all manner of things on piers. They fish, they stand or sit and look out, they have picnics and they take pictures. Large seabirds use the piers to as a platform for fishing or stealing from fishermen.
A pier extends the land and allows us to walk over a domain that is not our native habitat. Think of the effort in construction required just to do that small feat. To build this pier took nearly a year of effort and untold costs just to make it strong enough to withstand a different element. Piers are extensions of land and we expend huge efforts in making them.
Another type of extension is a bridge; it projects one element (earth) over another (water). But also I am reminded of grand viewing platforms like the one at the Grand Canyon that is also like a pier but into the air element rather than water. Then there are canals that project the water element over the land. Whenever we decide to project one element into another, the effort is huge. Isn’t it interesting that traversing across natural elements requires so much effort?
So perhaps when we come to the ocean and look out, at some level it captures our imagination. I think it is slightly ironic that we are use our minds to project ourselves much more easily into that foreign element than can ever be done with mere brick and mortar.
This is Bridal Veil Falls near Salt Lake City. To get here it’s just a short drive from the city into the bordering mountains. In a previous post I mentioned that it’s a routine for us to go for a drive on Sunday. As we were in Utah we decided to take the Alpine Loop, which is a scenic drive that winds through the mountains. The road traverses mountains with switchbacks that are open only during the warmer months. There are spectacular views all over and we found ourselves stopping nearly every mile to see one sight after another.
I’m related to some of the original settlers of the area and I couldn’t help but think that they had a much harder time of it. For us it was a Sunday drive through the mountain passes on a paved road; for the settlers in covered wagons it was another thing entirely. It’s little wonder they decided to stop after making it through the mountains; I would have done the same. I have no idea which route the settlers took, but back then there were no highways so it was no Sunday drive.
To get a sense of scale of this waterfall you can see a couple of people at the very bottom of the image. The falls are over six hundred feet high and were once serviced by a gondola and a restaurant at the top. That’s gone now but the falls remain and you can take a short hike to the base or just look from a parking lot next to the highway.
Anyway, the Alpine Loop is a spectacular drive and the parks within it are open to hiking, camping and fishing. And not too far from this spot is where the Sundance Film Festival takes place each year. All in all the Alpine Loop is a must see if you’re in the area.