Phoadtography: Vegas and Zion Trip 11/2010 Pt 1 of 3

Guess what?… nope, guess again?  nope.. one more try?  Close, but the right answer is “it’s time for another Phoadtography post.”  Actually it is sometimes affectionately called a photo-bomb which is pretty accurate with this particular set since it requires 3 full posts to get through.  This series is brought to you via our Las Vegas and Zion trip we took over Thanksgiving last year.  That equates to two very photographic locations coupled with a road commute between them.  Translated, lots of Phoadtography opportunities.    For those of you who may be new to the blog, here are some guidelines I posted previously regarding one of my favorite means to pass the time trapped in the car.   Let’s jump right into the set!

Figured I would start with a quick sign shot.  That and I wanted to get a bad picture out of the way before getting into the good ones.  Clearly this one is not up to par in the Phoadtography quality scale.  The camera tilt is over 5 degrees and the trigger finger was a little quick on the draw.  However, at least I knew where I was on the camera card.

I’ll balance the previous shot with probably my favorite of the whole set.  This is primarily due to spotting the opportunity and patiently waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot.  It required taking into account the direction of the road and relationship to the fixed structure on top of the rock.  I have no idea what it is (maybe a weather satellite or cell tower).  With the clever alignment it really looks more like a deathray!

Hit the jump to see a lot more of the pictures!

Check these shots out taken at 65mph (or more … Linda was driving).  Pretty good if I say so myself and they look even better at the larger sizes (check out Eddiesoft on Smugmug for the full versions).  I definitely like the depth of field generated by the interlacing mountains.

Lucky for me, there were a couple of opportunities to get this type of shot.  It resulted in a little mini-game waiting for the perfect opportunity to get the shot as the relative openings were only there for a about 10 seconds as we passed by on the highway.

You can tell in this shot we were getting deeper into the mountains based on how much of the frame the back mountain took to get in compared to the side mountains.

In this particular shot I think the car window distorted some of the coloring towards the top of the picture.  It was definitely cold that day (guessing in the high 30’s) so the window was definitely in play.  I had to laugh a little when post processing this picture – if there is a high point somewhere out there, man will most assuredly find a way to put an antenna on it

There are a lot of textures in this particular shot and slightly disappointed that the back mountain is a little blown out.  The sun happened to be pointed directly down the value making it difficult to get a really clear foreground and background shot .. that and we were cruising down a highway at the time.

At first this shot looked fantastic to me.  During post processing I didn’t notice any issues and even uploaded it without any concerns.  Unfortunately, a issue became very apparent after selecting the image reduced by Smugmug.  If you relax your eyes a bit you will notice a strange shade crossing through the image (look at the sky and move down).  This is a direct result of the car window and just one of those nuances in the field of Phoadtography.

Trust me, the window effect can get a lot worse.  Case in point below.  As far as composition goes, I’d give it an A.  On a personal note, these mountains were a lot more colorful (and interesting) than the ones we saw on our Badlands trip.

The short rock formations were very intriguing and gave a nice contrast to the huge mountains sprouting up around them.  I am not a geologist by any means so a technical explanation as to the reason will not be coming.  Although I did take a geology class in college thinking it would be beneficial for my interest in getting an archeology degree.

Eventually these small mountains gave way to the the splendor of the Zion National Park granddaddies.  Without a reference it is impossible to convey just how large these rock formations are.   Needless to say, too big for humans to find a way to stick an antenna on them.  This may be the first Phoadtography entry that we have printed and framed.

This shot was taken in Zion while in the car, but in all honesty, Linda had pulled over on a turnoff at my request.  A quick look at the picture should indicate the reason for the pull off.  No way was I going to pass up an opportunity to get out and take pictures of a fine Caterpillar machine against the mountain backdrop – and those turned out great!

Along that same stretch of road were a number of tunnels straight through the bedrock.  This one happened to be pretty short.

In fact, you can see all the way through it in this shot.  Never underestimate a man with dynamite (and a high quality Caterpillar machine)

This one has a more ornate entrance. with nicely formed and placed stone.  Of course, this would have even looked nicer had I been able to get the focus locked in.  If you look at the black of the tunnel entrance you will see some white specks.  That was snow playing havoc with my center focus and causing some concern for our trip back.  We did not get any accumulation so those worries were laid to rest.

This is a shot of Lake Mead.  If you are not familiar with this particular late, it is the one formed by the Hoover Dam which powers all the Vegas lights.  We headed out there to check out the new bridge that had been opened since the last time we were there.  The next post of pictures will have a couple more shots of that.

Here is another shot of the same lake.  I made sure to get the cars in the bottom to remind me what a pain in the butt it was to actually get there.  If memory serves correctly, the traffic hit us outside of Henderson and forced us to crawl all the way to the dam.  Hint to fellow tourists, make sure your gas tank is full before trying to get out there.  That ‘4’ should have been changed to a ‘2’ based on the mph pace we were making.

This guy decided to stroll out in front of us one night while driving through Zion.  Based on all the traffic, it is probably pretty accustomed to vehicles and seemed content while passing in front of our vehicle.  Reflecting back, this was an omen for Linda.  Ironically this deer walked out in front of us after I had spent about an hour in the cold trying to get some good shots of a buck at considerable distance.

Now seeing deer in a national park is not that rare.  However, seeing ostrich on the side of the road is bizarre even if they are fenced in.  They had a place to pull off the road to see them up close and feed them if you wanted.  As a bird enthusiast, you would thing I would be excited about this.  My experience with these flightless birds has given me the impression they are all basically MEAN.  It may be that they are pissed off having wings and being limited by the height they can jump.  In any case, I’m keeping my distance.

Welcome to our great state, come see our giant Arzhole!  I jest, but in truth, it seems like everyone I meet from other countries is planning a trip to see the Grand Canyon.

The last one today is a cornucopia of Phoadtography specimens.  In the background you have the pretty mountain setting.  The foreground has the contrast of living in one of the prettiest locations in the US and surrounding your house with the ugliness of scrub brush and powerlines.  To top it off you have a bizarre middle consisting of cargo trailers painted up with a pumpkin and smiley face.  I can’t image getting out of bed in the morning with such a beautiful mountainside eclipsed by obnoxious sheet metal.  Oh well, to each his own.

I hope you enjoyed this first set of Phoadtography pictures.  If so, you can look forward to to more equally sized posts in the coming weeks.  If not, my apologies and at least take comfort in knowing it is a short month.

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