Fotomoto Gadget

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Desert bighorn sheep on red sandstone, Valley of Fire, Nevada

During a camping trip to Valley of Fire State Park, in Nevada, a desert bighorn sheep strolled by the campground where we staying. After we followed it for a while, it joined a herd of about 20 consisting of a mix of females and yearlings. At one point, the male scrambled effortlessly up a red sandstone outcrop to get a better view of the terrain and might have checked for predators in the area, before continuing.

Canon EOS 70D, 250 mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/350 sec., f/11. This image has been cropped a little tighter to improve composition.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Lake Solitude, Grand Teton NP, panorama

Here is a panoramic image of Lake Solitude in the Grand Teton National Park wilderness. We stopped here to resupply our water bottles during our backpack trip up Cascade Canyon on our way to Paintbrush Canyon's lower camping zone. The Grand Teton peak appears at the left in this image, just to the left of the darker ridge with snow patches on it. The sun was getting lower on the horizon, so we realized we wouldn't be making it to camp during daylight.

The two vertical streaks on either side of the sun appear to be part of the panorama making process and wasn't something I, Rick, observed while capturing the image.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Starting a Backpacking Trip Along Jenny Lake in Grand Teton

Bob is stopped along the trail to get a photo of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. This image was taken with Rick's smartphone camera app's panorama feature. You can see the trail we came from to the left in the image and the direction we're going to the right. Also to the right is Grand Teton, Teewinot, and Mount Owen in the Teton Range. For this backpacking trip, we were heading up Cascade Canyon and coming down Paintbrush Canyon, where we spent the night in the lower camping zone. We parked at String Lake and hiked south toward Cascade Canyon, which made the first day a long day of hiking and second day, much shorter. The first day took even longer for us because we kept stopping to take pictures and to enjoy the thimbleberries and huckleberries.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Setting Moon Over the Tetons

After waiting in line to get into the Jenny Lake Campground early one morning, we got to witness the setting moon over the Tetons the following morning. Grand Teton itself isn't in the picture, however, the moon is over Mount Owen. The taller mountain to the left is Mount Teewinot. It turns out that these two mountains block your view of Grand Teton, so anyone driving into and hiking around the Jenny Lake area can't see Grand Teton. Rick was just walking around the campground area and happened to look toward the highest mountains and noticed the moon there. So he rushed back to the car to get the camera and get some photos before the moon set.

The image was taken at ISO 100, f/16, 1/60 sec, with a zoom of about 4.5 power.

Remember, it's not just a story, it's a story!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Wrentit at Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Another photo of a bird from Point Reyes National Seashore in California.  This wrentit was flitting about our campsite at Coast Camp on a cold December morning daring us to take his portrait.  So, we did.

Wrentits hang out in the coastal chaparral at Point Reyes singing from the top of shrubs and dropping out of sight into the tangled branches.  These are tiny birds about 6 to 6-1/2 inches long with a long tail and short stubby bill with mostly brown feathers around the body and grayish around the head.  They're described as being elusive, but this little guy was just the opposite.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Monday, November 26, 2018

White crowned sparrow at Point Reyes National Seashore, California

This is a close look at a white crowned sparrow.  This little guy was flitting around the reconstructed Coast Miwok village called Kule Loklo near the headquarters of Point Reyes National Seashore.  This National Park unit is some forty miles north of San Francisco on the California coast.

We always look forward to hearing the sing-song call of these little birds, especially when we're staying in the Point Reyes backcountry, and their call kind of tells us that we're "home."  Notice that this little guy has a bird band on its leg.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fly Geyser, geothermal feature in Nevada

We went on a tour of the Fly Ranch on October 20, 2018. The tour includes the world-famous Fly Geyser. It was the result of an attempt to drill into the geothermal area in 1964 to generate electricity but it didn't work out. The feature has been building up minerals ever since. That's 54 years! At the rate of 6-8 inches (15 - 20 cm) per year. It isn't a true geyser, though, because there is never a quiet period, since it's spouts water continuously. We've looked it up and learned that the proper name for this feature is a "perpetual spouter." We counted 5 spouts at the top.

Unfortunately the right side of this formation was shot at, leaving it looking crumbled.

Settings were ISO 100, f16, 1/45 sec, with a 35 mm focal length with a polarizer.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fly Geyser, Gerlach, Nevada

After knowing of the existence of this geothermal feature in northern Nevada for a number of years, from photos in photo magazines, we finally got to go on a tour of this private ranch to see the Fly Geyser up close and personal.  This feature resulted from a geothermal test well drilled in 1964 that was either never capped or was capped improperly and has been spouting hot water into the air ever since.

The cone has formed from deposition from the mineral-rich water cooling as it emerged and is growing at a rate of 6 to 8 inches per year.  This is a phenomenal rate for a geyser.  But, then again, this is not a true geyser.  A true geyser has a quiet phase and an eruption phase.  We've checked the terms for geothermal features and it looks like perpetual spouter would be the most accurate term for it.  In any case, this mound of mineral deposits and brightly-colored algae growing on this cone is a spectacular sight.

These photos were taken with an eclipse filter on the lens to force a long shutter speed of 30 seconds and f16 and it produces a silky look for the five spouts of water emerging from the top of the cone.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Eye of the Needle, Death Valley National Park, California

This is a nighttime shot of a natural window in Death Valley National Park, California, called Eye of the Needle.  Seems self-explanatory how it got its name.  This arch is about one and a half miles up Echo Canyon on a dirt road.  The road appears to head straight toward this arch, but then wraps around the rock formation, so that you can see this arch from both sides while driving.

We camped near this feature and were taking starlight shots of it when someone drove by lighting up the rock formation with their headlights. This photo was taken with a zoom lens set at 28 mm and the exposure was 30 seconds at f/3.5 with the ISO set at 800.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Half Dome with a cloudy scarf

Got this image on a winter trip last February to Yosemite Valley. The clouds formed small puffs of cotton around Half Dome and slowly drifted around it. This cloud moved into just the right spot as the sun was getting lower in the sky, that its shadow went all the way across the face of Half Dome. Another nice feature was the snow on top of Half Dome and on the ridge west of Half Dome, too.

The ISO was set for 100, shutter speed at 1/250 sec, and the f/stop was 5.6. This was taken right about 5 PM so it was getting close to sunset for the third week in February. Taken from the Sentinel Bridge in Yosemite Valley.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Pronghorn Antelope feeding at north Yellowstone, close up

When we entered Yellowstone National Park from the north, from Gardiner, Montana, we saw a herd of about 14 pronghorn antelope grazing right by the road. Some other antelopes not part of this herd were grazing on the other side of the road close to the town of Gardiner. When we saw them and watched for a while, they approached the buildings of the town and even crossed over a parking lot to search for edibles. We took pictures of them in that position, but didn't think to include them in our blog, since you could see roads and buildings in the image, along with the animals.

Rick used his Canon PowerShot to get this 24x zoom image, with an ISO setting of 400, f8, 1/1000 second.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Little Gibbon Falls, in Yellowstone NP, along the Gibbon River

We were hiking out from Wolf Lake in Yellowstone and saw a sign for a side trail to Little Gibbon Falls, along the Gibbon River. We figured it would be worth the time to go take a look and we weren't disappointed. This image is the view from the trail, which has a steep dropoff in this area. The water falls over rocks that have a stair-step pattern, which matches the sedimentary rock layers in the cliff face next to them.

We spent quite a bit of time here and were joined by dayhikers. We discovered from the map, that this waterfall is only about two miles from the road. But we were approaching it from the wilderness area, having backpacked in to Wolf Lake the night before. We also realized that we could've hike in to Wolf Lake from the main road on this trail and would've had less distance to cover. Backpacking in from the Ice Lake trailhead was a little bit longer. Something to keep in mind for next time!

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Pigeon Point Lighthouse and beach

The Pigeon Point Lighthouse is fifty miles south of San Francisco along the central California coast near the town of Pescadero.  At 115 feet tall, it's one of the tallest lighthouses in America.  It was first lit in 1872 and, although the lighthouse tower is no longer active, the point is still an active Coast Guard station.

The lighthouse is in need of restoration and has been closed since 2001 when pieces of the brickwork near the top fell off.  The grounds are still open, but the area around the base of the tower is fenced off.  The park used to have an annual lighting of the historic lighthouse event in November to commemorate when the lighthouse was first lit, but discontinued the lighting in 2011.  The historic lighting may resume after the restoration project on the tower is completed.  The 2000 pound first order Fresnel lens that sat atop the tower and cast the lighthouse's light out to the sea is now sitting in the fog signal building.  It's 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and consists of 1008 prisms fastened to a brass framework.

Bob took these photos of the lighthouse in 2010 on the day of the historic lighting event and posted his night time shot of the lighthouse lit up in an earlier posting.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Monday, August 20, 2018

An osprey in Yellowstone, along the Gardiner River

As we were driving into Yellowstone National Park from the north entrance, we caught a glimpse of an osprey along the Gardiner River. Rick pulled off quickly at the next turnout, which fortunately was close enough to look back at the bird on the opposite bank. We had some conifer branches to hide us and to frame the osprey. After getting some images of the bird, we tried moving down the road to get an unobstructed view, but our movement startled it. We watched it fly upriver away from us. This is the best image we got of the osprey, while we were still partially hidden from it.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Half Dome with a cloud on a bright sunny day

Half Dome is Yosemite's most iconic feature. It has many moods depending on the lighting, the presence of clouds, the season, and the angle from which you view it. This photo was taken from Sentinel Bridge, a popular spot from which to photograph Half Dome. The bridge connects the Southside Drive to the Northside Drive over the Merced River in Yosemite Valley. The face of Half Dome is in shadow in the mornings and isn't lit up by the sun until the afternoon.

Normally, we avoid visiting Yosemite in the summer because of how crowded it can be, but from time to time, we do make a summer time visit. This image was taken in early June, 2010. Rick lives close enough to Yosemite that he can make a day trip to visit the park. This was early enough in the season that there was still some snow on Half Dome. This was before the big five-year drought that California experienced. the dark trees in the image provide a nice framing effect and the cloud capping off Half Dome adds interest.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nearly full moon setting sequence over the Grand Teton summit, Wyoming

On the first morning of our recent Teton/Yellowstone trip we were up in time to catch the moon setting over the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park.  Bob caught the following sequence of the moon setting where it passes behind the summit of the Grand Teton peak itself.  Mount Owen is to the right, which, along with the peak called Teewinot constitutes the group of peaks known as the Cathedral Group.

We were set up at the Mountain View Turnout along the Teton Park Road to photograph the moon's setting.  The mountains are especially red because of the rising sun which was also helped by a forest fire in this region. At the same time we also saw the sun rise over Jackson Hole as you can see in the photo we posted earlier.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Sunrise over Jackson Hole, Wyoming

On the first day of our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone, we reached Jackson Hole to try to get shots of the nearly full moon setting over the Grand Teton summit.  While following the moon as it approached the summit, we turned around and noticed the rising sun in the east.  This shot was through clouds low to the horizon and was probably enhanced by smoke in the air from a wildfire near Rexburg, Idaho on the west side of the Teton Range.  We took this shot near the Mountain View Turnout along the Teton Park Road in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Pronghorn buck at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park

During our recent trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone, we encountered a herd of 14 pronghorn outside the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana.  This buck seemed to notice the lenses we had aimed at him for photography, so we got this head-on shot.

Pronghorn are unique to North America.  Like other horned animals, their horns have bone at their core, but unlike others ungulates, their horns are covered in sheaths that they shed every year, much like antlered animals shed their antlers annually.

Pronghorn are the fastest land mammals in North America capable of hitting 55 miles per hour.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Mount Spencer lit by the sun through a break in the clouds, Kings Canyon NP

In early July, 2018, we backpacked in to Evolution Valley in Kings Canyon National Park. From there, we day-hiked to Evolution Lake and had lunch before heading back to our campsite. While at the lake, we were rained on for a while, but also saw breaks in the clouds. When we looked up from eating lunch, we saw the sun light break through the clouds and light up the mountain to the south of Evolution Lake, Mount Spencer. We also noticed the clouds curling over the top of the mountain. After taking a few shots, the rain came down more heavily and we headed back to camp.

This section of the trail through northern Kings Canyon National Park has both the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail combined.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Yellow-bellied marmot on the move, Kings Canyon

The yellow-bellied marmot is also called the rock chuck, closely related to the wood chuck. We encountered this one at our campsite in Evolution Valley in the northern region of Kings Canyon National Park. It was the morning after a rainy evening and we were setting our gear out to dry in the morning sun. This marmot came along, seemed to have something to eat while hiding in a crevice, then came out to search around the area for more food. It didn't seem to mind our presence that much, so we had a chance to take 20 - 30 images.

I used my camera that has a 50x zoom lens so we didn't have to be that close. We didn't want to disturb him and for him to show natural behaviors. I got lucky in taking this image while he had his rear right foot off the ground while he was on the move. He hung around camp for about 20 minutes or so.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Cascade along Grouse Lake Creek in Yosemite's backcountry, Wawona area

On the second night of a three-day backpacking loop trip in the backcountry of southern Yosemite National Park, we camped near this cascade along a tributary of Chilnualna Creek.  This tributary flows out of Grouse Lake. This was just a hint of what was ahead of us as we looped back to Wawona and followed Chilnualna Creek back down the slope.  Chilnualna Creek forms a number of cascades and waterfalls before forming the biggest drop Chilnualna Falls, a 240 foot drop into a cataract.

We enjoyed this little cascade as our dining spot not far from where we camped in our hammocks. Getting an image with the feathery effect is accomplished by using a slow shutter speed. The shutter speed for this image was 2 seconds with an ISO of 50 and f/stop of 22.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Half Dome view in the winter, before and after

We skied out on the Glacier Point Road in Yosemite to look down on Yosemite Valley during the winter. Clouds moved across the sky and obscured our view. We stopped at the Washburn Point turnout and saw a cloud bank. Rick thought it made an interesting image of Bob's silhouette against the gray clouds. A few seconds later, the clouds separated enough to see Half Dome in the distance. These two images make a very interesting "before and after."

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Sugar Pine Trail, Rails to Trails, Fresno Clovis

The Sugar Pine Trail in Fresno and Clovis is an example of a rail to trail project. I use it regularly for jogging and biking. So, I've made a video describing it and it's on our YouTube channel. It actually has the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most trees planted, 4400, by 3000 volunteers.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Best View of Chilnualna Falls Ever, in Yosemite

For a while, we became obsessed with getting the best possible picture of Chilnualna Falls, in the southern part of Yosemite National Park. Everyone who hikes from the Wawona area to Chilnualna Falls, sees these falls from the north looking south. In fact, the trail is always north of the creek. We found a much better view by crossing Chilnualna Creek and positioning ourselves where we could see the falls from the south looking north, plus being there at the time of day when the sun's light reaches all the way to the bottom of the falls. Searching for the best possible view also invloved us climbing a rope up to a tree branch along the trail and also rappelling down the cliff face to the area at the right in this photo where the dried plants are located. That position got us too close to the falls to get it all in a single shot, so we figured on backing up further in order to take it all in. So that's what we did and how we got this image.

The falls can't be seen from the Wawona area because there's a big granite wall in front of it. After getting this shot, we also managed to get to the top of that wall and look at the falls straight on.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Granite arch in Yosemite, along Chilnualna Creek, Wawona area

During a backpacking trip in Yosemite during the second week of June, 2018, we were headed out on the last day along Chilnualna Creek and visited this natural arch. We had already found it years ago during a trip to this area. We think it was formed from a pothole in the granite that eroded downward until it broke through the bottom of a ledge. By estimating the size with Bob's tripod, we determined that the opening was about 1.5 meters or about 4 feet across. That puts it in the "minor" arch category, but still, an arch made of granite is a rare thing. We first approached the arch from the side of the creek where the trail runs along, but we took these pictures after crossing the creek upstream from this spot and positioning ourselves to see the maximum opening possible.

This was the third day of a loop backpacking trip we took along the Alder Creek trail and looping clockwise to come out by the Chilnualna Falls and cascades, which are dramatic in their own right. We really took our time in this area, almost 4 hours, before heading down the trail which loses about 2000 feet (610 meters) in elevation to the trailhead where we parked the car.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Golden Gate Bridge and full moon rising

The world famous Golden Gate Bridge with a full moon rising behind it.  Because of the high contrast between a night scene and the full moon, it's very difficult to have the entire scene properly exposed.  Because of that, these images are a composite of two shots.  The first shot was exposed for the night scene and the second was zoomed in and exposed for the moon.  Bob then resized and positioned the moon shot over where the moon was in each of the first shots.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Yosemite Moonbow, Memorial Day Weekend 2018

In Yosemite National Park, California, in spring and early summer and around the time of the full moon, the mist from Yosemite Falls can form a moonbow, or lunar rainbow or a waterfall mistbow. A moonbow is a rainbow caused by moon light, rather than sunlight. When viewing this phenomenon, most people can't see the color of the spectrum because the moonlight is too dim to stimulate the color receptors in your eyes.  We have encountered some people who claim that they can see some color in the moonbows,  however.  With a long exposure, 20 to 30 seconds, with a camera, the colors appear in the final image. The night of the full moon is the brightest, but up to 2 days before or after the night of the full moon could also work.

For the above images, Bob went on the night of the full moon on Memorial Day 2018 to Lower Yosemite Falls.  Although the images look like they could've been taken during the day, he included stars in the sky to prove that they were nighttime shots.  In the vertical image, the Big Dipper hangs over the Lower Yosemite Falls and the moonbow.  When Bob first got to the falls, the moonbow was fairly high above the mist from the falls, but as the night went on, it got lower and lower until it was in front of the mist.

One of the great challenges of taking this sort of image is that you need the mist from the falls in order to get the moonbow, but then if the mist reaches high enough, it can make the rest of the image look fuzzy. There's also a very good chance that you'll get wet  depending on how great the water flow over the waterfall is and on which way and how strongly the wind is blowing.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Pacific Dogwood bloom in Yosemite

In late spring, usually peaking in May, Pacific dogwoods (Cornus nuttalli) bloom in Yosemite National Park.  This photo is of a dogwood blooming in Yosemite Valley around the Majestic Yosemite (formerly the Ahwahnee) Hotel.  Bob took it just after a light rain had swept through the valley.

Besides May being a good time to visit Yosemite to see the dogwoods blooming, it's also a great time to see waterfalls pouring off the granite walls of Yosemite Valley after a good rainy season.

The dogwood "flower" actually consists of a tight cluster of tiny flowers in the middle with several large white bracts that look like petals.  The leaves of dogwoods exhibit what's called "arcuate venation."  This means that the veins on its leaves curve toward the leaf edge instead of going in a rather straight path from the main stem toward the leaf edge.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pacific Crest Trail Association annual meeting April 28, 2018

Rick's October 1982 solo trip on the Pacific Crest Trail, covering the distance of about 70 miles from Sonora Pass to Echo Summit. I bought the pack new and unfortunately didn't consider the hype about it's design. I ended up carrying the entire weight of my gear on my shoulders because the hip belt was nearly useless. After this trip, I got rid of the pack and went back to my older one, which I had kept.
Rick attended the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, in Sacramento. When he worked on the trail crew for the Toiyabe National Forest in the summer of 1982, he got paid to go backpacking out on Mondays and return on Fridays for a couple of months. During that summer, he worked on portions of the PCT, mainly in California's Alpine County. After the seasonal job ended, Rick went back to hike from Sonora Pass to Echo Summit by himself, covering about 70 miles, with most of the trail distance being familiar already.

We have also hiked the Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park, which includes a portion of the PCT. We got a twin selfie shot of us two at the high point of the loop at Glen Pass.

Rick has also hiked a portion of the PCT farther south with a friend, through the Evolution Valley area. We'd like to hike at least the length of the Sierra Nevada soon.

Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day 2018 from the Robinson Twins

Happy Earth Day 2018
The Robinson Twins

We're standing in Twisted Doughnut Arch with Delicate Arch beyond, in Arches National Park, during Spring 2017. Bob's in the center and Rick's holding a tripod.
Remember, it's not just a picture, it's a story!