Entries by Josh Cripps

Photographing Reflections in Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California

Photographing Reflections in Dusy Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California

Hey Everybody, it’s Josh Cripps here. And I’m in this place called Dusy Basin, which is in Kings Canyon National Park, my favorite national park in all of the United States, maybe even the world, and this is a place that I’ve wanted to come out for a while. So I’m pretty excited to be here Now for this video. I really wanted to try to find somewhere beautiful to film and do some photography. But unfortunately this is the best that I could find. 

I had a height to the top of Bishop pass, but I never made it any farther. So I didn’t know what to doozy basin was like. And I was always curious about it. Plus I’d seen tons of photos of the place on the internet and it looked so beautiful and so alluring. And so I decided I finally had to go as for why I wanted to take this trip now. Well, it was because of this weather, this flat gray weather that you can see above me. Typically, I like to come backpacking in early July because we get the monsoon thunderstorm kind of behavior in the atmosphere. But this year we’re getting all this late season atmospherics and thunderstorms. So it’s really exciting time to be out here. It’s the end of August, which is great. It means there’s no mosquitoes at all. Uh, but we’re getting these really epics guys.

In fact, the last couple of days where I live up in mammoth, the weather has been unreal. We’re talking crepuscular rays and lightning bolts and double rainbows. We had a full arch, double rainbow and light. They’re just a beautiful, it’s been beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And, um, and w that pattern seems to be holding here into the trip. And so I got my fingers crossed for some really neat conditions. What’s cool and unusual about these summer storms that we’re seeing right now is that typically a Sierra thunderstorm will build up around noon or one start to rain around two or three, and that’ll last till five o’clock or so, and then it starts to break up again, but typically all those clouds just disappear. And by the time sunset rolls around the sky will be completely flawless with not a cloud to be seen. So it can be frustrating from a photography standpoint, but for the last couple of days, the thunderstorms have persisted, not only through the sunset, but on into the night as well.

And it’s made for some really exciting conditions for photography. And I think that’s going to happen today as well. There’s just fantastic, beautiful texture in the sky. You can see curtains of rain coming down over these mighty peaks, but out to the West, there’s a strip of blue sky. It gives me a lot of hope that when the sun drops into that slot, we’re going to see something incredible. I’m thinking we’re going to see light beams. I’m thinking we’re going to see spotlighting on the landscape. And I think we’re also going to see a pretty fantastic sunset. So I can’t guarantee it. I never guarantee anything when it comes to thunderstorm photography, but that’s my hope. And it’s starting to rain and hail on me here again a little bit. So I think I’m going to go hide in the tent and then go out and do a little bit scouting.

One of the problems with seeing too many photos on the internet of a place is that those photos start to infect your mind and they make you think that those are the best, or maybe even the only shots that you can take there. And as I looked online at these doozy basin photos, a specific kind of shot kept appearing over and over in the search results. It was the skyline of Dusy basin with isosceles peak, big and powerful on the right hand side of the photo and all of this reflected in a Lake. And then everything punctuated with beautiful light. Now these shots were gorgeous, but they all had the exact same composition. And so I had two simultaneous, but opposing thoughts. The first one was, I want to find that spot because it looks fantastic, but at the same time, surely there has to be board than just that one composition there.

So how do I take my doozy basin reflection shots and make them my own, this is what I was thinking about. And as I sat in my tent, waiting for the rain to stop and getting ready to shoot where the clouds pulling this disappearing act on me, I’m actually way less hopeful now about the prospects of a good sunset. So I’m going to take advantage of the light that I’ve got right now, because there are some pretty decent clouds in the sky. So nice puffy clouds, really nice textures and contrast with the blue sky. And the other thing that I’ve got going for me right now is it is dead calm. There’s not a breath of wind anywhere. And I think this is going to set me up really beautifully for some incredible reflections in these little tarns and lakes over here. All right. I got to stop grousing because it would have been amazing to have a few more clouds, a few more thunder storm, Marie cool dramatic sky stick around through the sunset, but it’s pretty hard to complain about that.

So, you know what I really like about this scene? It’s not just the reflection, because to be honest with you, I find that reflections are often a crutch in photography. They’re just an easy way to make a photo look good. And so you just see these photos of a sky and some mountains reflected in a Lake and that’s it, that’s like composition one Oh one. That’s the easiest kind of reflection composition to make. But to me, there’s always another level. There’s always another step that you can take to create an interaction between the landscape and the reflection and this spot. It’s wonderful for that because you see how you have this peak, it’s called isosceles peak and it’s coming down right into this little Tarn right here. So it’s really highlighting that one particular component. So I’m really falling in love with this scene. These big lakes are really cool and everything with these views of the mountains, but there’s a lot to explore in this place. And there’s this whole series of tarns here that flowed down the mountain. It’s really cool because right here they split. And part of the outflow goes this way. And part of the outflow goes out that way. So I’m going to keep following this stream a little bit, just to see where it goes, where the outlet takes me.

Do a drop-off here with an incredible view out over this vast Valley. And on this hillside that Heather, the mountain Heather is just vibrant red, and it’s a beautiful telephoto shot with those backlit treats. So I’m going to switch up and shoot that with my long lens.

And as I was exploring around the basin, it was a powerful reminder that those preconceived ideas of what the quote right shots are, are as temporary and ephemeral as the Sierra thunderstorm, when you actually arrive in a place there’s always a million other possibilities. And when you trust your vision as a photographer to respond to the scene with your own unique perspective, then I guarantee you are going to come up with your own personal photographs. And for me, my goal was to take this idea and apply it to the reflection shots that I was seeking in Dusy basin. And here’s what happened next. All right, enough jibber, Jabber, and monkey, and around because it is time to get down to work. You can see that a couple more clouds blue and over the top light is getting incredible over this base in here, we’ve got these amazing reflection that I’m lining up with these rocks down here on the shore of this little Tarn.

I’m having absolutely way too much fun. So I better stop logging and start shooting, but really quickly. I just want to show you one more example of how you can take your reflection, compositions and move them from a simple reflection like this to something really special. You can see that these rocks right down here on the foreground. And if I position my body in just the right place, I can get those rocks to kind of fill in the space that negative space in the reflection, kind of like that. And it makes the composition so much more powerful by using the wide angle lens and bringing this right up to you. The viewer feels like they can stand in the scene instead of just looking at this kind of two dimensional reflection shot. So keep that in mind, whenever you guys are shooting reflections and bring your photos up a notch or six. 

You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face right now with the world’s biggest eraser. I know I say this a lot, but it doesn’t get any better than this. Well, that’s going to do it for tonight, spectacular evening and amazing place with wonderful light and no mosquitoes. I think I might be in habit. I’m going to close this video out now with a couple more photos from the seasoning and be sure to stick around for the next part of this adventure until next time have fun and happy shooting.

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Skeleton

Skeleton

The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, on March 11th, 2017.

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Lion’s Roar

Lion’s Roar

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Taken at Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand on April 11th, 2016.

While on a photo tour of New Zealand’s South Island our group was treated to a spectacular light show as the setting sun shone three fiery beams of light through the fjord, igniting a wall of rain perched in front of a mountain known as The Lion.

For a sense of scale, the “small” waterfall visible in the center bottom of the photo is 500-foot tall Stirling Falls.

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The 4 Coolest Places in New Zealand (That I’ve Photographed)

The 4 Coolest Places in New Zealand (That I’ve Photographed)

Do me a favor, close your eyes and picture this. You’re lying in a bunk on a boat, rocking back and forth, listening to the waves lap against the hall. And as you drift off to sleep, you hear thunderous rain pounding on the decks above you and roaring wind lashing against the size of the boat. Early in the morning, you’re woken up when the captain blasts the ship’s horn. And although it’s before daybreak, you leap out of bed, grab your camera gear, and you go charging upstairs to the upper decks of the boat. And when you get there, you find the rain stopped, but clouds obscure the world around you. Then as the morning develops, the clouds begin to clear and the tops of vile high peaks, rising straight out of the ocean start to appear. And you see that overnight. The rain turned into snow and those peaks are dusted with a fresh coat of white and has all of this registers in your brain. The sun eases over the Eastern wall of the world and light beams plunged down through the atmosphere and it looks something like this.

Greetings, my excellent friends. It’s no secret that I love New Zealand. I spent over a year of my life exploring and photographing. What is one of the most astounding countries on the planet. And it’s never far from my thoughts, but New Zealand is lodged even more firmly in my brain right now because they just announced that in the midst of this global pandemic, they have effectively stopped COVID-19 within their borders. If you’re a Kiwi, you can now go pretty much anywhere and do pretty much anything. And you don’t have to wear a mask. It’s a big leap, tremendous achievement. And so I wanted to celebrate New Zealand by sharing with you four of the coolest places in this country that I’ve had the great fortune to visit and photograph.

I’ve been all over the North and the South islands of New Zealand. And while they both have a lot to offer this South Island is what pulls me back over and over. Thanks to its rugged good looks and it’s vast wild spaces. And that wild place that I mentioned at the top of the video, it’s called doubtful sound. It’s in Fiordland national park and it’s one of the magic places of the world. And if you go there, I highly recommend that you do what I did and you stay overnight within the Fjord itself. You won’t regret it. And while I could gush on and on and make an entire video just about Fiordland, there are a couple other things that I wanted to show you.

Let’s move inland to a place called Mount aspiring national park. Man, as I like to call it is a stunning place full of rivers and forests and sexy, sexy mountains. And in my opinion, it’s one of the best places in New Zealand to hike because of its sheer size, the variety of scenery, as well as its relative accessibility. And in 2018, I got to access a very special part of the park in a very special way on a gray rainy morning, a small helicopter lifted off from the wee little town of maca Rora carrying me and my bag of gear 17 miles up the Wilkin river and depositing me on a gravel bar about half a mile from a place called the top forks hut. I spent the next five days living in the hut in near complete isolation. I spent my time hiking beneath massive hanging glaciers and eating rehydrated Shepherd’s pie next to a crackling fire.

It ended up raining most of the time that I was out there. And so I didn’t have the best light or conditions for photography, but that didn’t stop me from exploring and grabbing shots. Whenever the light did peek through because of that, I spent more time wet than dry and my feet were in the river. As often as they were out of it. It’s a very wild place back there. And I found that plunging headlong into it was the absolute best way to experience what it had to offer. And when it was all over, I hiked 10 miles back down the Valley to a little landing alongside the Wilkin river where a jet boat picked me up. Pearled me the rest of the way down the river. And back to my car, you could file that under, did not suck

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I cut my teeth in photography, shooting seascapes in Santa Cruz, California. And while I live in the mountains, now the ocean has carved out that really special place in my heart. So whenever I get an opportunity to visit a unique beach, I jumped at the chance and there aren’t many beaches, more unique or more beautiful than far Riki beach. I stumbled across this marvelous stretch of sand. When I was doing research for my very first dedicated New Zealand photography excursion way back in 2012. And it was love at first sight. And since then, whenever possible, I make it my mission to get back to firearm. Kiki. What makes it special to me is a couple of things. First of all, you have these towering stands, stone islands are called the Archway islands and they sit just off the coach.

And these things are huge. This arch right here, you could actually fit an entire soccer pitch underneath it. Second, the beach itself is made of this wonderful mix of black and gold sand, which formed in these marble jigsaw type of patterns. So if you’re an abstract photographer, you could happily spend a lifetime here. The sand is also beautifully reflective and the beaches incredibly flat. So a lot of the time after a wave rushes out, you’ll find yourself with this absolutely perfect mirror, smooth finish stretching off into the distance in front of you. 

And this can cause problems from a photography standpoint, but it also means that there are no sand flies there. And that’s a trade off that I will happily take every single time. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no wildlife. In fact, if you’re there at the right time of year, you can often find baby seal pups playing in the little title pools there on the beach. Now, if I were Ricky, it’s not really close to anything. It’s at the very end of a long quiet road in a long quiet part of the country, but it really is worth the effort to get there. I’ve never seen conditions changed so fast as they change and farro far-reaching every single time that I’ve been there, I’ve had rain, rainbows, clear skies and incredible light shows often within just a few hours of each other. Plus the sheep are really cute too.

Finally, I’d like to take you back to the mountains to an extraordinary place called out Rocky Mount cook national park. This is one of my favorite places in the entire world. And I’ve had a lot of really cool experiences that I could tell you about. Like the time that I woke up inside a cloud at Tasman Lake, and I got to experience being inside a full 360 degree fog low, or like the time my friend Jessica and I got stuck in the Mueller hut for three days during a blizzard. And we ran out of food and we had to get rescued by a helicopter after the weather cleared out. I could tell you about those times, but instead I wanted to tell you about a neat little place called Sefton bib. Now, if you’ve been to Mount cook, more likely than not, you’ve hiked the hooker Valley track and this track for those of you who don’t know, it’s just gobs.

Smackingly beautiful. It passes under huge peaks. You take suspension bridges over these wonderful glacial rivers. The track carries you past unrivaled views of our Rocky Mount cook, which is the highest peak in New Zealand. And finally it deposits you on the shore of a Lake that’s full of icebergs. I mean, it’s pretty freaking cool, but somewhere along that track, if you know the right place to turn off, you can follow a stream bed to a pile of talus, to a little cleft in the hillside to a very rough track that leads you up the mountain side to Sefton bef sift bib or bivy. It’s one of the maintained huts within the park. And I really mean it’s a hut. I mean, it’s just four walls, a roof and an outdoor toilet with the world’s most insane view. And this hut is normally used by mountaineers who are trying to climb Mount septin or the footstool.

And although I’m not enough of a Mountaineer to really tackle a serious objective like that, I do like to get up into the thick of things and Sefton bib it’s in the thick of things. So let me try to give you a sense of exactly where this is. Sefton bibs sits on a tiny spur of rock, surrounded by glaciers. Here’s a view of the mountain side as seen from the park village. And as I zoom in more and more look for a tiny orange stuff. Okay. Yeah, there it is. That is sifted bef pretty amazing. And for peer, you have a commanding view over the park, as well as easy access to some enormous glaciers. Now, when I visited, I only had enough time to spend a single night in the hut, but you better believe I was running around like a monkey chasing bananas, taking as many pictures as I could have this unique and wonderful place.

Now at one point is safety. If you ever have a chance to visit the bib, you should expect a very strenuous climb to get up there. And I recommend that you bring crampons and an ice ax as well. If you’re going to get on the glacier, that’s absolutely mandatory. And if you don’t have any glacier travel experience, you got to go with a guide or somebody who is experienced. I don’t want to be responsible for you being as dumb as I once was. All right, that’s going to do it for this video. If you enjoyed this virtual photo tour of New Zealand, please like, and leave a comment and subscribe. If you haven’t, that helps tell YouTube to show this video to other people which helps me grow the channel and make more videos. I really appreciate it. This is Josh Cripps signing off. So until next time travel well, be safe, love the landscape respected and as always happy shooting.

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Why These Photos Don’t Work (I tried, I worked the scene, and I FAILED!)

Why These Photos Don’t Work (I tried, I worked the scene, and I FAILED!)

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Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken in the Empty Quarter of the United Arab Emirates on December 26th, 2019.

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Fall Color Landscape Photography in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

Fall Color Landscape Photography in the Eastern Sierra Nevada

I see that. Do you know what that is? That’s blue sky. Not only is it blue sky, but it’s just about the first blue sky I’ve seen in the last three to four weeks. You see? So it hasn’t been the easiest thing to get outside in the last month or so, but today here we are near the end of September and the winds have started the shift. So those clearing skies, along with the fact that the aspens are starting to change, it means it’s time to get outside for some fall color photography.

I love shooting fall colors, but one of the big questions that I’m always confronted with is how do you keep it fresh? How do you keep being creative and shooting new and novel types of photos after all there’s only so many wide angles shooting backlit through the trees and creating a Sunstar kind of photos that you can take before. It just stops being all that fun. Which means that my big challenge for the day is can I find a way to approach fall color photography in a new way that keeps it exciting and fresh for me. But first we’ve got to find a place to actually shoot. Oh, that’s right. All my favorite spots in the local forest are closed right now. What about, or even crap? It looks like we’re going to have to go for a little drive. I’ve come to the humble Toyama national forest. And there’s a place here that I’ve been to before that is spectacular for fall color. The problem is I don’t quite remember how to get there.

Cool. Yeah. Maximum success here we are at green Creek, one of the best places for fall color in Eastern Sierra, Nevada, and Beck, just driving up the road to this Trailhead. I found an amazing hillside covered with aspens turning bright yellows. And I just had to stop for a quick shot. One of the reasons that I wanted to stop here because of these two bushes, you can see back here, you have this beautiful ill side, getting back lit by the mid day sun. And there are two dominant stripes of fall color on the hillside. Then you also have those two bushes down here below the conifers. And what I’d like to do is line those two bushes up with those dominant stripes of color. And this is a fantastic lesson that you should take away in your photography is being an active participant in the scene.

If I shoot that photo from right here, it looks something like this. You can see that misalignment, but you can position the elements in your frame, even though you can’t physically move those bushes or that hillside, you can adjust your relationship to them. So instead of shooting at it from this angle, if I walk over here a little bit more, even just that small adjustment to my position is going to create a much better alignment between those elements in the photo. And as much as I enjoy this photo and still left with that burning question, how do I bring something new to fall color so that it stays interesting and exciting for me. And actually I have an approach that I use for this exact kind of situation. It’s really simplistic, but it’s very powerful. And it’s simply, I do the opposite of whatever I have been doing. So if I’m super bored of shooting Whiting of photos, I only shoot with a telephoto lens. If I’m really tired of shooting horizontal photos, I shoot only vertical photos for awhile. It just helps get the creative juices flowing. And as I thought more and more about what exactly I can shake up with my fall color photography, I realized that I’m always shooting fall color from the grant. And I would love to have a different perspective. So today we’re going to shoot fall color from the sky.

This is going to be a huge challenge to actually launch a drone in this forest. It’s like threading a needle. These trees are so close together in the canopy. I don’t think it’s going to happen. We’re going to have to keep going.

Can we find an open spot? Oh man. That looks good.  And if you’re thinking, “Cripps it’s the middle of the day, it’s a pretty crappy time to be taking pictures. Don’t you think?” Well, actually love doing fall color photography in the middle of the day, especially when you’re shooting the leaves back lit by the sun. The colors absolutely explode onto your camera sensor. Now, whether or not that’s going to translate to the drone. We’re about to find out. 

It was a stunningly beautiful. Well, now I’d have to say that was a fantastic success, such a fun and cool and interesting way to get a brand new perspective on one of my favorite things to shoot the fall colors aspens here on the East side of California. Thank you guys. So very much for watching, I’m going to polish this video off with another photo or two. So until next time have fun and happy shooting.

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Landscape Photography on the John Muir Trail, Part 2: Darwin Bench to Lamarck Col

Landscape Photography on the John Muir Trail, Part 2: Darwin Bench to Lamarck Col

New days, make new man, as they say. And if they don’t say that they should, because today is a new day. I feel like a new man. It is incredible. What nine hours of sleep and a full belly will do for your recovery. Now we didn’t decide to continue on with our crazy plan to finish out evolution Valley evolution, basin Dusy basin, Bishop pass. It just would have been way too much, 60 mile days each day. So we’re sticking with plan B, which is the cruise up on the Darwin bench. Uber, what is it called? The Mark, which was the cruise up onto Darwin bench. And then tomorrow go over Lamar. Cool. Back down to North Lake, and I’m not going to bore you with the details of today’s hike. We basically slept in Ryan was able to repair his poles with some duct tape. We hiked through the forest and then climb climb, climbed up, reached a spur trail off the main JMT and kept climbing up here to Darwin bench, past innumerable, cascades, and wild flowers and beautiful vistas of all kinds. It wasn’t hard and I am tired, but we got our camp set up by one 30 and I was down for a nap like that. Now it’s already getting on towards sunset. So I’m going to move back down the Valley towards some incredible views of mountains with a river running right underneath them.

I hope you can hear me over the wind and the sound of that waterfall. I’m heading down to a place lower in the basin. Whereas I mentioned the Creek forms this big broad curve, and it looks out across the Valley to the far mountains beyond, but just coming down the Hill, I stumbled across this waterfall here, which I didn’t really pay as much attention to on the way up, probably because I was staring down at my feet, second desk. But what I love about this is the alignment between the water coming off of these cascades. And the mountain in the background was called Emerald peak. The way that I’m approaching this photograph, you can see, but there’s a lot of stuff going on. This is a very busy scene. It’s just a lot of stuff in the landscape. So I really need to simplify this as much as possible in order to make it an effective composition. So I’m going to really try to focus on just the waterfall, excluding all the extraneous stuff, just the mountain in the background, and then some sky for prints. [inaudible] It just keeps getting better and better. These are the nights of photography that you live for in the Sierra. Look at that sky. Look at those reflections. That’s the kind of night that makes you giddy to be a photographer.

Sometimes I have to admit the Sierra makes it almost too easy to be a photographer. So I got that incredible view. Looking back out over evolution Valley at the hermit at Emerald peak. And of course you had this wonderful Creek flowing out here, creating beautiful reflections and leading lines off into the distance. This is where I wanted to come to shoot the sunset. Now I’m going to roam around, try to find a composition that really speaks to me. All right. So here’s my first composition of the evening. And let me explain a little bit about what’s going on here. To me, this composition is all about symmetry. You’ve got this nice point in the mountain being echoed with the opposite shape here in the grass. And you have all the shapes of the rocks here in the foreground being echoed with the shapes of the clouds in the sky. So that’s why I’ve placed the mountain exactly in the middle of the frame with the horizon exactly. In the middle of the frame, because all of this symmetry, the mirroring between the elements down here and the elements up there

So for my second composition tonight, I’ve gone in much tighter, just on the mountains way out there that I really love that have that beautiful light splashing across their flank. So I actually zoomed in to 70 millimeters and then I stopped down to F 16 just to make sure I had enough depth of field. So I could get a really tight portrait of that mountain with the stream as a nice little leading line, going off into the distance. Now the light is just blowing up in every direction. So I’m going to put on the wide angle and I’m going to start shooting like a crazy person. Does it get much better than this? No. No, it doesn’t. Let me show you guys something. This is happening all the way around. Yeah. Oh yeah. That was ridiculous. That was just banger city. I don’t know how many keeper shots I got tonight, but it was at least more than zero and check it out. It is still just glowing. There’s color everywhere in this. This is one of those great glorious gifts from the gods of the Sierra Nevada. And I say to them, thank you.

Well, that’s going to call it quits for tonight. Time to grab some chicken Alfredo, head to bed. Good morning, everybody. See ya properly kitted up here for head until it’s not so much that it’s cold out here. It says that it’s windy and the wind has a bite. That wind well, it’s responsible for me having maybe not the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. But when I woke up this morning, I was treated to the rarest.

A record is getting a little bit too windy to record. I’ve got to head back to the tent. All right. That’s a lot better. As I was saying, when I woke up this morning, I was three to two that most rare of rear gyms here in the Sierra, a beautiful sunrise. There’s almost never cloud at sunrise here in the summertime. In the Sierra swore we had lovely pigs. There was even some true album blow up on the mountains, Just getting too windy to keep filming now.

So I had to jump forward and time about three hours to film this interlude. The sunrise was lovely, but it started to get cold and blustery. So headed back to camp, packed up, ate some breakfast. And then we had to Vamos time to get the F out of Dodge, kind of a grim joyless day. So far today, this the wind have 14, 1500 feet to go straight up. This shit pile. Holy crap, man. What a stout climb really fun. No, and I know as my eyes just won’t stop producing fluids, just dripping like crazy. It’s howling wind is howling like a wild cat up there. We just popped up out of the park. We’re here at Lamar cold, 13,000 feet. We’re looking out back to the Owens Valley here. Amazing view. Now we just got a bomb down five miles or so back to the car. Well, this seems like as good a place as any to end this video with our final view of Lamar Cole in the background. Thanks so much for watching. I hope you really enjoyed it. Enjoyed the photography. If you liked this video, please subscribe. Share it with your friends. All that kind of good stuff really helps me out. Here’s wishing you guys lots of wonderful adventures of your own until next time. Have fun, happy shooting.

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Landscape Photography on the John Muir Trail, Part 1: North Lake to Evolution Valley

Landscape Photography on the John Muir Trail, Part 1: North Lake to Evolution Valley

One of the cool things about making a blog is you can start it whenever you want. Today’s actually day two of this track. And yesterday day one, to be honest with you, it got off to a little bit of a Rocky start. First, we were stuck in road construction traffic for about two hours dropping off a car at our Southern trail head. And then we got stuck in thunder and hail and rainstorms on the way up to place called Paiute pass. So it took us a hot minute to actually get the trip going, but a new day is done and we were both incredibly stoked to be here because the trip that we’re doing, it’s one of the more famous multi-day treks here in the Sierra, partly because it passes through three incredibly beautiful high country basins, the Humphreys basin evolution basin, and Dusy basin. And I can’t wait to check them out at today’s starting off on a pretty bright note already. I walked out about a mile from camp to some wonderful Meadows and waterfalls that are overlooking the glacial divide. And even though there weren’t any clouds in the sky at all this morning, I still was able to get a couple of nice shots and I’ll show them to you here.

And by the time we arrived at our camp last night, it was basically already sunset, which meant we had just enough time to do a little bit of quick photography before slamming some food into our faces, jumping into our tents and going to sleep, which makes today the first full day of the Trek. And it’s going to be a long one. I think we have 20 or 22 miles to go to make it all the way up to evolution base. And so it’s still early. It’s only about six 45, which means it’s time to head back to camp, grab some breakfast, start getting some trail miles under our feet.

Well, the morning started off beautifully. We were having a lovely descent down from our campsite at Tomahawk Lake. When all of a sudden in the middle of the forest tragedy struck. So what, what happened uh, first morning? So first morning we’d get up early. She’d sent rise. Supersite to be out, pack up. Our camps are heading downhill and we’re doing this not very steep cross country, route down, kind of stick for foresty area with a lot of little pine cones. And I’m walking down like this and all of a sudden my feet about, and I’m on my poles. They bolt snap. It will you survive without any poles I would today, I would not have survived on the polls. Steep going up steep, going down my old man body. Well looking pretty solid chinks to be solid.

Well, all I got to say is I’m glad I’m wearing wicking underpants because the swag is definitely starting to form this marks, the end of our descent for the day, we’ve just come down about four hours of walking nine miles through pie Canyon. And we started in the high Alpine zone, the Sierra Tundra almost. And as we dropped lower scenery kept changing. We kept coming by the Creek, which grew larger and larger and larger. And the vegetation changed from Alpine conifers to aspens, to Manzanita, to Cedars, Jeffrey Pines, and the weather just kept getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Now it’s lunchtime, but after lunch, we cross this bridge and we start our climb back up to evolution Valley evolution basin about another 10 miles to go yet today in that direction, a couple of cruisy miles later, and we find ourselves here and what’s special about this place is that, that Valley up there, those gigantic Bluffs of rock in between them lies the entrance to one of the most fable, the most hallowed valleys in all of hiker dub a place.

So wondrous it’s rumored to be the most beautiful Valley on the John Muir trail. It’s the evolution Valley. Will it live up to the hype? I don’t know, but we’re about to climb up there and find out, well, we just passed our seven of actual hiking time today coming up on 14 miles, I have to admit I’m feeling a little fatigued, a little fatigued. We still haven’t even done half the track. We’ve only got two days left. So we really need to keep pushing and try to crank out another five, six miles, three hours of hiking today. 

We came to conquer, but we go for kind of defeated. So here’s what happened. We climbed up into the evolution Valley. It was a long, hot sloggy climb. Although we did pass some beautiful waterfalls and wonderful creeks and really is just a beautiful area, but we got to a place called McLaren meadow. We looked at each other and we realized that we were both wrecked done for the day. There’s no way we could carry on another five, six, seven miles up into upper evolution basin. So we basically did a 16 mile day today, plus whatever we hike this morning while doing photography. And that puts us approximately 25 miles into the walk, which means we still have 30 miles to go. So that’s a 15 mile day tomorrow and a 15 mile day, the next day and the way I’m feeling right now, I don’t think we’re really up for it. So what we’re going to do instead is take a little bit of a shortcut through the high country. We’re going to go up past a place called Darwin bench overload, Mark Cole, and back down to North Lake. It should shave about 20 miles off the trip, although we’ll still be out the same amount of days. And even though it means we won’t be able to get into upper evolution based on this trip, the nice thing is it means we can call it a day here in McClair meadow with incredible views in every direction.

Well, just about sunset time, add insult to injury, kind of bloody nose. I think the first time ever in the back country, who knows what that’s all about. Anyway, the conditions out here right now are really lovely. There’s almost no cloud in the sky, unfortunately, but there’s an incredible reflection here in the river. And there’s just the SURPI warm light, bathing all the mountains, looking up the Valley here. So here you can see the composition that I’ve got to set up. I got this little grassy guy breaking up the reflection over here. So there’s not just a pure reflection shot. And the continuity, the reflection over on this side to give the connection to the background and you can see how these two mountains are relatively balanced in the frame in terms of where the peaks are. So that’s something that I like to do a lot when I’m composing is just use a little bit of horizontal symmetry there. And in terms of settings, I’m shooting at about 26 millimeters and a barely far away from that little bank. So I think F 11 should be sufficient to give me enough depth of field there ISO 64 and a shutter speed of a 10th of a second.

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5 (Simple) Camera Tips In 5 Minutes To Help Your Landscape Photography

5 (Simple) Camera Tips In 5 Minutes To Help Your Landscape Photography

Greetings my excellent friends with Josh Cripps here. And in this video, I want to share with you five of my favorite, little quick camera tips and tricks that can help improve your landscape photography. We don’t get any time to waste, so let’s get into it. Let’s go!

We don’t have time for the intro. We’re going to do this thing as fast as possible. So I’m going to start the timer right now. We’re going to try to get through this in five minutes. No cuts, no edits, just frantic landscape photography, camera tricks, my favorites to help you improve your photography.

1)Exposure Delay Mode

So the first one I’m going to talk about is exposure, delay mode. And this is kind of like mirror up mode, except you don’t need a remote to do it. The camera does it automatically. It’s available on Nikons. I’m not actually sure about other camera brands. This is just a good reason for everybody to switch to an icon. Anyway, what it works is like this. So with the mirror delay mode or Mira boat, you hit a shutter button. Once the mirror comes up and that lets the vibrations from the camera die off and then you hit the button again and then it takes the picture.

So it removes any like hand pushing shake from your camera. What exposure delay mode is, is it takes out that second push. So you set a delay like up to three seconds. When you press the shutter button, the camera snaps the shutter up, it waits for three seconds. Then it takes a picture. So this is great. If you’re too lazy to carry a remote like me, or if you just don’t have one with you, but you still want the effects of that mirror up mode. So exposure delay use it. Don’t abuse it it’s awesome.

2)Back Button Focus

Okay, next one. We’re going to get into his back button focus. If you guys aren’t using back button focus, I 100% recommend setting it up. And this one, I know every single camera manufacturer does it. You’ll have to check how to do it with your brand, but you basically set it up so that this button back here is your focus and not your shutter button.

And this is incredibly important because a lot of times you want to be using, say like the central focal points in your, your camera. They’re the most accurate, they’re the fastest. But if you’re setting up a composition and you focus and then you re compose like this, and then you press the shutter button and that’s still where your focus is, your camera might change. Focus. If you’re set up a composition, you focused on a tree like this, and then you move a little bit and you focus in the middle of them inadvertently by pressing the shutter button. You don’t want that, right? You want your camera to focus once and to stick with that focus until you actively change it again. So by back button focusing, you can set that up. You focus on your subject. You can recomposed as much as you want. When you press the shutter button, the camera will not re focus. It’s fantastic for not screwing up your shots.

3)Live Preview Histogram

Okay? The next one I want to talk about is the exposure preview histogram. Almost every modern camera has this. Now it’s this little guy you can see right down here into display. And what that does is it shows you your exposure. Before you take a picture, it almost makes metering obsolete, because you can see exactly what your histogram, at least what the camera thinks the histogram is going to look like. And you always have to go back. And after you take the picture review the actual histogram, the playback histogram, but that live preview histogram is going to get you so close to a perfect exposure before you ever even tripped the shutter button. It’s incredible. Now I think this works best when you use it in tandem with the blinkies.

3a) The Blinkies (Highlight Warning)

So you want to go to your playback display options and turn on the highlight warning or whatever it’s called into your camera. The technical term definitely is the blinkies and that will just show any blown-out parts of your photograph. So, you know, whether your exposure is too bright in, on some cameras, you can also turn on a shadow clipping so that, you know, if your exposure is too dark. Now, here’s a really good question for you though. How do you know that this histogram is accurate? How do you know that it’s representing what the actual raw data is?

4) Neutral / Flat Picture Control

Well, the way that you do that is through what are called picture controls or picture style. Yeah. And for these, I highly recommend that you use the, the most neutral, the most flat one that you’ve got. So that’s going to be something like neutral or flat. Imagine that. Image that! Woah somehow little accents started to sneak in there to my voice. Anyway, what those picture controls do? So your camera records all this raw data, right?

And then depending on the picture control that you’ve applied, like landscape, vivid, portrait, et cetera, it’s going to add contrast saturation, sharpening to that image. And then it’s going to show you that transformed image that has those adjustments. That’s the image that you see when you press play on your camera. That’s also the histogram that the camera shows you. So how can you say that your rod or your histogram is accurate? If you’re actually looking at a modified version of the raw data, right? You’ve taken the raw data, you’ve added saturation contrast sharpening, and then it shows you the histogram for that. But what happens if you, if your photo is almost blown out, the raw data is almost blown out and then you have something like a landscape picture control that adds evan more contrast. It might stretch the histogram out. So the fact to the point that the highlights that the histogram is showing you are blown out, but they might not be blown out in the raw data.

It’s just that transformation. It’s just that adjustment that’s happening in the camera. So if we use the neutral or the flat picture control actually gives you the best idea of what the raw data actually is. And that’s fine because in the field, we’re not trying to actually take the best or the should say, we’re not trying to create the prettiest possible picture in the camera. What we’re trying to do is capture the best possible data and using that flat or neutral picture control gives you a more accurate idea of what that raw data is. Shoot.

5)Clean Your Image Sensor

Okay. Now the last one that I want to talk about is incredibly important to you guys. Don’t be a dummy like me and do things like before you go on some gigantic important photography trip, forget to clean your sensor, please. You guys clean your sensors, especially if you’re a mirrorless camera shooter, clean that thing all the time.

Every two weeks, every month at an absolute minimum, don’t be an idiot. Like I am and forget the cleanup for like six months at a time anyway. And if you’ve never done this yourself before, I know it’s intimidating, but it’s actually not that bad. It’s not that scary. Once you get into it, you just need a couple of tools. I recommend, you know, like this and a drill and you can’t forget the staple gun and no, I’m just kidding. Don’t need any of that stuff. What you need is a rocket blower. You need some swabs like this. You can order these on Amazon. I’ll put a link down below and he needs some sensor cleaning food. Like this stuff. You just put a couple of drops on this, not too much now, just the right amount. And then you put it at a 60-degree angle across your sensor.

I’m not gonna do it right now because I just cleaned it. And you just go swipe once, swipe back. That’s it. You’re done. Sensor is clean. It’s easy. It’s not that scary the scariest time, because the first time, but trust me, you guys clean your camera sensor, going to make your life so much better anyway, who were done? How do we do a six minutes? Crap. I didn’t make an under five, but I hope that you guys got a lot out of that. Anyway, those are five of my best, not five that’s 10. Those are five of my favorite camera, tips and tricks to improve your landscape photography. The guide enjoyed this video. I would love it. If you could subscribe to the channel like it, share with your friends, all that good stuff. It really helps me out a lot. And until next time have fun and happy shooting.

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Photographing Thunderstorms at Mono Lake (This Place is Weird!)

Photographing Thunderstorms at Mono Lake (This Place is Weird!)

Crap it’s hot. I mean, not here, not here in the mountains. It’s amazing. It’s like 75 degrees. That’s heaven. I’m talking about down in the valleys down there. It’s triple digits, baby. And know what happens when you get that kind of heat and you combine it with a little bit of moisture in the air. You get thunderstorms, which are my favorite conditions to shoot in because they’re just so dramatic and unpredictable. So I’m going to head on over to Mono Lake and I invite you to come along with me for the ride. I’m going to try to get some photos tonight of these thunderstorms. What do you think about that, Mr. Squirrel? Yeah, I think it’s a great idea too. Let’s go!

Pop it over to a part of the Lake where I’ve never been before. And the reason that I came here today is that I saw the potential for some interesting patterns. Looking out on Google satellite view will look like some really interesting landscapes from above some really fascinating patterns and cool rock formations and things like that. And I’m looking forward to getting out there to see what’s actually there. My main worry is that it’s going to be a boggy mess. And when I actually start stepping down through some of these grasses and marshlands, that I’m going to sink up to my knee or my thigh, but the only way to find out for sure is to actually just walk out there, Asian, the ground wasn’t wet in the slightest, easy walkout. And now I find myself in this bizarro landscape. It almost looks like a giant dinosaur crash as it, these were all nests and eggs from some huge prehistoric colony of beasts. Time to get out in there and see what it’s actually like.

I’ve just had a nice wee little walk around and I have to say, this is one of the coolest weirdest places that I have yet uncovered here in mono Lake. If you’ve ever been to death Valley, if you’ve heard of a place called cotton ball basin, this is cotton ball basin, except here at mono Lake with the mountainous Sierra towering above it. It’s got the same salt and mud patterns. It’s got the same cracks in the soil. It’s got the same cookie dough consistency to the ground. So I’m trying to be really careful about where I walk. And there’s actually, it’s a little friendlies. We’re wondering what the heck am I doing here with these amazing patterns and textures? This place is a seascape photographers, dreamland, but for me today with a sky like this and foregrounds like these, I can’t help, but get out here with my ultra wide lands. So I’ve got my Nikon 14 to 30 lands here on [inaudible] and I’m roaming around looking for those in your face, smack you in the eyeballs bore grounds. There’s some pretty sweet little mud cracks right here. That’ll definitely do in a pinch for a quick grab shot. And since there’s still over an hour until the sunset, I just want to roam around and see what kinds of different compositions I can come across.

Now we are at a Lake shore, so it makes perfect sense that the part of I get towards the Lake, there’s going to be water, but what’s really unusual about this place is there’s not a clearly defined shoreline. It’s more like the mud simply transforms into water. Gradually as you get farther and farther toward the Lake, she had these amazing pools and channels running in between all these rocks and the best part is it smells terrible. It’s like a seal colony mixed with a decaying whale blubber factory. So just tops, Oh, that stench could choke a starving Wolverine. So as interesting as it is out here, there’s too much wind to allow any reflections to form the water. And it’s clear to me that the best compositions are back on dry land, where those patterns intersect and a little bit more coherent way. So I’m going to head back there and get ready for sunset.

All right. Check this out. So on the way back here, I found this perfect little S-curve and I set up a quick little composition with my wide angle lens. And a couple of things really caught my eye about the same, obviously the beautiful leading line going off to those clouds in the distance. But I really loved the way that those two Rocky mountains, when you position yourself just right, you can get the tips of both of those reflected nicely in the S-curve. So that’s what I’m going for with my composition right here on the wide angle lens. And I’ll show you that photo right now.

Oh, it happened, but the wind has died. So it’s time to actually go back out towards the water and explore some of those reflections a little bit more. Cause the sky is incredible right now. Come on, look at that. Are you kidding me? This is incredible. What’s really incredible about this scene is the way that the sunlight is striking the tufa. And yet the water’s reflecting the darker clouds up in the sky. Those warm and cool tones are just clashing against each other, making this amazing scene. And these little guys, these little islands, they look like they’re just floating in the sky. So I’m going to grab my mid range lens here, my 24 to 70. And I’m going to zoom in on some of those little twofer reflections.

This is just too much, but now are these photos going to win any photography awards pick? Yeah, they are. They’re going to win the Josh Cripps. I’m having a great time being out here and shooting photos award, and that’s all that really matters. You should just be out having fun, enjoying photography, exploring the world and doing it in a place that smells horrifically bad. It’s like a rotting sheep carcass being pooped out of another larger rotting sheep. Oh man, it just keeps getting better and better out here. You get these amazing anti corpuscular rays happening over here. There’s this bonkers thunderstorm light happening over here. This is one of those nights where you could literally shoot in any direction, except maybe that way. So I’m going to let that be my cue to put a pin in this video and get down to some photography. Thank you guys as always for watching. I really appreciate it. If you enjoy the video, please give it some YouTube love really helps me grow the channel and make more videos like this.

I’ll end this video with a couple of photos from tonight and until next time! Have fun and happy shooting.

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