Willis Canyon

Willis Canyon

Second shot from in Willis Canyon, taken about 5 hours later and showing off the fun subjective portion of photography.  It’s the same place as the previous picture, and the color balance of both looks “right” to me.  This one was taken late in the evening, so the yellow sunset light was not hitting the canyon as much.  It actually has some correction to boost the red / yellow, where as the previous picture was taken in early afternoon and got the opposite treatment, having some of the orange / red hue removed afterward.  Both were shot in Canon raw format, so when I refer to making adjustments afterward, it’s really just the same thing your camera would do at the moment of taking the picture if you were recording a jpeg.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 72mm, f/8, 0.4 sec, ISO 100

Willis Canyon

Willis Canyon

I was all excited to post a few more pictures of the slot canyons in Grand Staircase Escalante, but as it turns out, I have already posted what I thought were the best shots back here.  None the less here’s one more… this is Willis Canyon.  It wasn’t a major attraction like some others – though the parking lot was apparently a place for locals to come set up awnings and picnic.  Cool to tromp through, though just a trickle of water when we were there.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 17mm, f/16, 1/13 sec, ISO 200

Future Arches

Arches Fins

A shot out past the horn on one of the fins with some people on top for scale.  I don’t remember the geological details, but these fins come into existence when the softer rock erodes from between them and then arches come into existence when there happens to be softer rock lower in a fin that erodes leaving the arch.

I’m not a fan of heights, and even though there’s literally room to fall over and not slide off the edge out there, that was not a place I was going.

Picture taken with Canon PowerShot SX130, lens at 10.372mm* (57mm equiv), f/4.0, 1/640 sec shutter, ISO 80

* Yes, this camera records three decimal palaces.  From this we can conclude one of two things:  My $200 camera has focal length detection down to 1/65535th of it’s range, or someone at Canon did not have Mr. Paladino teach them all about significant digits.  My money’s on the latter.

Cinque Terre – Vernazza

Cinque Terre - Vernazza

Toward the end of the first hike, we descended into the town of Vernazza allowing the vantage point for this picture.  Vernazza is the second town in Cinque Terre (when heading South).

I have probably a dozen pictures from the five towns that I really like.  I think that the colors really came out well.  I think this was mainly thanks to the Italians of Cinque Terre and their penchant for richly colored buildings and a leaning toward the red end of the spectrum, providing nice contrast with the green-blue of the sea.  The overcast day helped out too, I’m sure, keeping the sun from washing out the colors.

In reality, yesterday’s picture was just to set the stage for this one as I think it is one of my favorites from the day.

Pictures taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 14mm, f/16, 1/80, 1/40, 1/20 sec shutters, ISO 100

Cinque Terre – Monterosso

Cinque Terre - Monterosso

This is a portion of the town of Monterosso, the Northern most town in Cinque Terre, a set of five towns on the Eastern coat of Italy.  The previous afternoon had been rainy and we canned our plans to hike down into one of the towns (blind, as in no hotel reservations) and instead stayed nearby in LaSpezia.  The day of the hike was nasty looking for much of the day, but we never got rained on.

There are two longer hikes (of four) which are the first two when traveling south.  You can see the trail heading out of town on the right.  It doesn’t stay that well established for long and it gains a lot of elevation relative to the towns which are all effectively at sea level.  If I had to guess, I’d say we got to about the elevation of the bridge that is seen in the upper left, although on the other side of that ridge.

I think this is a better picture than yesterday’s, so I feel I’ve kept my promise.

Pictures taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 17-85mm lens @ 17mm, f/4.0, 1/500 sec shutter, ISO 100

Mt. Etna Foothills

Mt. Etna Foothills

Part of our Mt. Etna excursion was getting to hike around on the foothills & lava flows from the volcano.  This picture does a decent job of capturing the landscape that we were hiking around in and showing the volcanic ground.  I have a few others showing everything from the fine ash which was everywhere after the recent eruption to the larger lava rocks that covered expanses of the landscape.  This one gives a decent idea how vegetation had recovered (not since the most recent eruption, but previous) – you can see trees spotting the landscape and maybe hints of some areas of more complete cover.

Tomorrow’s picture will be better, I promise (I’ll steal it from the internet if I have to).  This is not the original shot I had intended to use.  The one I liked was better framed, but I have a suspicion that I left the camera in manual focus because there was nothing in the frame that seemed truly sharp.  Conveniently, the pictures were taken at otherwise identical settings, so I don’t have to edit the photo info line.

Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 10mm, f/7.1, 1/125 sec shutter, ISO 100

Tetons & Yellowstone – Badlands National Park

On the up-side, the campground in the Badlands had showers.  On the down-side, they were cold.  We did a variety of shorter trails on the second day.

Cliff Shelf Trail – a shorter loop following a boardwalk through juniper trees with a geologic slump.

Door Trail – a three quarter mile trail down a boardwalk through a break in the formations (the door) and out into the unmaintained area.

Window Trail – a quarter mile trail to a window overlooking where we had just been on the Door Trail.

Notch Trail – this was the longest trail of the day through a canyon, up a log ladder and along a ridge to an overlook of the White River Valley.  This was the most interesting hike, walking along a canyon ridge.

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Tetons & Yellowstone – Badlands National Park

Well, the title of this post is dumb because I’ve been referring to the trip as the Tetons & Yellowstone even though it also included the South Dakota Badlands.  The Badlands was kind of an add-on, somewhere to stop on the drive if we had time.  We weren’t exactly sure what to expect or how long we were going to want to stay in the badlands.

Mt. Rushmore

Our first stop was on the way to the Badlands in the Black Hills at Mount Rushmore.

While Mt. Rushmore might be an impressive National Monument, the general area is a complete tourist trap.  Keystone is a small town just outside Mt. Rushmore which resembles a year round carnival, kind of like Pigeon Forge, TN.  We drove through Keystone and continued up toward Mt. Rushmore.  There were occasional vehicles pulled over on the side of the road, which we found odd, given that we were less than a mile from the actual entrance.

Turns out, although the National Monument access is free, parking is privately run and cost $11, park passes not accepted.  Between that and a general distaste for the tourist trap we had just driven through, we decided not to pay, dubbed the entire place Mt. Shmushmore, turned around and just took some pictures from the road around the area.

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Tetons & Yellowstone – Mt. Washburn

We woke up and took some time to pack up camp as this was move-out day.  We were basically just going to head out the Northeast entrance to the park stopping for whatever we found along the way.

First find, ignoring the road side bison that we shot some pics of along the way, was a pile of people in one of the pull-offs  (#7) watching a black bear who was foraging and (briefly) taking a swim in the river.  We stayed there taking pictures for a little while.  It was amazing how much camera equipment was on the ridge.  I felt very under-cameraed… but most of these people were shooting pictures with the hopes of selling them.

Black Bear

Second stop was to see another black bear – this one cinnamon colored.  We didn’t get nearly as good of views of this one as it was back in the woods a bit.

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Tetons & Yellowstone – Yellowstone Falls

We started out the day with the plan to go see Yellowstone Falls and Artist’s Point (#3).  The ranger told us that there was 6ft of snow on the trail, but we figured he was just being cautious and we’d go regardless, like we had in the Tetons.

On our way to the Falls, we stopped to watch a coyote hunting in the field and got to see it successfully catch a gopher (or something similar) for breakfast.  It kept hunting for a while, but we did not get to witness a second successful kill.


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