Bryce National Park

Ron Niebrugge Photos, Travel, Utah 12 Comments

Winter sunrise, Bryce National Park, Utah.

Winter sunrise, Bryce National Park, Utah.

I just realized I have never shared any photos of Bryce National Park – as my visits there predated my blog.  That is a shame – walking up to the rim and looking down into Bryce for the first time is an amazing experience not unlike the first visit to the Grand Canyon.

This was back in 2004 and we were actually in Southern California when news reports predicted  a large winter storm would soon hit the West.  We got up early and drove straight to Bryce barely beating the storm and successfully getting snowed in for two days.  It was beautiful having such a National Park virtually entirely to ourselves with a fresh foot of snow!  But, it was cold for camping with temps in the single digits – still, totally worth it!

This winter I hope to do the same thing with Yosemite.

Over the next two weeks I don’t think I will do much posting here on the blog since since this is such a busy time of year for everyone.  I’ll pick up the pace again after the start of the New Year.

No Southwest this Fall

Ron Niebrugge Photos, Travel, Utah 13 Comments

Coloardo River, near Moab, Uath.

Colorado River, near Moab, Utah.

Well, the plan for today was to pick up our RV trailer in Southern California and to begin driving toward Nevada / Utah for a few weeks of photography.  But, on Monday we cancelled our airline reservations so that we could spend more time getting caught up in the office.

Before I go any further – don’t feel sorry for us, we do still plan on flying to Hawaii for a few weeks later this month.  We have had numerous photo request for Hawaii images over the years, and have never photographed that beautiful state, so it will be fun filling this void in our coverage!

But, it is still weird not heading somewhere in the Western U.S.  I think for at least 12 years or more, we have always gone somewhere out West during September / October, whether is was Yellowstone, Moab or Zion.  Frankly, this is such a wonderful time of year down there – and the perfect weather is a nice escape from the rain we tend to receive here in Alaska this time of year.

But, our business continues to evolve as we diversify.  Part of the diversification is into video – 3D and straight HD.  In fact, a major motion agency, Corbis has agreed to market my HD clips, and two other video agencies have agreed to market my 3D clips.  Getting up to speed on video has been some learning process and taken a bit longer then I expected.  I must admit, I have really enjoyed the new challenge, and the creative options offered with video have been enlightening to say the least.  So getting my new footage off to these agencies has now become a priority, along with getting our new stills from this summer off to market – this seemed more important then capturing more images right now.

So, for the next month expect more Alaska images here on the blog – and maybe I’ll have time to get back to writing some more in-depth posts.  Then, start watching for some Hawaii coverage – that should be some contrast!

White Rim Trail

Ron Niebrugge Moab, Photos, Travel, Utah 9 Comments

Our campsite on the White Rim Trail last Fall, Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah.

Our campsite on the White Rim Trail last Fall, Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah.

When we were looking to do the White Rim Trail last Fall, I had trouble finding good information on the different campgrounds along the trail, or other useful information.  So when we were doing the trail, I tried to take photos of the different campsites along the way, and Janine took that information and prepared what I think it an informative article that could be helpful to other photographers and visitors.  You can find that article here:  White Rim Trail

Zion Adventure Guide

Ron Niebrugge Photos, Shameless Self Promotion, Travel, Utah, Zion National Park 12 Comments

Zion Adventure Guide

Zion Adventure Guide

We haven’t had any cool covers to share lately, but this one is!  This was produced by the Zion Natural History Association.

You might recognize Janine out front trying to look relaxed (it was a long ways down) on the amazing Hidden Canyon Trail.  Parts of this trail are literally carved into the side of the cliffs with just a chain bolted to the wall for support – notice the four people in the background.  It is pretty cool the Park Service even allows a trail like this.

But Zion has lots of awesome trails like this.  The Angel’s Landing Trail climbs way above the valley floor and then traverses along a narrow, very exposed ridge, with again, just a chain for protection.  Or the Zion Narrows hike which leads up a narrow canyon with 1,500 foot high walls and just enough room in the bottom for a river.  The Subway is another amazing hike – after flipping through this book I’m thinking we might just have to add Zion into our Fall travels!

This looks like a great book – lots of photos, maps and charts to go along with the wealth of information.  I don’t see it on  Amazon have a feeling this book is only available in the Zion National Park Visitor Center, but it is definitely worth picking up.

Arches iFotoGuide App

Ron Niebrugge Equipment, Miscellaneous, Moab, Utah 3 Comments

Arches Photography guide application for iPhone and iTouch.

Arches Photography guide application for iPhone and iTouch.

Well I must admit I am a reference material junkie!  I have shelves and shelves of books – guide books to National Parks, birds and animals, plants and wildflowers, animal tracks, geology…  The list goes on and on.  Not only do I have a bunch of book here, but I also keep many more in our trailer, and we usually send a box back and forth depending where we are traveling.  Unfortunately, they take up a ton of space and weight.

I also have to admit that I’m hooked on apps for my iTouch / iPhone – I have an iTouch.  Maps, weather, depth of field calculators, even Northern Light predictions all on this tiny device, it is amazing!

So, when I heard that a couple of friends, Dan Baumbach and Bret Edge had created an Arches National Park Photography Guide iPhone application, well I thought that was ingenious!  What a great idea – I could easily travel with all this information right in my shirt pocket!  A perfect marriage of information and technology.

Dan recently provided me a copy to review, and I gotta admit I love the product!  This application actually has a lot of advantages over a hard copy book because it is able to link to current information in real time such as weather forecasts, along with providing links to websites for local restaurants, hotels and campground – what a great resource!

The app is also packed with all kinds of useful information on Arches National Park, information useful to photographers such sunrise and sunset times along with an interactive map and information on backpacking, wildlife and wildflowers.  But the real meat to the application is the information on the different photo locations within Arches.  This information includes photos, maps, descriptions on how to get to the location, even the GPS coordinates.

It just so happens that I have spent a fair amount of time in Arches over the last two years, and have been to all the locations described in the app, and found the information accurate and concise.

The application cost $4.95 – much cheaper then most printed guides, and more valuable.  They have many more iFotoGuides planned for the future.

How to avoid lens flare

Ron Niebrugge Moab, Photos, Travel, Utah 30 Comments

When photographing directly into the sun, especially with zoom lenses, it seems like lens flare is almost impossible to avoid.  I thought I would share a little trick that I have used for the last few years for eliminating flare.

I capture two images, one that includes the sun and flare, and one where I block the sun and eliminate the flare as you  can see above.  I then combine the two images using photomerge in Photoshop  keeping most of the image on the right except for the portion of the image where you see my fingers.  Here is the end result:

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.

It is important that both images are of the same exposure – I make sure I’m working in manual mode because your camera’s meter is going to come up with two very different exposures for these two scenes.  And of course a tripod so that the two images contain identical compositions is imperative.

I used to stand in front of my camera and block the sun with a lens cap.  The lens cap made a perfectly round shadow that I could then position just barely over the front of the lens.  When it comes to your eyes, I’m sure this is the safest way of doing it, but it does take more work in Photoshop.  Lately, I have been looking through the camera with my hand out in front until it is positioned to block the sun – I wonder what passerby’s must be thinking as they see me doing this – is he really photographing his fingers in front of that pretty arch?  🙂