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Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Morning's Golden Light on Delicate Arch Moab UtahAlex, Theresa, and I started our hike to Delicate Arch at 4:10am and got to the Arch in 42 minutes with only head-lamps for light. There was only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived. We met the two guys that it belonged to on their way down.

The trail-head to Delicate Arch is right off the parking lot at Wolfe Ranch inside of Arches National Park. The elevation gain is about 500 ft up rough and steep terrain. Length of the hike is 3 miles round trip.  Most the trail you’re hiking on giant slabs of sandstone. The trail is marked by cairns, but some are widely spaced so, if not carefully looking for them you can miss one.Theresa and I missed one on our first hike up to Delicate Arch back in 2010  we ended up about quarter of mile off course and had to back-track to find the trail.

The last bit of the climb is along the side of sandstone fin. There are several steps and a path that was carved out of the stone that wind their way up to the Arch. This part of the path is fairly narrow and has no cable or guard rail- If you fall you could be toast.

Here’s an image Theresa took of us hiking down that part of the trail. That’s Alex, with me in the lead, and Theresa’s shadow on the sandstone wall. Thank you T for giving me a copy of this image! xx

Image by Theresa Johnson. Used with Permission

Image by © 2014 Theresa Johnson. Used with Permission

There was no one else up at the Arch when we got there, but it wasn’t too long before other hikers were coming up the trail, and by 6AM there was quite a crowd, and it was getting warm already. We stayed up through Golden Hour and when the light went flat we packed up and hiked down, starving and ready for breakfast then a nap.

More to come…

NIkon D700| AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8| Tripod

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Portal to the StarsI had a fun week-end in Moab, Utah with friends Alex and Theresa chasing the stars. Our goal was to shoot the Milky Way at Corona Arch, but the first night was really cloudy so we went to Dead horse Point in Canyonlands State Park for sunset. We didn’t have much color, but the clouds were dramatic.

Sunset Deadhorse Point Canyonlands State Park, UtahSaturday morning my alarm went off at 3 A.M. I snoozed for a few minutes then got up, dressed then the 3 of us left the hotel and  were at the Trail head to Delicate Arch at 4:10 A.M. It’s a 1.5 mile hike up to Delicate Arch with a 500 ft elevation gain. It took us 42 minutes to ascend to Delicate Arch in the dark. (we had head-lamps)
Civil Twilight at Delicate Arch

Not much color this morning facing this direction: South-southeast, but still pretty. While waiting for Golden Hour we met Adonis Farray who is from Canada. We all hiked down together then parted ways. Starving we headed to Moab for breakfast. We went to the Jailhouse Cafe and had just put in our order when in walked Adonis! We invited him to our table. Over the course of our conversation we discovered he hadn’t ever shot the Milky Way so of course we invited him to join us if he had the time. He altered his plans and stayed another day in Moab in order to join us. He will tell you I held a gun to his head. :) It didn’t take too much arm twisting to convince him it was worth a second hike up to Corona Arch.

After breakfast we all headed back to our hotel rooms to take a nap, and prepare for our upcoming night shoot. I woke up before my alarm and so did Theresa so we went for a quick swim at the pool then went back  to shower, and meet Alex for dinner before heading up to the Corona Arch trail-head where we would meet Adonis.

We started the hike up to Corona Arch about 7  P.M. The outside/ambient temperature was 101 degrees. You start climbing straight-away up a dirt and rocky path which soon levels out  for a short distance then it meanders up through a canyon; you cross one set of railroad tracks then continue up the path. Soon the path gives way to sandstone and red rock. You hike across a steep rock with a well-worn path in places and no trail at all in other places, but it is marked along the way with cairns, there’s a part of the rock that slopes so you’re walking on an angle but there’s cable to hold on to which helps. Then you begin to climb up the canyon wall following the cairns.
Not too long after you leave the cable behind you come to another cable that helps you climb a much steeper, but short rock. There are shallow foot holes cut into the rock face that make the 15 foot climb much easier. I took this image of the cable back in Feb. with my iPhone. That boy about 10 yrs old ran up the rock opposite the cables- too impatient to wait for us to go up then he waited for his parents at the top.

Cable on the trail to Corona ArchWith that challenge behind us we continued on a short distance only to meet with another steep rock to climb, but a ladder is there to help you up, or you can hike up and around it which is what I did this trip. This image of the Ladder I took back in Feb. with my iPhone

Ladder on the trail to Corona ArchBy now you are hundreds of feet high above the canyon floor hiking across the canyon wall on a huge slip rock ridge with a gentle uphill slope that leads you right to the Arch.
The 1.5 mile hike up to the Arch is packed with fun and challenging terrain. Here’s how the Arch looked when we got up to it. Taken with my iPhone 5

Corona Arch iphone imageAlex had checked our calculations for the night shoot before we left the hotel using Stelliarum so we had a pretty good idea of where the Milky Way was going to rise. We set up and waited for it to get dark enough to see it.
The temperature started cooling off about 9 P.M. and by 9:30 P.M. it was dark enough to see more and more stars shining bright against the darkening sky.

Theresa brought along a strong flashlight for light-painting. While we were making images of the Arch in the Blue Hour with Theresa light-painting it she stopped and said, “I hear rustling in someone’s back pack. Like animal critter kind of rustling noises.” We all stopped what we were doing to investigate. Turning the light beam over to the pack Theresa saw a mouse in Adonis’ pack! Adonis had left it open and the mouse was trying to get his trail mix. The light beam, and Adonis poking his pack scared the mouse who came running out of the pack and straight into one of the holes in the rock behind us, but he came out of that hole just as fast with angry wasps on his tail! We discovered earlier that all the holes in the rock behind us were filled with wasp nests. We were set up in front of them, but far enough away not to disturb the wasps. The mouse got away up and over the rock and thankfully we didn’t see it or the wasps again.

We hoped we would have breaks in the clouds giving us some kind of view of the Milky Way and we got lucky! Adonis said he’d put in the order with the weather Gods. :) We shot for a couple of hours then we packed up, and with head-lamps lighting the way we started to make our way down from Corona Arch.  With our lamps on the white light we were assaulted by little gnat like bugs. Yuk!

Our Theresa got a touch of sun exhaustion and didn’t feel good at the start of the decent. Thankfully she was able to hike down without difficulty- she was tired, hot, nauseous, had a head-ache, and thirsty despite drinking 64 ounces water that day. By the time our plane landed late Sunday afternoon she was looking and feeling much better.

Our day for the Milky Way shoot started Saturday July 26th at 3 A.M. and ended when I went to bed on Sunday July 27th at 1 A.M.  We got a lot of hiking in. 8.2miles total, and I had a lot of fun with dear friends, and  new friend from Canada Adonis.

More to come…

Unless noted- All images taken with a Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunset at San Jose City Hall RotundaAlex and I met downtown at City Hall early enough to catch any evening color, and we hoped there might be some because there were clouds on this evening. We called it right, but missed the best color. That was behind us further North. After this we passed the time taking images of the Rotunda, and Tower as the light faded, changing our angles and views while waiting for the Moon to rise.

Plus one more from my little hike earlier in the week-taken with my Lensbaby Composer Pro w/Double Glass & macro converters

Not quite ready for the vintner
I won’t be on the internet too much beginning tomorrow I’m spending a long week-end of imaging with a couple of friends. I hope you all have a great week-end!

Image at the top| Nikon D700| AF-S 24-70mmGTripod

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Bridge to the StarsThis image of the Milky Way is one I made several weeks back while on a camping trip with friends in Stanislaus National Forest in Northeastern CA. USA.
While imaging the sky I saw several shooting stars, and hoped I’d capture some on film. I got lucky and got one in this frame. You see it streaking down in the upper left of the frame.
The Bootes Meteor Shower was happening on this night, but don’t think this is one of those. This is coming from the wrong direction.

It was a gorgeous night, and the sky was gorgeous filled with so many stars.

Nikon D700| AF-S 17-35mm @ f2.8| 20sec| ISO 5000| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Tripod

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

UnfoldingI went on quick walk about in the neighborhood this morning with the Lensbaby Composer Pro and Macro converters, but didn’t stay out long because the wind picked up making it really hard to shoot the flowers.

This Bud didn’t take much post development. In ACR I used the lens correction filter, camera color settings filter, and moved it to CS6 to Nik Suite’s Viveza 2 where I applied some structure to the center of the rose and inside pedal then added a darken vignette around the edge of the image using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4.  That’s it! Obtaining the dreamy look is just about effortless with this lens. I love that!

I also bought the Soft Focus Optic that I hope to get to play with today.

Nikon D700} LensBaby Composer Pro w/Double Glass Optic w/16mm and 8mm macro converters| f2.8| ISO 400| Hand-held

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I recently sold a lens I no longer use because I upgraded it to a better version. I put the money in the bank, then promptly

purchased a LensBaby Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic, and optional macro converter set.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but I think I’ll get the hang of it with a little more practice.

These images are the first in what I hope will be a long love affair with this little lens.

This is my Hydrangea. I love this plant.  It’s taken a long time to get to this size. We’re having the front yard and driveway redone and I’ve been asked by every contractor if I wanted to remove it and pave over the area. I’ve replied, “No, it stays!” every time they ask.

I took this image with the LensBaby Composer with Double Glass Optic at f4

HydrangeaThis is closer look with the Double Glass Optic and 16mm and 8mm macro converters attached @f2.8

HydrangeaWhite Oleander- LensBaby Composer with Double Glass Optic and Macro Converters @ f2.8

White OleanderWhite Oleander- LensBaby Composer with Double Glass Optic and Macro Converters @ f2.8

White OleanderI am looking forward to having some free time to wander around the neighborhood looking for flowers to

photograph with the lens. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to play with.

Nikon D700| Lexar Professional Digital Film| Hand-held

 

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Ring-necked Pheasant MaleThis one is from my Archives. I made this image in late May this year.  This was a really neat and thrilling experience seeing this male Pheasant. I see them so rarely, and most the time they’re on the run the instant they spot me. This male was so busy eating, and I think used to people being around so, he didn’t pay much attention to my presence or the sound of my clicking shutter button.

I really liked the light on his back and face.

Nikon D3oos| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4| Hand-held

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