Lori Carey Photography

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lower Colorado River at Picacho

The lower Colorado River along Indian Pass in the Picacho State Recreation Area, California

After a day spent exploring the desert environs of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains and Indian Pass Wilderness, we took the amazingly beautiful Indian Pass Trail into Picacho SRA and reached the lower Colorado River just as the afternoon light was starting to turn to gold. What an incredible feeling to reach cool running water after a long day in the desert!

We camped along the banks of the Colorado and made it to Taylor Lake before sunrise before heading out. I just started processing the photos from this trip and have more to come...but I'm headed out on the trail again so I need to do some serious catch-up work when I get back.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the really cool couple we met in Gavilon Wash coming the opposite way in their jeep pulling an adventure trailer. Bill wanted to talk to them about how the trailer handled and we ended up talking about the jeeping life and exchanging trail condition reports for well over an hour (which put us a little behind schedule haha). They told us that they were supposed to be headed to Arizona (this was Thanksgiving weekend) but saw this trail and decided to see where it went, and their family had no idea where they were. After we went our separate ways Bill and I turned to each other and said that will be us in ten years, still doing what we love to do.

Indian Pass Trail is one of the prettiest trails I've done so far here in California and Picacho SRA has become one of my favorite places. The trail passes through a sacred Indian Site before heading down into Gavilon Wash. It is a hidden gem with amazing rock formations including arches, wild burros and desert bighorn, thousands of migratory waterfowl and several remote campsites along the banks of the river (as well as the main hosted campground accessible by a 25 mile long graded dirt road). The best part is that most of it (the prettiest part) is only accessible via 4WD (or boat for the boat-in sites). Unfortunately this park is slated for closure in the spring of 2012 due to California budget cuts. I'll be leading a trek out there in a month or so, let me know if you're interested in seeing this beautiful park before it's closed.

I'm really enjoying the photography community on Google+ and posting for the weekly themes has helped me get back on track with posting but right now my blog posts are pretty much duplicates of my G+ posts, with just a little more info, so apologies to anyone who sees both. Now that I'm getting the hang of things over there I'm going to work on doing a better job of making them compliment rather than duplicate each other.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


An inuksuk, more specifically an inunnguaq, stone cairn in the shape of a man in the Alabama Hills of California

I did a scouting trip to the Alabama Hills a few weeks back and challenged myself to stay away from the iconic images of Mt. Whitney and the Sierras viewed through the three or four arches that seem get all the attention from photographers. My resolve was strengthened when I saw all of the people and vehicles at the parking locations for the popular spots. Staying away from the iconic shots and finding a fresh and interesting point of view is tough, very tough, but more and more lately I just don't feel like photographing the things that everyone and their mother and sister and brother photograph and I'd rather come home with nothing than something that's already been done a million times.

While all the other photographers crowded around to shoot the same few arches that everyone always shoots, I set off to find my own point of view. I went exploring with a hand-drawn map in hand that I was fortunate to track down while trip planning which showed 100+ arches and other points of interest, and this little guy helped show me the way.

He's an inuksuk, more specifically an inunnguaq, a stone cairn in the shape of a man. They were used by the Inuit to communicate, marking the locations of trails, caches of food or important hunting grounds. They are among the oldest and most important objects placed by humans upon the vast Arctic landscape and have become a familiar symbol of the Inuit and of their homeland. You may recognize it as the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I think he was a bit lost in the desert terrain of the Alabama Hills, perhaps on his way to more familiar terrain of the High Sierras, but he sure brought a smile to this traveler's face.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It is good to know the truth...

Canary Island Date Palm silhouetted against a sunset sky

...but it is better to speak of palm trees. ~ Arab Proverb

This one is for my husband who insisted that I needed to take this shot. Christmas Eve he joined me for an evening of shooting on the grounds of the Montage in Laguna Beach and while I was working a different scene he wandered off to do a little scouting. As the last light was just about to fade away and I started to pack up he called me over saying that I needed to come see this. Canary Island Date Palms are his favorite tree and he loved the twilight colors and the symbolism of the lone star in the sky on Christmas Eve.

The tungsten white balance I was using to shoot the Christmas lights made the twilight sky a beautifully dramatic blue. Because the sun had already been down for over half an hour at this point, the exposure was long enough to capture the movement of the star (20 seconds), but when I looked at it in post to try to decide if I wanted to try to fix it, I saw that there's a perfect little starburst around the oval shape of the star so I decided to leave it for now.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Predawn Lunar Eclipse December 10

August 28, 2007 full lunar eclipse as seen from San Juan Capistrano, California, USA.

I can't believe it's been more than four years since I could photograph a complete lunar eclipse, and this image was my very first attempt. Full lunar eclipses visible from North America don't happen often. I couldn't photograph the lunar eclipse last December because I had heavy cloud cover, and the one this weekend won't be ideal for most the country because it occurs after or just before sunrise in North America. Even here on the west coast totality won't be reached until right before sunrise (totality will be greatest at 6:32am and sunrise will be at 6:44am) which means the sky will already be light, so it will be interesting to see. Unfortunately we won't be able to photograph the entire eclipse through the last partial stages.

You can check the times of the stages of the eclipse in your time zone at EarthSky.

If you've never photographed a lunar eclipse before and plan to give this one a try (or if you've tried before and had problems with exposure), read my previous blog post Tips for Photographing a Lunar Eclipse for some tips on proper exposure.

The next total eclipse visible in North America won't be until April 2014 (there will be a partial eclipse in June 2012).

Feel free to share links to your shots here, would love to see how other photographers handle the approaching daylight in their shots.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guard tower at Manzanar National Historic Site in Independence, California. There were originally 8 guard towers around the perimeter of the Manzanar War Relocation Center, staffed by Military Police with submachine guns. The National Park Service rebuilt this one in 2005.

‎Today I'm remembering the men and women who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago and reflecting on the sacrifices that led to the freedom we now experience.

A few weeks ago while shooting in the Eastern Sierras I made some time to visit the Manzanar National Historic Site, one of ten camps where Japanese Americans were imprisoned during WWII. They've done an amazing job with the interpretive center and I spent a couple hours inside absorbing everything, gaining a better understanding of the role that Japanese Americans played in the US war effort, and a lot of time contemplating about decisions we've made in the past and what the future holds in store.