The Rocky Mountains (Day)

Locations: Denver, Boulder, Estes Park, Rocky Mountains - Colorado

The image above was taken inside Rocky Mountain National Park, in the Alpine Tundra region. Here at over 12,000 feet elevation you'll find a unique landscape, totally devoid of trees with interesting geology and alpine animals.

The ground up here is different, littered with crystals and small plants that survive temperatures below freezing for at least 5 months of the year.

Above, a sign that explains how some of the landscape formed during the last Ice Age.

Let's take a quick tour of Rocky Mountain National Park:

Below I've put together a short selection of iPhone shots that will give you a short guided tour of Denver, Boulder, Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park: 

Now we'll segway into the night images - click RIGHT HERE to check out the park at night!

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Location: Potato chip rock - San Diego, CA / Settings: F22, ISO 100, 238 seconds

Gear: Canon 6D24-70mm LensManfrotto Tripod, and Remote Shutter-release.

'This place is just as sketchy as it looks in the photos' - that was my initial thought upon first visit.

From the first time I laid eyes on this place through someone else's photo, I thought it looked familiar - anyone growing up with Shel Silverstein's poems and illustrations in their youth could never forget his book cover 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' - in fact, if you research the title, you can't help but find many tattoos of the iconic deceased writer/illustrator's work.

It always struck a chord with me due to it's clever, raw, precarious, humorous yet hopeful perspective - a rare balance to find in creative work!

If you think the 7 mile hike with an elevation gain of around 1700 ft would deter some crowds, think again - Astrobandit waited in line for a chance to shoot her image - it took about 20 minutes - lots of selfie-sticks :P

circus

We waited until dusk to shoot some blue-hour images and then hiked back in the dark. As you can see in this image, the rock really does just drop off into nothing.

If you do choose to make the trek out to potato chip rock - make sure to bring plenty of water, as many hiking websites will advise - the trail doesn't have much shade and would be difficult in the summer heat!

Mountain weather

Location: Mt. Wilson - Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F6.3, ISO 200, 141 seconds

Hobo Baggins is at it again - up in the clouds this time! He hikes with a goal firm in mind - to see the jewel of the day - a sunset.

At a height of 5,712 feet, (or 1741 meters) he is happy to catch the sun fading away beyond clouds in the distance as the city below prepares for night.

Tuojiangosaurus

Location: Salt Point State Park, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 200, 271 second exposure

This location was interesting because of the combination of sandstone and tafoni formations that scattered the coastline. After scouting around during the day (photos below) I tried to go back and shoot it at night. Unfortunately, it started to rain and most of the spots I wanted to hit were miles away. 

I took a chance and ran out to the first formations I could find and did the quickest light fossil I've ever done just as it began to really pour down. Happy to get this one in! Will have to look for a good all-weather solution to my photography.. A little rain is a crappy reason to put away gear.

trail

Here is the beautiful hiking trail.

alien coast

The rocky coast formations go on for a few miles. Apparently this sandstone was used to create the streets and buildings in San Francisco during the 1800's.

tafoni

Close-up of tafoni. Here's a link to the park's website in case you'd like to check it out for yourself.

Pizza Reaper

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 100, 339 second exposure

The pizza-reaper was an idea my friend Jeff Morris said I should try out a few years ago. He's got a great drone video he just released called 'Above San Diego' that has some really unique shots - you should watch it.

Anyways, I liked his idea and tried a few photos years ago but they never came out quite the way I wanted - they were rough and un-practiced back then. 

Fast-forward a few years of practice and take that same idea to Big Sur, CA and now you have something worth looking at! Here's the fellow offering a slice, any takers?

You can download the wallpaper-size version of this image (iphone 6 size) in case you might want a pizza-reaper phone:

pizza-reaper wallpaper