Climbing, Like a Girl

The Climb

I named this photo “The Climb”, ’cause well, how could I not? The hubs and I were out hiking and photographing along a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, one lovely day on Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada mountains a couple of weeks ago – and we’d gotten separated. No biggie – we agreed to meet back at the car when we were done. As I clambered through a section of rocks, I stepped out onto a granite outcropping overlooking a small group of rock climbers. There were couple of spotters on the ground, a fella on some crazy section of rock – and this gal.

She was working on a move that was relatively new to her, though not being a climber I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was. I just know it looked pretty tough to me – and that she was getting coaching and encouragement from the guys on the ground. Whatever it was required several tries. In between them, she’d dangle in mid air like it was the most comfortable place to hang out; a hundred feet above the ground on a rope. She was huffing and puffing like a freight train too, which gives you an idea about how challenging it was. One thing I CAN tell you for sure: she was badass.

Like a Girl

And it made me think of this video I’d seen recently called Like A Girl . Standing there, watching her focus, determination and strength – I knew what it meant to climb like a girl.

I’m a climber too.
Just not on vertical granite rocks.
But I do it focused, determined and strong…  like a girl.
Hoping to help re-define just what that means for younger generations.

How ’bout you?

TheClimb

Sunsets, Art & The Masters of Painting

The Power of Exploring One Area

I found a new vantage point! Lake Tahoe is a HUGE lake (72 miles around)… but only offers a few spots where you can get a great shot. The east side is one of them. I love going back under different lighting and weather conditions – because it’s just never the same from visit to visit.

Sometimes I think that in an effort to always have that NEW experience, a lot of photographers run all over the world trying to one-up each other with even MORE danger, even MORE extreme conditions, MORE exotic locations and… well, you know the drill. But I don’t always see them exploring one area deeply. And I think that’s a shame. Not to say traveling the world isn’t awesome… but a sense of deepening is often underrated, IMHO. I’m trying not to make that same mistake – especially given that I live a mere 30 minutes from one of the most wondrous jewels of the world!

Sunset: That moment when we wave good-bye to the day, and light bathes us with the soft caress of infinite blessings. I love that moment.
Continue reading “Sunsets, Art & The Masters of Painting”

Portrait of a Lady… er, Lake

Whenever I post a photo of Lake Tahoe on one my social streams, there’s this one fella who always pipes up, “You sure like to photograph that lake!”
Now I ask you… wouldn’t you, if this were 30 minutes from your home? I mean, seriously!

I consider myself blessed. When I’m home, I actually DO go lots of other places around Tahoe area to shoot… but there’s just something so otherworldly and awesome about catching Lady Tahoe herself bejeweled in her aquamarine finest.

Aquamarine
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Changing Moods

Monochrome on the Brain

I’ve had monochrome on my mind lately. Not really sure why, I suppose it’s like anything else that floats through your muse’s consciousness for consideration.

I’ll be honest and say that I did shoot this auto bracketed, imagining it might end up as a color HDR image. I shot a whole series this day to great success that way. But I was struggling with it, since I didn’t like the way the colors looked, the textures responded… it was kind of strange, actually. And annoying, since I couldn’t seem to get fresh eyes on the situation. I loved the image, just not where it was going.

Then, since I just posted yesterday about playing with monochrome, I decided to find my fresh eyes with a black and white conversion. I was completely surprised by the result! In particular, I loved what the light did.

TheHush
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The Ice Tunnel

She stopped at the entrance and grimaced. Ice. Her least favorite element. She took a deep breath and prepared to kick her way in. Wouldn’t be the first time.

No matter what the townsfolk blathered on about, she knew for a fact that she wasn’t a queen, an ancient kingdom did not await, the ice would not magically part to let her through – and elves, bells and everything nice were all just a fairy tale.

Now if she could only explain why she’d been hearing faint laughter and tinkling for the past half hour… and why the ice that was solid to the ground moments before was now inexplicably knee-high. And rising.

IceTunnel

I couldn’t resist. heehee.

The Bonsai Rock Mission

Avoiding Bonsai Rock: “all that” or merely insecure?

Bonsai Rock on Lake Tahoe, Nevada side is an icon. An endless stream of photographers has been to this spot to shoot this very rock it seems; its wee stunted pine trees doing their mightiest to grow out of a crack in the granite. Just do a Google image search for “Bonsai Rock Lake Tahoe” and watch an endless scroll of photos populate the page.

I have a strong streak of rebellion that resists shooting places like this that EVERYBODY seems to need to photograph.
Or perhaps it’s insecurity masquerading as a mock blasé attitude so I can pretend it doesn’t really matter.
I mean it DOESN’T really matter in the grand scheme of things… right?

Taking the Leap

And yet… when my good friend and über fabulous photographer and teacher Matt Kloskowski came out to teach a Lightroom workshop in Sacramento, he made an extra day to shoot at Tahoe. He called me up and said he wanted to do Bonsai Rock – and of course, I said “I’ve never shot it either!” Like it just sorta happened that I never shot that stupid rock… or had just been SOOOOO busy (and don’t forget ‘important’) that I never had time to make it out there. Nevermind that in almost 20 years of living in, I only just figured out where it is this year! Granted, I wasn’t actively doing the kind of photography I am now most of that time, so that’s my official excuse… but still.

Personally, I think Bonsai Rock is a better sunset spot than sunrise. So we hit it shortly before sundown.

Even granite boulders have families, right?I'm going to imagine it just that way.
Continue reading “The Bonsai Rock Mission”

Graffiti Art and The Transcontinental Railroad

There are abandoned train tunnels in Truckee. You used to be able to drive through them, but they got tired of towing folks outta there that didn’t belong there in the first place, so now you can only walk. Or ride a bike. But it’s really, really cool. If you’re by yourself, it’s kinda spooky… some folks say it’s haunted. I do know it’s part of the first transcontinental railroad, and this section was known originally as the “Pacific Railroad” and later as the “Overland Route”. It was the first railroad to connect the Pacific Coast to San Francisco – then join up with the rest of the already-built railroad system that ended in Utah.
LineUpForGold Continue reading “Graffiti Art and The Transcontinental Railroad”

The Thing About HDR Photography

Mention “HDR”… then Duck!

Mere mention of “HDR Photography” can be very polarizing amongst photographers. There are thems that love it – and thems that think HDR is the end of civilization as we know it. Or something along those apocalyptic lines. I like shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range). It’s fun. I like color – and I like the option the see allllll the variances of color and light in a photo. Where a typical photo can handle 6 or so f-stops (levels) of light, a human eye can take in 12 to 14 levels of light. HDR lets you create a photograph that’s more in line with what your eye sees. And I love doing that.

PeachSorbet

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Silky Water and HDR

I love silky water, but as a rule I don’t use filters. I do own a Lee Big Stopper (10-stop neutral density)… but I only break it out once in awhile for variety.
I don’t have anything against filters. Alot of my friends create astounding images with them. But it boils down to personal preference. I just don’t like fussing about with gear. It makes me feel impatient and anxious, then just plain irritated. I DO like to set up quickly, go into falling leaf mode, take photographs, move about and be one with nature.

RushingHomeToYou

Consequently, HDR (high dynamic range) photography is a gift from god for me. Continue reading “Silky Water and HDR”