Yosemite Valley, Sunrise via Tunnel View
Several weeks ago I made a last minute spontaneous trip down to Yosemite. Finally after severe snow storms for months, the weather cleared up for for almost an entire week. With the forecast looking completely clear the entire weekend, I decided to hit the road early Friday afternoon. After several weather and construction related detours I finally arrived at Yosemite View Lodge after driving about 4 hours.
The lodge is the last stop before you get to the Yosemite Valley park gates, just a few miles up the road. I was tempted to go into the park that night, since it is a 24hr park – one of the best things about Yosemite Valley – however I was worn down by the long drive and felt I might be more productive after some good sleep. Instead I decided to rest, wake up and head into the the valley before sunrise.
I was up by 4am, hit the road shortly after and was in the valley before sunrise. First stop was Tunnel View lookout. I captured two sunsets over the valley from this location last spring when I made my first trip to Yosemite – one of the many trips I have yet to blog about. I wanted to try something different. The sunrise sounded like a beautiful proposition since the valley lies West to East and Tunnel View is located at the Western end.
Little did I know it would far exceed my expectations. It was magic, above and beyond the already majestic landscape. The best part was, unlike most sunrises and sunsets which typically last just about 5-to-15 minutes, this sunrise lasted at least 2 hours. This had to do with the winter sun being further south and it stayed hidden behind the southern mountains most of the early morning. This game me ample time to carefully work through my process and make sure I got a good capture. The shot above is what I was going for and more. It will definitely make it to limited edition print.
Have you been to Yosemite? What was your favorite view?
Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur, California
I know I have gone missing for a while now, at least on my blog. I have fallen woefully behind and have a ton of catching up to do. However this is all for good reason. Pretty much every spare moment I’ve had, I have been doing photography or taking trips and photo outings. So there’s lots of good photography to share. You can also follow my on Instagram (@bryanallo) for a more up to date musings.
I spent last weekend in Monterey. I made the trip for various reasons which also included the Monterey Grand Prix races and a few other attractions. I was initially going to cover the races Saturday and explore the coast on Sunday, but when I realized the final heat race was on Sunday, I decided to skip the qualification races and spend Saturday exploring the coast. Due to the limited amount of time and only one sunset to spare, I had to come up with a shortlist of locations within 30 minutes of Monterey.
After a few stops, I concluded Bixby Bridge was to be my final stop. It did not disappoint. This is what beautiful country looks like. The California, most Californians don’t know about. Most of the people I ran into out there were from around the world or out of state at best. I highly recommend this quick stop as you make your way along the Pacific Coast Highway. It is only 20-30 minutes south of Monterey CA.
I arrived about 30 minutes before sunset. My objective was to quickly scout the area for a good clean shot – a shot good enough to make it to Limited Edition fine art canvas print. Above is a panorama from the west/sunset facing side. Below is another perspective which ended up being my perspective of choice for my final shot. I scouted the area with the Canon 5D Mark III and 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens. Once I settled on my shot, I switched bodies to the 50 Megapixel Canon 5DsR body. I used a tripod, ND8 filter and then took my time as magic hour progressed. Those shots will take a while to process so I will have to post them later.
Bixby Bridge at Sunset
Bixby Bridge at Magic Hour
Big Sur coast at Sunset
Big Sur by Michael Goulette
Earlier last year I got an email from a reader and friend Michael. He had recently picked up photography, was about to visit Big Sur and was asking for tips on how to photograph the California coastline. I offered him some tips on how to capture the beautiful scenery in the post: How To: Photography along the California coastline. Later last year we finally got together to look through his shots from that trip. I also showed him how to leverage his RAW files and process them using the Canon Digital Photo Professional software tools that came with his camera and are freely available. It became readily obvious why shooting RAW is so important, especially when using a DSLR.
I think for a first go around he did a great job, especially considering the weather was generally uncooperative (read foggy, windy and overcast). Because he saved the RAW files from his EOS T5i Rebel we were able to recover lots of detail. Here are a few good shots he’s kindly allowed me to post here. Thank you Michael. I wish you many more adventures as you journey into the world of Photography.
If any of my posts have inspired your photography and you would like to share it with everyone, please feel free to contact me directly.
Antwerpen-Centraal railway station platforms
Going through the archives today and found this little gem from my trip to Europe. I was traveling with my superstar sister Andy Allo one of her European Tours. We were taking the Eurail to Amsterdam from Paris via Antwerpen-Centraal railway station Antwerp, Belgium. I posted before about her show in Amsterdam here: Andy Allo live acoustic at Bitterzoet in Amsterdam.
The view opposite the platforms.
As we were switching trains, we emerged from the 3 levels below ground to reveal this amazing and impressive architecture. I really love how these European cities invest so much in their infrastructure, take pride in and maintain it so well. It was a welcomed sight through an otherwise exhausting journey.
Antwerp, is a city in Belgium which is the capital of Antwerp province. With a population of 510,610, it is the most populous city in Flanders. Its metropolitan area houses around 1,200,000 people. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking third in Europe and within the top 20 globally. [WikiPedia]
I was running and gunning from one platform to another to catch our connecting train when I took these shots. I was using my Canon 5D mark III with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Each panoramic is composed of three HDR frames, themselves a composite of three bracket shots. The images were stitched with PTGui. I would very much like to explore the city of Antwerp, it’s history and architecture someday.
Airbus A380 at Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport
I was going through my archives and found a series of panoramic shots I took while running to catch my flight back to Lost Angeles (LAX) from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). I was flying back from a whirlwind two weeks on my sister Andy Allo‘s Euro Tour. I noticed this one unobstructed view of the incredible feat of engineering that is the Airbus A380 SuperJumbo. I took a few minutes to snag some panoramic shots if this bird. I was in motion when I took this shot. Unfortunately, I did not have time to make sure I got the shot right and wait for moving subjects to come to rest or exit my frame. Upon returning, I dismissed the shots and all but discarded them because I wasn’t happy with the shots.
Fortunately I have a policy of never deleting shots like these. What I’d like to do now is go back, take a second look and consider making them available to and sharing with everyone. This Panorama, while far from perfect, would make a great desktop wallpaper, especially if you have multiple displays on your computer. Please feel free to request specific screen sizes. I will see what I can do for you.
We flew to and from Paris on one of these SuperJumbos. It is a humbling experience indeed, when you take stock of all it entails to get roughly 1.2 million pounds into the air and around the world. You can read more about my photographic exploits in Paris here.
Mono Lake Sunset over the Sierras [limited edition print]
It’s taken me almost a year to post about this adventure. Almost a year ago I set out to explore Dealth Valley. I had some downtime so I set aside five days for a trip through Death Valley. Leaving on a rainy Thursday night, I packed up enough food supplies and survival gear to keep me going for a good week. My first stop was the small sleepy town of Lee Vining – ETA some time around midnight. It was a great relaxing drive. My plan was to get a few hours of sleep in the car at a gass station in Lee Vining then a few hours before sunrise, begin exploring the trails and dirt roads along the west lake shore. Nothing prepared me for what I was about to endure. What looked like a relative featureless landscape on Google Maps turned out to be hell on earth. I’m pretty sure my Nissan Murano was not designed to endure this kind of landscape.
If you are not familiar with the story behind Mono Lake, you definitely should read up on it. Once close to the lake, you are immersed in a world of juxtaposition. It is serene, tranquil, eerily beautiful, so far from civilization and wild. At the same time, it is painful! Nature here is callous, hardened if not lifeless. I do mean hardened in every way. Every bush, plant, and twig is literally petrified alive thanks to the extremely high concentration of minerals in and around the lake. Walking and driving, you hear and feel the hardened bushes scratching the car like sharp tentacles and claws of daemons reaching up from the depths of hell, screaming in pain and begging you to save them. Often times I just gave up trying to to walk to the bank – after my car hit a dead-end – because the bushes were literally ripping my jeans off. The sharp rocks and mineral formations were scraping away at my shin through my jeans. I am not much of a religious person but Mono Lake is spiritual experience once you decide to venture off the beaten path. They don’t call it Death Valley for nothing.
Rushing to catch the sunrise over mono lake.
Time Lapse Dolly behind Tufa at sunset
Having to haul my camera gear (30lbs of camera gear + 8 foot time lapse track and dolly) through all this in the pitch dark with a small LED head light was obviously a lost cause. I really wanted a solid shot of the sunrise and was willing to go to great lengths to get it but after spotting several coyote eyes looking at me a stone throw away I decided it was time to retreat to the comfort of my car and regroup. I continued to drive north and after almost getting stuck in a fast moving two foot deep stream, eventually hit the shore line just as the sun was coming up. I managed to get two time lapse sequences which I have yet to release as I hope to go back again to fill in the blanks. The big feature of this trip was to put my newly fabricated time lapse dolly to use and capture some amazing lapses of the almost alien planet landscape.
Mono Lake was not the main subject of this trip. It was only meant to be a sideshow so after sunrise I continued south, fully intending to make it to Racetrack Playa in the heart of death valley. As with all photo excursions, nothing turned out as planned. After almost wrecking my car, rock crawling on what looked like simple dirt road through the mountains, I decided I would not conquer death valley this time. So I returned to Mono Lake in the hopes of giving it a full photographic treatment. Above is the first shot from that adventure I am making available for limited print. This year I hope to return to Death Valley, better equipped to conquer Racetrack Playa and the lower Death Valley.
Lost somewhere in Death Valley. Satan’s Backyard.