Monthly Archives: June 2011

Fire Roof

Fire Roof

Another photo of the day – and another one of those photos that were absolutely spectacular to shoot.

The canyons in Utah are home to many spectacular cliff dwellings. Most of them are very remote and cannot be found on most maps. The reason is simple – these places are so fragile that a large number of visitors would put their integrity at risk. The same is true for the “house on fire” – the ruin shown on my photo of the day.

I found out about the place reading a book that describes many photo opportunities in the Southwest – and decided to visit the place and experience the fascination of one of the most spectacular cliff dwellings by myself. To get there, I had to drive on a dirt road with my rented 4WD and then hike about 1.5 miles through the canyon that houses the ruin. While the drive and the hike did not prove to be difficult, timing was crucial. The ruin looks best when it is not yet hit by light directly, because the reflected light will make the rocks above the ruins appear as if the whole ruin was on fire. With no light at all, the ruin will look dull, and direct sunlight will ruin the contrast and take away the intense colors.

For this reason, I went just after shooting sunrise at a location nearby and got to the ruins at around 9am. My timing seemed perfect – the sky was absolutely clear, and the sun was about to come around the canyon wall that was blocking the light. I set up my tripod and began to shoot. The setting was perfect to use a panoramic format, as getting the entire ruin on the frame required a very wide angle.

After about one hour, I left the place – fascinated by what I had seen and happy with the images I had taken. Once I reviewed the final end product on my computer at home, I was blown away by the colors and the texture in the rocks. Here was another photo of the day – rightly named “Fire Roof” and a worthy addition to my portfolio.

Twisted Forest

Twisted Forest

Today’s photo of the day is from the presumably wettest place in the continental United States – Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, Washington.

Olympic National Park is, in my opinion, one of the most diverse and most spectacular national parks in the United States. Situated in the northwest corner of Washington and only a few hours away from Seattle, it contains wild beaches, rugged mountain ridges, and temperate rain forest. This diversity allows you to visit many different places in just one national park. As mentioned, this rainforest sees a lot of rainfall every year – up to 150 inches (that’s almost 4 meters) is typical for that region, creating spectacular scenes in the forest.

When I visited Olympic National Park on my recent trip to the United States last year as a first destination after flying into Seattle, I was welcomed with quite different weather, though: sunshine. This made it a little complicated to get the shot I wanted for the rain forest.

The first day on the trip had ended with a picture-perfect sunset at one of Olympic’s wild beaches, and my plan was to visit the Hoh Rain Forest on the following day early in the morning. Most of the time you do not want any directly lit areas in your photos when shooting forest landscapes, as the direct light will ruin your exposure and also take away the pristine magic of an evenly lit forest.

Therefore, I started very early before sunrise and got to the parking lot for Hoh Rain Forest more than one hour before sunrise. I left my car, took my camera back, and went into the forest, looking for the perfect scene that would capture the beauty of the rain forest. About 30 minutes later, I came across the scene I had been looking for – trees covered with moss in the middle of a wild and diverse forest setting, with ferns providing the perfect foreground for the shot. The light was already hitting some other areas in the forest directly, so I knew that I was running out of time. I pulled out my camera, set up my tripod, and fired a few shots. Just a few minutes later, the scene had completely changed, with direct light hitting the background behind the trees and taking away the magic that I had been looking for. It was meant to be another sunny day – for me, the best part of it was already over.