Apr 202015

Having finally cleared Laughlin and Kingman, I continued east on Route 66, now signed as AZ-66.  My ultimate destination was a small community by the name of Crozier, Arizona.  I had passed through this area on a previous trip west bound and had stopped for a couple shots, but they didn’t turn out as I had hoped.  This was my chance to revisit the area and get something good.

This particular shot or location wasn’t the area I wanted to revisit but a few miles east.  The valley you see is one of the few stretches of Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman that has some interesting curves to it.  Near this spot there is an old bridge that was part of an old Route 66 alignment that is no longer in service.  Unfortunately, it is also now on private property, is signed as such, and inaccessible to the public.  Thankfully there are other bridges that are still able to be visited freely (map).

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35°25'59" N 113°38'56" W

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Apr 172015

Continuing today with more shots from my impromptu trip to Laughlin and across to Kingman on my way to shoot Route 66.

This shot was from just east of Laughlin along AZ-68 on the way to Kingman, Arizona.  Driving along I spotted these rock formations you see in the distance and knew I wanted a shot containing them.  As I drove I saw the road bed was cut into the mountain side and at this particular spot there was a large rise large enough I could get a great point-of-view of the highway.

I pulled over, grabbed my gear, and started the short but steep hike up this small hill side.  Once on top I setup my gear and looked for interesting compositions.  I took a few shots from a variety of heights and locations, such as closer to the fence you see to the right, and I like this one best.  In particular I like how the smaller rock on the larger rock towards the bottom right corner turned out (map).

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35°12'1" N 114°24'13" W

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Apr 152015

Another shot from along Laughlin Highway, or NV-163, between US-95 and Laughlin, Nevada.  This wasn’t very far from the photo I published earlier this week, but looking in opposite direction.  Was really happy to have found this flowering cactus to use as a foreground element (map).

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35°11'32" N 114°40'60" W

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Apr 132015

Last month I was running low on new images to share here on the blog and was in desperate need of a road trip.  At the last minute I decided to head over to a stretch of Route 66 north of Kingman, Arizona to get a shot I had tried to get a few months earlier.  The first attempt didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped so I needed a second try.

Leaving Las Vegas I didn’t make it to Boulder City before I had to make a small change to my route.  I had planned on taking US-93 all the way to Kingman, but there was a highway information sign stating that US-93 was closed at Hoover Dam.  Not wanting to get stuck in traffic I decided to take US-95 and detour through Laughlin and then proceed over to Kingman from there.  In hindsight I’m glad I made that decision because I was able to see and photograph some stretches of road I normally wouldn’t have.

This shot is taken from Laughlin Highway, or NV-163, between US-95 and Laughlin, and, looking at a map, this spot is still considered a part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  While driving, I spotted the curve you see here and pulled over to take a look around for a shot.  I hiked around for a few minutes before finding the yuccas you see here (map).

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35°11'13" N 114°40'58" W

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Apr 102015

As promised here is the multi-row, multi-HDR panorama of the sunrise I captured over Emigrant Canyon Road on the west side of Death Valley.  Taking the road to the left, or north, will take you to Emigrant Pass and back to Emigrant and CA-190.  Take the road to the right, or south, will take you to Wildrose Canyon and eventually the charcoal kilns located there.  You also used to have the ability to proceed south in Wildrose Canyon and connect over to Panamint Valley Road.  Sadly the road was washed out some years back and it sounds like, according to the local rangers, it won’t be repaired any time soon (map).

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Sunrise Over Emigrant Canyon Road Panorama

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Apr 082015

I had planned on starting another series of infrared photos from a trip down to Laughlin, across to Kingman, and up route 66.  Instead of starting that series I wanted to share this image first.

Back in February of this year I shared 36°17’59” N 117°10’33” W which came from a trip out to the west side of Death Valley National Park.  It received a very positive response on 500px and thought it would be interesting to revisit this area and try for a sunrise shot.  I fired up The Photographer’s Ephemeris and started looking for when the sun would rise almost directly up the valley from this perspective.  I found that my best chances at this were on March 21st and 22nd.

With the date problem solved, my next issue was time.  Sunrise for March 21st was listed as 6:51 am.  The issue with this is the trip from my home to this spot is a good three hour drive.  This left me with two options.  Either leave very early before sunrise or stay somewhere closer.  I chose the later and to be adventurous. I decided I would leave home the 20th, camp in nearby Wildrose Campground, get up early, drive to this location, and shoot my heart out.  My main concern was that this campground is fee free and first come first served.  This meant if I arrived and it was full I would have no where to stay.  I figured if that happened I would just pull over and sleep in the car.

Well, my daughter overheard me talking about going camping and immediately wanted to go with me.  I explained to her that this wouldn’t be our normal camping trip and that if the campsite was full we’d be sleeping in the car.  She was totally ok with that and so I decided to bring her with me.

Of course as my luck would have it, I was delayed leaving Las Vegas and when we arrived it was pitch black outside.  To make matters worse the campground appeared full.  Instead of walking the entire campground looking for an open site I resigned myself to the fact that we were sleeping in the car for the night.  Thankfully for me my car has the ability to have the front seats lay completely flat and even with the back seats.  This gave both my daughter and I near perfect sleeping platforms.  I parked the car at a pullout which you can see on a map here (map) and we got ready to sleep.

I rested very fitfully the entire evening and kept waking up throughout the night.  To hot, to cold, to cramped, the list went on and on.  Throughout the night I also kept looking out the windshield looking for clouds in the sky, but all I kept seeing were bright stars.  This had me concerned; if I didn’t have some clouds in the morning the sunrise would be a dud and our entire trip wasted.

The alarm on my phone went off at 5:45 giving me an hour to snooze, get ready, drive, hike, and setup.  We drove the short drive to a spot just out of the frame to the right and parked.  I grabbed all my gear, and the kiddo and I started hiking up the small hill to my vantage point.

As the sky started to get brighter and brighter I started shooting.  My first shots were at 6:25 and my last shots were at 6:57.  I tried a variety of graduated ND filters and compositions.  I started much higher and tighter than what you see.  The compositions had just the road winding through the valley.  I didn’t like what I saw.  So I lowered my tripod, went as wide as possible, and framed the shot to get both the red cactus to the right as well as the rock to the left in frame.  With my composition all set, we sat, shivered and waited for the sky to give us something.

While we waited I could see the red start to creep ever so slowly into the clouds.  My heart started to race as it looked like we were going to get something good.  After waiting 15 minutes we finally got what you see here.  I also took the opportunity to capture several more frames for a HDR panorama that I’ll be sharing later.  We stuck it out in the cold and wind for another 10-15 minutes before agreeing that the best of the skies had passed and it was time for breakfast.

The final photo you see here is a nine frame HDR with shots ranging from -5 EV (1/160) to +3 EV (2.5s) all at f/4 and 10 mm using my Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5.  I started processing by using Photomatix to create the initial HDR.  I then sent it to Photoshop for final editing.  I spent a lot of time in Photoshop trying to get this image just perfect and I’m really happy with the end result.  Also very relieved that all the work and preparation I put in for this shot came through in the end (map).

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Sunrise Over Emigrant Canyon Road

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