Spring in San Diego is a beautiful sight to behold. For most of the year, this lovely city is usually blanketed in a layer of brown and tan, due to the fact that we normally have very little water to let things grow. With the high amount of rain this winter though and a general warming trend, things have started to sprout. This is a perfect time to get out and photograph the green and rainbows of colors blossoming all around.
This photograph, though taken in August 2008, reminds me of this time of the year. It's a great example of using bokeh to enhance an image, and is one of my favorite stylistic tools for general use in photography. It was captured in Julian, California behind the Julian Pie Company restaurant on Main Street.
I am in love with the desert. I can't stop thinking about it, as silly as it sounds. For me, the desert is a place where you can go to feel free. I'm not talking about big hoards of people in trailers with off-road vehicles tearing up the landscape. I'm talking about a preserved wilderness, with the only human intervention being the occasional hiker, and the lone SUV or Jeep that travels down a sunken wash. It is here that solitude exists, and rises to glory. Conditions can be rough. It can get pretty cold at night, and dangerously hot during the day. But in the desert, you've gone back to an earlier time. Camping out, you live like people centuries ago went about their daily lives (to a degree). You're alone with yourself, and it is marvelous.
I'm lucky enough to have amazing friends who will go with me on crazy adventures to this vast and unpredictable wilderness. And they're even more amazing for putting up with my constant need to snap another photo. If I could change anything, my only wish would be to get out there more often, and for longer periods of time. Whether you've brought an entire expedition's worth of supplies and equipment, or you're simply living off of what can fit in a backpack or the trunk of a car, every excursion into the desert is truly an adventure for me.
Shooting photos in the rain is fun. Shooting photos in the rain with a camera that's not exactly waterproof? Not so much. The photograph above is one of many that was the end result of running to one of the gift shops in the Snowbird, Utah resort complex and buying a large $8 handkerchief to cover my camera with. The end result, in all its hazy and low-contrast glory, reminds me a bit of the scene from Paint Your Wagon with the song "They Call the Wind Mariah." Sure, the photo is nothing special. But it certainly does communicate a sense of the mood of the situation.
This photo was taken while traveling at 75mph. Thankfully, I wasn't driving at the time, else I wouldn't have been able to capture this shot with my trusty DSLR. This area, right outside of Mesquite, Nevada, could be mistaken for somewhere in the Middle East at first glance. The Virgin River, which cuts through the ground in this scene, provides for a narrow strip of green vegetation in an otherwise fairly dry desert. The contrast between these two strong elements, combined with the complementary color of the sky, results in a more-exciting-than-normal photograph. Though I'd never want to actually live here, it's nonetheless interesting to capture what so many travelers on the I-15 speed past without even noticing.
The photo above was taken with a 70-300mm lens that was picked up on eBay for $5. Though minor adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom, it just goes to show that getting a great shot depends on having a good eye, and being in the right place at the right time. Having a plethora of various lenses and expensive equipment might be great for some circumstances, but often times, simplifying your photographic kit forces you to be more creative. And creativity is essential to getting the perfect shot.