national park

All photos available for print and licensing >

If you’re a consistant reader to my blog, then you’ll know that I love talking about things that I’ve been into – the TV shows I’m watching, books I’m reading or even movies that I just watched.

But for some reason the whole time I was editing this image, I kept on thinking about Game of Thrones. The weird part is that I’ve never seen it! I think I’ve just seen that one meme “Winter is Coming” one too many times. So I kinda edited this image with that kind of look in mind. The funny part is, I have no idea what “Winter is Coming” means. No clue. And based on what I know about the show from my brother and what friends have told me, I don’t think I will be able to figure it out unless I watched the show. Oh well…

Fall is Coming.

Did I do that right? 🙂 LOL

The camera settings for this image is 1/30th of a second at F/13 and ISO 100. I took this in Yosemite National Park in March 2011. It being March and my first time ever visiting Yosemite National Park, I was super surprised to see snow on the ground. I even remember not being able to go to some parts of the park because there was too much snow to get through. Either way, my first experience in Yosemite National Park was magical. I feel like everyone always says that about Yosemite National Park but it’s so true. It’s hard to describe unless you’re there. To this day, if anyone asks me which is my favorite national park, hands down is Yosemite. I know I’ll be back and I hope that when that time comes, it will be in the spring or fall. My two favorite seasons with so much to photograph.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Not to say that I like one better than the other, but another favorite place to shoot fall colors is Shenandoah National Park. Just driving along sky line drive is so peaceful and relaxing. I never have a plan of what I’m going to shoot, I just go. And each time I go is so different.

What’s crazy is that I shot this in 2011! Lately I’ve been going through some older photos. Like way back. And I still remember shooting this. This particular morning was foggy. You know me and how excited I get with fog. But you can’t even tell that the leaves are changing or anything. I just love how the fog washed away all the details and all you see are blurred lines. It sort of reminds me of an abstract painting with an influence of Mark Rothko. The small hint of purple and pink in the middle of the image really draws my attention.

My camera settings for this image was F/18 at 1/20th of a second ISO 125 on my Canon 5D Mark II.

On a side note, I still get quite a few questions about my 5D Mark II. They’re mostly if I still use it and the answer is not really. The only time I really use it may be shooting fireworks. I just trust the camera remote on the 5D Mark II way more than the one on the Sony A7II. I feel like in that “high pressure” situation, (high pressure meaning, I can’t easily re-do it) I’d rather use that camera. Otherwise, it’s straight Sony equipment for me. I still have my Canon body and lenses sitting on the shelf. I may sell it in the future, but I’m not sure. We just have so many memories together that I don’t know if I’d want to give that away.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Dead Horse Point. What a funny name for a state park, don’t you think? But it’s probably one of my favorite places in Utah that I’ve ever photographed. It is beautiful at any time of the day and in the two days that we were in Moab, we visited this place twice. It was that cool. I also liked it because it was so easily accessible. There weren’t long hikes or anything that you had to do in order to get some great views. You pretty much park your car and you are right there in the mix of all this amazingness. I took this while I was waiting for the sun to go down. It’s hard to believe places like this really exist.

Speaking of which, have you seen the HBO show West World? Andrew and I started watching it from a recommendation of a friend and just hearing people talk about it in general. I think we’ve seen 3 episodes of it. To be honest, I’m not a big fan. It’s a little too weird for me. There are so many characters and so much going on at once that it’s a bit too much for me. I can’t find a single character to really care about or relate to. But I mention West World because it looks like the characters on the show are straight up living in National Parks. I don’t know for sure but some of it must have been filmed in Utah and they make it look amazing! I think that’s the most exciting part of watching West World to me. Just watching the scenery and imagining what life really must of been like back in the day, when there were no real rules, just amazing landscapes. Oh man, the trouble I probably would of gotten myself into. HAHA!

BTW, did you know that if you hoover on top of the image and there’s a link to “purchase print”? Obviously, you can buy this print if you’d like, but it also allows you to view it larger. I’d recommend doing that! This image looks even better bigger! For realz.

All photos available for print and licensing >

I know I’ve been talking about New Mexico a lot but I just loved it. It was my first time ever in the state, we spent most of our time on our road trip in New Mexico and overall, it’s just awesome. And top of that list was definietly, 100% White Sands National Monument.

It was a lot smaller of a park and a lot quieter of a place in general. I never felt like it was too crowded or impossible to take images without anybody in it. It was just so chill. I love this image in particular because it’s just so simple and what it’s really like being there. It reminds me of just walking along the sand – never too hot and relaxing in between your toes.  The best was being able to walk around the entire park without any shoes on.  I feel like every national park should be like that (or is that the asian side of me wanting to take my shoes off everywhere?). It was very much like walking along a beach with no ocean.

Besides the natural beauty of it, my favorite part of the park was the sledding! When we were first coming in to the park, there were these other two girls who were walking out. They offered us their snow sleds and without hesistation, we took them. Sliding down these dunes was so much fun. A lot better than I thought it would be. I felt like I was in elementary school again and it was our first snow day of the year. You can actually get a pretty good speed on these dunes if you find the right one.

This image was taken bright and early in the morning, right when the park opened. Don’t try to come for sunrise, you will be disappointed.

All photos available for print and licensing >

I know its wrong but whenever I travel and check the hours for a national park, I kinda just assume it’s more like a guideline as opposed to an actual rule. I think it’s because there have been so many times at so many different parks that the gates are left open and I just drive right through. Well this is definietly not the case at White Sands National Monument. They closed the gate! I was so disappointed that we woke up early just to go take some sunrise shots and it was closed.

But since we were already up, dressed and ready to take some pictures, we decided to pull over at this camp site spot near the entrance of the park. It had really pretty cactuses and a lake that maybe we could get a few shots in. I didn’t really expect much but then I saw these three birds just hanging out in the water. I knew they were going to fly away as soon as they saw me so I did my best to slowly approach them. I only had my 28-70mm so I wasn’t able to zoom super close to them like I would have wanted to. Regardless, I’m really happy that I was able to capture them taking off. My favorite part of the image is that one little water drop in the middle of the second and third bird. Such small details like that can really make an image. For me, my eye keeps on going straight to that spot and I love it!

So listen to me now. If you’re going to White Sands National Monument, definietly get your beauty sleep in so you can be ready to shoot sunset. Sunset is where it’s at at White Sands! 

Settings for this image was F7.1 at 1/200th of a second ISO 500.