Jen and I decided last week that we needed to spend time experiencing the calm that comes when spending time photographing at the Salton Sea. I get lost in the beauty that somehow always reveals itself once I put myself in the mindset of singleness of purpose…..watching the birds. As I’ve said before….Everytime time I come away with a unique collection of photos that I couldn’t have predicted I’d get.
At home the previous night’s sunset was incredibly beautiful. I imagined Jen and I might have another beautifully colored sunset at the Salton Sea as a local storm was headed our way. We did not get clouds as I’d hoped and not much color. But I am happy with the photos I didn’t know I’d get earlier in the late afternoon. Not having expectations leaves me open to what is of interest to me at the moment.
I didn’t know head of time I’d only use the Canon Zoom EF 100-400mm 1:4-5-5.6 L IS II USM lens the entire shoot. But I did. Much of the time I was out at the 400 end. We arrived at the S.S. around 2:30pm so I had a little trouble knowing what exposures would work best. Lightroom in post processing helped me like some of the photos a little a bit more than how they looked straight out of camera.
Yesterday the sky was filled with interesting clouds. I had just finished shooting a baby shower and wanted to shoot for myself. Jen was up for the 40 minute drive to the Salton Sea, with the hope that we’d get a phenomenal sunset. Driving in to the Salton Sea Recreational Park we were surprised to find we were the only people there except for two fisherman on the opposite side of the inlet, where we ended up parking. No people. Very few birds. And….a ever growing dense cloud cover that would prevent any kind of sunset color. Oh, it was 100 degrees, humid like sticky and wet even standing still. But we stayed. And we even stayed when we got out of the car only to be attacked by flies that covered all the moist parts of our bodies (which was everywhere). Swatting the flies didn’t work. We stayed, occasionally forgetting the irritating, sometime biting, flies by throwing myself into trying to find something of interest to shoot.
As evidenced by some of these photos I shot, photographs were there for the making.
The best photos came long after the sun set….when it looked dark and drab. But if the exposure is long enough, there is always light. And there was.
I just got back this afternoon from a Salton Sea Workshop lead by Keith Skelton. I shot Thursday through Sunday and had a great time with the other photographers and also got some nice photos…..this is always a good thing!
I edited about 29 photos from today’s shoot and posted them all on my Smugmug Portfolio site. If you are interested in taking a peek, here is the link: http://gottago.smugmug.com/Classes-Workshops/20141205-Salton-Sea-Keith-Skelto/
Here is a teaser……
Arrived at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge at 5:40am and we 11 photographers all quietly waited for the action.
My car after driving on muddy dirt roads this morning to Salton Sea locals we’ll be shooting over the weekend. Once home on Dec. 8, 2014, I had my car washed (first by hand/then by machine) at a car wash to the cost of $47 incuding a tip.
Our fearless workshop leader, allowing me for the first time to shoot him while he stood still for 5 seconds!!! Thanks Keith Skelton:-)
After sunset, before it gets too dark is always the best time to shoot this kind of shot.
JJ pretending to shoot something so I could take his photo and use the great light put out by the Geothermal plant behind him.
It took two tries but Ken was willing to hold this pose for 5 seconds without moving. Thanks Ken.
I cropped in on this photo for a composition I liked as the there was another tree that spoiled the look I was after.
Jen wanted me to crop down on the Comorant tree so only some of the birds were showing and closeup.
This is the look I like of the Comorant tree on Lark Street north of Westmoreland.
This shot was a bit iffy but it is a reminder of a great evening meeting new friends in Keith’s workshop and reuniting with old friends from when I first took up Photography seriously 7 years ago. It was great seeing Judy and Teri again!!!
A verticle of our tree. Keith always brings us back to shoot the Cormorants that are always in this tree. Thanks to the Comorants for staying perched as long as they did. Next time though Keith, please let us ALL know when you are going to walk up so close that the birds take off:-)
Geothermal plants everywhere make for nice dark photography shots.
Lots of birds, no light!!! Boo hoo.
Kept look back Northeast at this geothermal plant. So wanted this photo to have more contrast. Impossible.
OOOh, did we get muddy walking around this morning. And driving is a little iffy on some of the dirt roads.
Checked out a road in the Sony Bono Rec Area and found these guys. Too much mud to go further down the road. The hunters are camped here too.
Leaving to go to have breakfast I couldn’t stop shooting away. Poor JJ. He was very hungry, but most patient with my obsessive photo taking.
We really got skunked this morning on good light so trying to make a photograph without light is pretty difficult. Hence the enhancement border:-)
I rented a wide angle lens….14 mm L series Canon and haven’t pulled it out to use it yet. This was taken from inside the car with my 16-35 mm L lens. I intend to use the wide angle lens low and close tomorrow!
Off Road Vehicles playing.
We couldn’t walk in beyond the road in this area. So I went looking for a variety of shots other than shooting the same sand dunes.
JJ shooting up a storm late this afternoon and getting some great sand dune shots at the Albondogones (sp) Dunes Wilderness east of Brawley CA near the Salton Sea.
Tractor tracks certainly made their mark.
Shot some of these fellows trying to pan with their motion. Wish I’d gotten their email addresses so I could have sent them some of the shots.
Duane is 63 years old. Still works. But finds time to bike 500 miles in a week doing sections hoping to soon complete his adventure to bike from the east coast of the US to the west coast. He began his adventure in 1997. Really nice guy. His wife shadows him while he rides.
Quick grabs as these guys speed up the sand dunes.
Twenty minutes before sunset, we were headed somewhere else but pulled over when we noticed the colorful reflections in this water source.
Interesting sun setting tonight. Not a lot of color in the sky like I’d hoped but enjoyed this unique cloud shrouded sun setting.
Day is done. We were going to continue shooting some night shots elsewhere but Carl’s Jr. and a cheeseburger dinner were calling out to us. Night.