A Call to Action (from my wife)   Leave a comment

Instead of a photography post, I want to bring you to a TEDx talk given by my wife, Melanie Snyder.  I’m so very proud of her and her message!

 

Posted May 30, 2014 by ~ Bruce in America in Decline, People

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Anime Meets Native America   Leave a comment

 

Numerous words come to mind when describing the scene in Lancaster City today. Weird, surreal, and eclectic should suffice. Because today — all within the space of a few hundred feet — I was able to observe a Native American protest and Lancaster’s annual Anime convention-goers.

Anime, to save you the effort of a Google search, is a form of Japanese animation that appeals to both children and adults alike. The result is an annual gathering of individuals who dress the part of their (presumably) favorite animated characters. The costumes give the downtown a decidedly Halloween feel here in April.

The Native Americans on the other hand were protesting a planned natural gas pipeline that will cut through Lancaster county, along with other grievances such as casino corporations fleecing Native Americans, and discrimination against people of Native American descent.

And you thought Lancaster was only Amish people and outlet malls . . .

The result, in photographic form:

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Posted April 26, 2014 by ~ Bruce in People, Street, Uncategorized

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Middle Creek 2014   Leave a comment

I missed the peak of the snow geese migration this year, but did have a chance to visit Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area this past weekend.  No snow geese photos, but here are few shots that I was able to capture.

Can anyone identify this bird?  I thought it was a blue heron, but a friend thinks it is not.

Can anyone identify this bird? I thought it was a blue heron, but a friend thinks it is not.  (Low light / high ISO, so a bit of noise with this photo)

 

 

 

 

Canada goose

Canada goose

 

Same Canada goose, but processed with a bit more painterly effect.

Same Canada goose, but processed with a bit more painterly effect.

Posted March 24, 2014 by ~ Bruce in Nature and Wildlife

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My Favorite Photos — 2013   8 comments

The past year was a pretty good one photography-wise.  It was aided immensely by two trips — a long weekend in New York City and a two-week trip to Utah.  The Utah trip, planned months in advance, occurred during the first two weeks of October and was severely disrupted by the federal government shutdown.  However, we were able to visit some spectacular areas not under federal management, and sneaked into quite a few national parks anyway.  In short, neither the vacation nor the photography suffered too much.  (But that is not forgiveness.  We are governed by children.)

Following are my favorite photos of 2013.  I hope you enjoy them.  And as always, thanks for following my photo blog and for your kind comments throughout the year!

January:  Canada Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

January: Canada Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Tundra Swans at takeoff; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Tundra Swans at takeoff; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Snow Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

February: Snow Geese in flight; Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area (Pennsylvania)

March: Grave, Unknown Soldier; Annapolis, Maryland

March: Grave, Unknown Soldier; Annapolis, Maryland

April: Sunrise over the Atlantic; Virginia Beach.

April: Sunrise over the Atlantic; Virginia Beach. No color saturation added.

April: Boardwalk and beach; Virginia Beach.  Digital manipulation.

April: Boardwalk and beach; Virginia Beach. Digital manipulation.

May: Street Musician, Central Market, Lancaster, PA.

May: Street Musician, Central Market, Lancaster, PA.

July:  Street scene: Washington Square Park, New York City.

July: Street scene: Washington Square Park, New York City.

July:  Street scene; Washington Square Park, New York City.

July: Street scene; Washington Square Park, New York City.

July:  Warehouse lights; New York City.  Digital manipulation.

July: Warehouse lights; New York City. Digital manipulation.

October:  Melanie is not impressed.  We hiked in anyway.  (Not a great photo.  Just a "screw you, Congress" photo.)

October: Melanie is not impressed. We hiked in anyway. (Not a great photo. Just a “What were you thinking, Congress?” photo.)

October:  Aspens at forest edge; Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.

October: Aspens at forest edge; Grand Canyon National Park, AZ. Digital manipulation.

October:  Eastern edge, Grand Canyon, as we hiked into the park toward Point Imperial.

October: Eastern edge, Grand Canyon, as we hiked into the park from a national forest road, toward Point Imperial.

October:  Point Imperial vista, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ;  It was just us at this overlook thanks to the shutdown.

October: Point Imperial vista, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ; We were alone at this overlook thanks to the shutdown. A 5 mile hike round trip.

October:  Milky Way on the horizon:  at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October: Milky Way on the horizon: at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October:  Milky Way rising; at Devils Den (near Escalante), Utah.

October: Milky Way rising; at Devils Den (near Escalante), Utah.

October:  Monument Valley vista;  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah / Arizona.

October: Monument Valley vista; Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah / Arizona.

October:  Dunes at sunrise;  Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

October: Dunes at sunrise; Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah.

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October: Slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Melanie exploring a slot canyon; near Escalante, Utah.

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October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October: Cisco (abandoned town); north of Moab, Utah.

October:  Desert scene; near Corona Arch (Moab Area), Utah.

October: Desert scene; near Corona Arch (Moab Area), Utah.

October:  Natural window; near Corona Arch (Moab area), Utah.

October: Natural window; near Corona Arch (Moab area), Utah.

October:  Three Sisters at Sunrise; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Three Sisters at Sunrise; Arches National Park, Utah.

October:  Panorama; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Panorama; Arches National Park, Utah.

October:  Desert scene; Arches National Park, Utah.

October: Desert scene; Arches National Park, Utah.

Delicate Arch at Sunset; Arches National Park, Utah.

Delicate Arch at Sunset; Arches National Park, Utah.

Posted January 5, 2014 by ~ Bruce in Landscapes, Nature and Wildlife, Street, Uncategorized

Slot Canyons   Leave a comment

If you travel to the Desert Southwest and like to hike, at some point you will end up hiking to (and into) a slot canyon.  On a previous trip Melanie and I went to highly regarded Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.  And before that my good friend Rob and I did a strenuous hike in Paria Canyon on the Arizona / Utah border.  This time on our most recent trip to Utah, Melanie and I sought out a couple of more remote and lesser known canyons.

A slot canyon is just what it sounds like — a narrow slot cleaved into the earth and rock.  Not for the claustrophobic, but fascinating for anyone else who does not mind squeezing into narrow spaces.  The photography is fantastic thanks to the red sandstone and muted light from above.  Only one word of caution — check the weather forecast before you go.  Thunderstorms and flash floods can be lethal in a slot canyon.  With a little pre-planning and common sense, a slot canyon hike is likely to be something you will never forget.

 

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(Above)  The first slot canyon we found was as easy as can be.  Fifty yards from the road and only a hundred yards or so in depth.  This is a photo from the roadside showing the entrance.

 

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(Above) You only need to walk 100 feet into a slot canyon to be in a different world.  Outside sounds disappear but spoken word echos off the narrow walls.  The temperature drops and your eyes slowly adjust from bright sunshine to eerie reflected light from the narrow slot above.  The footsteps in the sand show that quite a few people have enjoyed the solitude we found here.

 

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(Above)  The second slot canyon was a lot more difficult.  A 30+ mile drive on dirt road through the desert and a two-mile hike to the entrance.  This photo is from near the trailhead.  The slot canyon is out there somewhere.

 

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(Above)  Near the entrance after we traversed the two miles down to the canyon.  This tumbleweed was too good for any photographer to pass up.

 

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(Above)  Melanie, just inside the entrance.  Nice and wide and level to begin.

 

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(Above)  The slot quickly became more narrow and rocky.  This slot was probably 800 yards or more in length.

 

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(Above)  Solid sandstone walls that have been sculpted by wind and water over thousands of years.

 

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(Above)  Melanie looking ahead at the narrowing slot.  I married a true hiker — keeping up with her can be a challenge.  Every once in a while I can get her to slow down for a photo.  Having a person in the shot lends scale to the image.  (Note the log high up on the wall, above Melanie’s head.  It was likely deposited there during a summer flash flood.)

 

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(Above)  A bit of scrambling is required in some of the slots.  The effort is worth it however, and we took this slot all the way to the end — with about a dozen stops along the way as I set up my tripod and took fifty or so photos.

Maybe I’ll have my ashes scattered in a slot canyon.  They are seriously that cool!

–  End  –

 

Posted November 14, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Nature and Wildlife, Travel Photography

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah   Leave a comment

In early October, our reservations canceled at shut down Zion National Park, we decided to instead camp and photograph the dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.  As we were to discover, the state parks in Utah are fantastic and Coral Pink Sand Dunes is no exception.  Although the dunes are open to ATV riding during the day, they are off-limits to the vehicles until 9 a.m. — more than enough time to photograph them at sunrise.  And after all, sunrise (and sunset) is when you capture the beautiful colors and deep shadows that have made sand dunes attractive subjects to photographers since the invention of the medium.  That Melanie and I were the only people up and stirring as the sun rose only made the experience better.

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IMG_3223-1(Above)  This is actually a contrasty late afternoon photo taken shortly after we arrived.  I like how the hikers provide scale to the image.  As for hiking — well, I love hiking.  But not in sand. In fact, it sucks.  I’d rather take photos of other people hiking in sand.

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IMG_3353-1 (Above)  This is what the dunes look like at dawn, immediately after the sun rises over the nearby mountain.

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(Above)  Another sunrise “kiss” on one of the dunes, this one using a zoom lens.

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Sand_Dunes_Panorama2-1(Above)  This is actually two separate photos stitched together using the panorama feature in Adobe Elements 10.  I have some 5-image panoramas that would make fantastically big prints, but would be too long and skinny to display correctly on a website!  The technique is pretty easy.  Getting there before the sun is the harder part.

Twenty or thirty minutes later the light and colors were gone, replaced by Utah’s harsh sun and cloudless skies.  Photos like this are available to anyone —  providing that you can roll out of bed (or, in this case, sleeping bag) and get there before the sun!

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Posted October 22, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Uncategorized

Dark Skies and the Milky Way   6 comments

Our trip to southern Utah coincided with a new moon phase.  Having been out west before I knew that meant a beautiful night sky that we rarely, if ever, see on the east coast.  It also meant that I had the opportunity to try some Milky Way photography — something that has been on my to-do list for a long time.

Preparations were fairly straightforward.  I did some pre-planning by reading a few excellent celestial photography blogs, including David Kingham’s free online tutorials.  I also had the good fortune of meeting and spending an evening photographing the Milky Way with Jon Fuller, a photographer who lives in Moab and has been published in National Geographic Magazine (among other publications).  We collaborated with Jon and his wife, Paula, and both ended up with some fantastic shots in Devil’s Garden.  Finally, I also downloaded a very cool free app called Night Sky 2 Lite to my iPhone.  It allowed me to pinpoint where the Milky Way Galaxy would rise on the horizon, at 190 degrees south, between the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius when we were there.  (Note that the Milky Way rises at different times and at different places depending upon the time of the year and your location on earth.  Early October was particularly convenient, as the galaxy rose shortly after sunset).

Although these are first attempts, below are four images that I particularly like, with my notes appended.  The gas cloud that you see in the photos below is what gives each image a “wow” factor.  Unlike the human eye, a camera gathers additive light for as long as you keep the shutter open.  This allows you to see things that the naked eye does not.

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(Above) Location:  Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Melanie Snyder with a flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Devil’s Garden (near Escalante), Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Melanie Snyder with a flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

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(Above) Location: Devil’s Garden (near Escalante), Utah.  Exposure: 30 seconds; ISO 3200; Foreground “painted” by Jon Fuller with a very large flashlight; Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.

Posted October 20, 2013 by ~ Bruce in Travel Photography, Uncategorized

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