Mining the Archives

Yes, it’s been a very long time since I last posted a story, and I’m so sorry about that! You can blame it on Caltech, they’ve been making me look at stuff like this every day:


Applied Operator Theory – a bundle of joy!

I know what you’re thinking: that looks terribly ugly compared to snowy mountains, alpine wildflowers and singing birds. And I couldn’t agree more, but it’s what pays the bills. Anyways, while I haven’t managed to get out much these past few months, I have had some time to dig through my hard drives to find those images that slipped through the cracks. So I figured that since you probably don’t all spend your days checking to see if I’ve uploaded new pictures, I would share the newly found ones here. Remember, just click on the pictures to see them at a larger size. And if you haven’t already, I suggest that you take a look at my photos from earlier postings, as they look a lot better now that they’ve been properly processed, and printer (same size as my couch!) is up and running!

So let’s start off with some adventures that happened before I started up this blog.. first, we’ll take a trip to Zion National Park, where I went last December on my way to Bryce. There had recently been a snowstorm, and nothing beats rock rock canyons, reflected light, and fresh snowy textures. So I’m not quite sure how this abstract slipped through the cracks, but now that it has been rescued, there’s a 20x30in print hanging on the wall next to me!


“The Tiger” ~ Zion National Park
The Tech: Canon 5D, 70-200mm f/4 L @ 200mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/8, 1/25th sec

Next up is a trip from last March when my friend Raghu (grad student at Cornell) and I went to Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. This is possibly one of the most exciting backpacking trips in US. You start out with a 13 mile long slot canyon (watch out for the weather! you don’t want to get stuck in a flash flood), in march this is pretty safe – it’s the summer thunderstorms that you really need to watch out for. It was quite cold, in fact, it started snowing on the first day – see here for the older photos: http://florisvanbreugel.smugmug.com/gallery/4151448_vFKy4#P-3-15

We actually started our hike in Wirepass Canyon, a narrow side canyon of Buckskin Gulch. There is one section that is completely straight, a perfect wall of about 50 feet high!


“The Wall” ~ Wirepass Canyon
The Tech: Canon 5D, 17-40mm f/4 L @ 29mm, tripod, single axis panorama head (2-shot panorama)
Exposure: iso 100, f/14, 10 sec

We spent a total of 3 days inside Buckskin Gulch, chasing the light and textures, those 13 miles are hard to get through when around every corner you find yet another incredible scene, followed by some chest deep freezing stagnant water you have to wade through. And at the end is a rock jam that requires some rope and a little ingenuity to get the 80 lb packs down – and you’d better be there before it gets dark! Well, somewhere about 2/3 of the way down we found a rather out of place artifact, it seems nothing is pristine anymore.


“Lost and Found” ~ Buckskin Gulch
The Tech: Canon 5D, 17-40mm f/4 L @ 17mm, tripod
Exposure: (bracketed) primary: iso 100, f/14, 15 sec
Processing: I bracketed to capture the full dynamic range of the scene, and blended the exposures by hand in photoshop.

Reflected light and rock jams.. yes, there was lots of that, here’s a particularly captivating example:


“Boulder Avenue” ~ Buckskin Gulch
The Tech: Canon 5D, 17-40mm f/4 L @ 22mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/14, 8 sec

Continuing down the canyon we eventually found ourselves at the Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon confluence. This is where our feet really started to get wet, the guide books estimate you cross the Paria river about 300 times, and I’ll believe that! Doing this in mid March meant that the water was truly freezing.. colder than the stagnant pools, thank goodness for neoprene socks! Now that the canyon opened up the trees started appearing. We were too early for the cottonwoods’ green leaves, but the barren twigs made for equally intriguing scenes.


“Cottonwoods Dancing” ~ Paria Canyon
The Tech: Canon 5D, 70-200mm f/4 L @ 168mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/32, 5 sec
Notes: The ‘legless’ tree’s bottom section is cleverly hidden behind another tree. I used f/32 to get all the depth of field I could get.


“Paria’s Gray Hairs” ~ Paria Canyon
The Tech: Canon 5D, 70-200mm f/4 L @ 75mm, tripod, single axis panorama head (3-shot panorama)
Exposure: iso 100, f/11, 0.8 seconds
Processing: This was a tough scene to process. In order to separate the busy elements I boosted the luminosity of the blue channels a lot, this made the tree stand out against the orange canyon wall as I remember seeing it.

And that about concludes that journey, so now I have a rather random collection of scenes to share.


“Twisted” ~ The Wave, Coyote Buttes N, AZ
Another take, this time black and white, on the strange passageway.

“Stone from Heaven” ~ Glacier National Park
The flowers were in full bloom, the sky was turning a light pink, and there, in the middle of the fields, was a giant pink rock.


“Melt!” ~ Glacier National Park
Huddled in the cold snowy cave I experimented with a variety of shutter speeds, and finally settled on a blend of some slower (1.3 sec) and several faster (1/60th sec) exposures using the lighten blend mode in photoshop. This let me retain the fresh and exciting splatter of the water, in addition to having the cohesive waterfall structure of a longer exposure.


“Sunset Splash” ~ North Cascades
From my trip to Twin Lakes with a friend of mine, the clouds really felt like cooperating on this one, and splash of water added the kind of abstract dynamic I like.


“Fall Dogwoods” ~ Sequoia National Park
This is from the one trip I did manage to squeeze in between classes. My parents live about an hour from here, so we went out for a hike in the same grove as my previous dogwood/sequoia images. To my surprise I was there right on time for this particular colorful dogwood, and the light even cooperated (after waiting for the clouds to cover the sun).


“Flowers for Giants” ~ Del Norte State Park
I had scouted out this location, a few miles from the road, and as soon as I saw the fog rolling in a nearly sprinted out in hopes of catching some fog. Unfortunately this spot seemed to have a ‘no fog’ spell cast over it, so I made due by breathing some condensation on the lens to at least give some sense of moisture to the scene.


Yellow-Rumped Warbler ~ Eaton Canyon, CA
Unfortunately the birding has been a little disappointing in recent weeks, but occasionally I’ve found a cooperative little guy, and here’s one of them.


Black Phoebe ~ Eaton Canyon, CA
And here’s the other one.. the background colors made this one stand out for me, such delicate colors.

And I think that’s about the extent of the successful mining I did. In the next few weeks I have some adventures planned, so hopefully I’ll be sharing new images and stories from various California destinations!

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2 Responses to Mining the Archives

  1. carol says:

    wow thanks, you’ve made my day! love and happy holidays – by the looks of your class work you’re deserving!

  2. Sharon DeHayes says:

    A pleasant surprise to have an update from you, Floris. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    I enjoyed the photo from Sequoia National Park, as I grew up very near there in a small town called Springville.

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