Moon Rise and Ice On A Salty Lake

Blue Hour Moon Rise

Moon rise Mono Lake, New Years Eve

New Years Eve moon rise at Mono Lake

2018 has already gotten off to a great start, as I enjoyed a great sunset at Mono Lake on New years Eve, then the “supermoon” moon rise at Mono Lake on New Years Day. The angles and timing of the moon rise vs. the sunset seemed to work out well for Mono Lake for both dates. On the first evening, the clouds interfered with the moon rise, but clearer skies to the west let the sun’s light through, for a great sunrise.

The second night, the moon was a little bright relative to the landscape as it rose, but the view of it was uninterrupted, so I was able to capture a nice sequence of moon rise shots as the moon rose over Mono Lake’s interesting “tufa” calcium carbonate rock formations.

One of the most fascinating details, particularly on the first night, was the ice forming on the surface of the lake. Temperatures were close to freezing, but Mono Lake is nearly 3X saltier than the ocean, so ice would not normally form on the lake at that temperature. Mono Lake’s tufa rock formations form underwater, where springs deliver calcium-laden water. I noticed in places where fresh water was upwelling to the surface, spreading out and then freezing as it cooled. Apparently in the winter when there is little or no wind to encourage mixing, the fresh and salt water does not necessarily mix well and the less dense fresh water rises tot he top and can freeze. You never know what interesting things you’re going to see next as you spend time outdoors!

Mono Lake Icy Sunset Reflection

Mono Lake Icy Sunset Reflection

The other photos from the sunset weren’t too shabby either. I’m so fortunate to live surrounded by such great scenery and weather!

Eastern Sierra landscape photography.

New Years Eve sunset reflection at Mono Lake, California.

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Sierra Crest Sunset layers

Smoke from a fire on the other side of the Sierra Nevada seemed to still be lingering in the air at sunset on this day.
Prints: http://www.jeffsullivan.smugmug.com/
#landscapephotography   #sunset   #easternsierra  +Jeff Sullivan Photography 

Sierra Crest Sunset layers – Smoke from a fire on the other side of the Sierra Nevada seemed to still be lingering in the air at sunset on this day.

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Sunset over Smith Valley

I've been busy in the past month shooting in Bodie several times, Yosemite, Death Valley, and Nevada, pursuing subjects like wildflowers, old buildings and rusty mining artifacts, lunar rainbows, the Milky Way and the Camelopardalid meteor shower.  Occasionally the weather calls me outside to pursue clouds and sunset.  This was a spur of the moment opportunity to chase some clouds at sunset over nearby Smith Valley, Nevada.  It had rained earlier in the day, so the unpaved roads required to reach this spot were soft and slick.  +Lori Hibbett and I barely made it out as clay mud caked onto my SUV's tires.  
#landscapephotography   #sunset   #Nevada   #nvmaglove  

Sunset over Smith Valley and Wellington, Nevada, late May, 2014.

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Santa Cruz Thanksgiving Sunset

Here's another shot from the sunset in Santa Cruz on Thanksgiving day last Thursday.  I was hoping that the tail from Comet ISON might swing around and jut into the twilight/evening sky, but the sunset was worth the trip without any added celestial sky show.  

Canon 70D
Canon 70 – 200mm f/4 IS L lens
handheld

Blog: www.JeffSullivanPhotography.com
See more photos in this California Coast album on G+: 
https://plus.google.com/photos/107459220492917008623/albums/5820410853915079521

#sunset #LandscapePhotography #CaliforniaCoast

Santa Cruz Thanksgiving Sunset

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Open for Business

The national parks may be closed, but there's a whole lot more you can go see (and take pictures of) in the Eastern Sierra!  These lenticular clouds were forming earlier this week at sunset, over Topaz Lake on the California/Nevada border.  

For more pictures of the rest of the State of Nevada, here's my Nevada album on G+: 
https://plus.google.com/photos/+JeffreySullivan/albums/5712642035357745425
   #weather   #landscapephotography   #sunset   #nevada   #nevadaphotography    #nvmaglove  

Lenticular clouds forming this week at sunset over Topaz Lake, in the Eastern Sierra on the California/Nevada border.

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Pfeiffer Beach Portal Sunset Photo: Before, After and Time-lapse

I watched a timelapse video I captured from this same sunset event, and I think I happened to find the same moment and splash... blue sky, orange sun and sunlight, blue light on the shaded waves and white foam.  What I find really interesting is that like in the image above, the splash has a mixture of direct faint orange light from the last bit of the sun, and the blue light from the sky, and the result is a more pink-magenta shade of orange.This is a fairly unique case where nearly all of the sun's evolving influence is shooting through the narrow cave.  A previous splash I caught just two photos earlier is much more orange.  It's amazing how lighting from all different directions can affect parts of an image, and for how short I time some of these effects can be!

Just before sunset, the sun’s last orange sunlight shines through the portal cave at Pfeiffer State Beach, for only a few weeks around the Winter solstice.

What I find really interesting is that like in the image above, the splash has a mixture of direct faint orange light from the last bit of the sun, and the blue light from the sky, and the result is a more pink-magenta shade of orange.This is a fairly unique case where nearly all of the sun’s evolving influence is shooting through the narrow cave.  A previous splash I caught just two photos earlier is much more orange.  It’s amazing how lighting from all different directions can affect parts of an image, and for how short I time some of these effects can be!

Of course many people looked at this images and couldn’t believe that it’s a fair representation of the actual event (not heavily Photoshopped), so here’s the original exposure, completely unedited:

Cameras produce unrealistic images in challenging lighting situations!

 

Under extreme lighting situations like this, the camera simply doesn’t react to the scene in a way even remotely similar to the way our eyes do.  Our eyes close down to darken the extremely bright areas, and our pupils dilate to lighten in the dark areas.  So we photographers do that key step in post-processing software, to help the result better match what we saw onsite.  That’s what I’ve done on this single exposure: lightened the whole image and especially the shadows, while darkening the brightest areas just like our eyes would.  With the exception of removing a couple of dust spots, it was all done as whole-photo operations, no area or detail was selectively lightened, darkened, or colored.  The goal was simply to restore the image to what is seen onsite in the last few moments of sunset light.  This sort of minor adjustment is easy, fast, and results in a far more realistic image than many other common or popular photo processing options these days (it’s particularly superior leaving the image straight out of the camera, unedited, in a result like the unrealistically camera-affected “before” example here).

Here’s a time-lapse I watched a timelapse video I captured from this same sunset event, and the same moment and splash… blue sky, orange sun and sunlight, blue light on the shaded waves and white foam, occurs about 17 seconds into it:

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