HDR on the Cloudy Windy Mogollon Rim

Tonight I worked on a few of the photos that I took on our recent camping trip.  These were all taken on the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona on September 8, 2010.  It just happened to be mostly cloudy, a little rainy and VERY windy that day.  I had taken my camera and the tripod with me to get some shots from the edge of the Rim near Woods Canyon Lake, but with the wind blowing so hard, I knew that it was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get any decent HDR images from the bracketed sets.  The tree limbs, grasses, and flowers were swaying back and forth so wildly that it’s impossible to get them perfectly aligned in a single image.  Heck, even the clouds were moving so quickly across the sky that the motion was obvious in the HDR image.

At first, I wasn’t even going to fool with processing these shots, but then I started thinking….the rugged rocks and boulders in the foreground of the pictures weren’t moving.  Perhaps a little ghosting in the foliage would just add some interesting texture to the image.  Well, at least that’s how I reasoned with myself when I produced these images tonight.  They were all done in Photomatix Pro, with post-processing in Paintshop Pro X3.  Enjoy!

Mogollon Rim 2010.09.08_007

Mogollon Rim 2010.09.08_006

Mogollon Rim 2010.09.08_005

Mogollon Rim 2010.09.08_004

Mogollon Rim 2010.09.08_003

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Nature Calls at Sunrise

On the last morning of our camping trip, temperatures had dropped into the high 30’s.  We were snug in our sleeping bags with the flannel inserts, inside our dome  tent, where it was nice and toasty.  But when Nature calls, you just have to get out of that warm sleeping bag, put on your shoes, and leave the tent to answer the call.

So, that’s how I happened to be outside the tent just as the sun was rising through the trees at the back of our campsite. I was able to grab the camera and get a few handheld shots from several different angles, trying to capture the glow of the early morning sunlight on the tiny flowers  in the foreground.

Sunrise in the Forest

I took this shot in raw NEF format, and processed it to JPG in Paintshop Pro X3. I used Local Tone Mapping to bring out a little more detail in the bark of the trees, and I adjusted the brightness and contrast slightly.

Sometimes the call of Nature can be a beautiful thing!

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Hey, Alvin!

Ok, I just can’t resist the “cute animal” shot.  When we were camping at Canyon Point last week, we were visited by a variety of wildlife during our stay, including squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, horned toads, and an assortment of birds and insects.  The chipmunks are my favorite.  They are a little more shy than the squirrels, but they are inquisitive enough to sneak up under your chair if you’re eating something that they think you might share with them.

Hey, Alvin!

This guy had found a safe burrow under a tree stump that had been burned during the last wildfire that came through the area two or three years ago. He let me get close enough to get a few shots with the telephoto zoom, but he was definitely keeping a close eye on me!

The photo was shot in raw NEF format, then processed to JPG in Paintshop Pro X3. I bumped up the contrast, used some Local Tone Mapping, and saturated the colors a little bit, as the raw file was just a bit washed out.

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