Tag Archives: storm

Power of Yosemite National Park

It was almost the visit that never was. I had spent 7 blissful magical days at Death Valley. Next stop was Yosemite but all accommodation was nearly sold out and all Sierra Mountain passes still snowed over. I was looking at a 2 day long detour of what is about 70 miles as the crow flies to cross the Sierra Mountain. Any roof over my head at Yosemite was going to come with a hefty price tag. It would also come with dramatically lower temperatures than Death Valley and I love the heat. I eventually relented and decided under no circumstances could I miss shooting and seeing Yosemite National Park, the hallowed grounds of Ansel Adams. I made the right decision as no classic Ansel image could prepare me for the power of Yosemite National Park.

First Contact

As I drive from the Southwest into the Sierra Mountains my jaw is already on the floor of my Nissan Spaceship. This landscape defines the word stunning. Huge granite walls flank my car and a very loud and violent Merced River provides the soundtrack. Once into Yosemite National Park I nearly drive my Nissan in the river when all towering 910 meters of El Capitan enters my world. No image can truly capture how much awe this granite monolith inspires. No amount of previous exposures through photos takes away from First Contact with Yosemite.

The Image – Power of Yosemite

This is the best of my images from Yosemite. To me, Yosemite is all about drama, power and forces beyond human understanding. This valley was dramatically carved out by a glacier moving at the speed of…well a glacier. Forces beyond our comprehension created this larger than life valley. For drama I need more help from Mother Nature, clear blue skies will not do me well here. I concentrate, relax and fortunately Mother Nature obliges and I summon a dark violent rain storm on an otherwise sunny day. I create this image, Power of Yosemite:

Power of Yosemite - blogjpg

This is a stitch of 3 horizontal images. I spent about an hour enjoying this splendid view and watching the storm move across the valley while the sun played with light beams. I click the remote shutter when I see the sun lighting up Yosemite falls. This may look quite processed but I have only added some contrast and a bit more painting with light. Mother Nature did all the work, I just captured the very right moment of time when the sun lit up the perfect scene.

Visiting Yosemite National Park

I visited in the beginning of May before the peak season and I avoided the weekend. Still, Yosemite is very popular and was very crowded. I paid a fortune for a room in a lodge 8 km’s from the park. Several times driving the valley loop I came close to dying of frustration as I could not park anywhere and missed shots. This is not a desolate one on one with Mother Nature, there are tourists, trekkers, huge crowds and tour busses everywhere. Not to mention photographers. Do not think I have met so many photogs and photo clubs in one location nor seen so many photo-vests; a rather sad sight! Cars are becoming a real problem at Yosemite, there’s only so much space in the narrow valley. As I exited the park on a Saturday morning the cars queuing to get in stretched for miles down the mountain. This winter had heavy snow fall so there was much snow melt in the rivers and waterfalls. Unfortunately this also meant Glacier Point was still under 2 meters of snow and I do not have a really satisfying image of Half Moon Dome. I must return.

Yosemite Part II

This is one location I doubt I shall ever tire off. I must shoot a panorama from Glacier Point. I must capture Yosemite during a snow storm, despite my fear of snow. I shall bring a 4WD and camping gear. I must return for more Power of Yosemite.

Enjoy more images from Yosemite in my Valleys and Canyons USA gallery – more images to come: FlemmingBoJensen.com/gallery/usavalleyscanyons/

Week of Wonders

It has been a wonderful week of photography and I have been especially lucky with the light and weather. I was at Grand Canyon just as a snow storm hit. As the 3 hour storm moved on, the sun returned and the light was most special, the otherworldly storm sunlight that I love. Two days later I captured sunlight beams in the famous ‘slot canyons’ of Antelope Canyon and I caught a nice sunset at Horseshoe Bend. I spent several days at one of my dream locations, Monument Valley and the sunrise especially was fantastic but also the storm clouds the next day was something to see. On the way to Moab, Utah I experienced the great pueblo ruins ‘House on Fire’ in Mule Canyon. Then on to Arches and Canyonlands National Park, I knew little of them but they really delivered. Canyonlands is more impressive than Grand Canyon I reckon and on both days I had fantastic clouds due to snow storms. A week of wonders and the landscape here in the southwest US is simply stunning.

The weather changes so rapidly up here in Northern Arizona and in Utah. I sunbaked one day lying on some very hot rocks and two days later I chased snowstorms in Arches National Park! Today’s image is that snowstorm, the clouds were massive and gorgeous and sandstone works so well in this sort of light. Here’s a little teaser, larger stitched panorama to come:

arches snowstorm - blog

My perfect weather would be a hot tropical climate with Australian outback clouds (you know them when you see them) for sunrise. Followed by a clear sky for sun worshipping all day long! Then, energized by the sun, I should like a storm front to move in with some otherworldly light and dramatic clouds. Keep the sun exposed though so it can light up the clouds at sunset. Then, post dusk, clear the sky again for some star trail shots and keep the temperature warm all night for nighttime shooting under a full moon. Too much to ask?

Having chased snow storms for two days in Arches and Canyonlands I had my shots and could take the cold no longer. There was frost on my car this morning, now that does not work for me! So I have moved south again, to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona, where it is warmer. Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite etc. coming up! I look forward to Death Valley, my kind of place and my kind of temperature.

Days on the road

It is 1.30 am and I find myself in Moab, Utah. And it is probably a bad time for blogging but sleep escapes me tonight. I went to bed at 00.15am and then proceeded to have a strange dream and woke up instantly. So here I am; Wide Awake in America. I am a little tired of sleeping in strange motel beds, but the landscapes here are stunningly magical. Every day as I drive through the Southwest I am continually surprised by how beautiful the land here is.

Earlier today I had a bit of a blissful being in the wild moment. Going by directions received by fellow photographers I found the trailhead to Mule Canyon in Utah, the trail leading to House on Fire anasazi ruins. A location I really wanted to visit. I hiked the mile and a half along the wash in brilliant sunshine and arrived at the ruins with plenty of time to shoot them while they are still in the shade. I was somewhat ecstatic that I have found them. They must be in the shade for the ‘fire’ effect caused by reflected sunlight onto the rock above the ruins. The effect is quite simply surreal and really spectacular when photographed at just the right angle to catch the reflections. I shot every conceivable angle and then sat on a rock worshipping the sun for an hour. Just me and not a soul around me and not a sound. Being there. In the moment. In nature. Truly content not wanting to move.

Later I arrived in Moab, Utah and checked into my hotel room. I drove to Arches National Park to shoot the sunset. There is a sand storm blowing but it is still nicely warm. Just as the light show is about to happen Mother Nature drops a large cloud in front of the sun, but the clouds are still great. 17mm wideangle pointed almost straight up with just some gorgeous red rocks in the foreground and I have my shot. I steer my black spaceship back to base.

It has been one of those days. Days on the road. From magical moments in America’s nature to waking up in a motel bed, an inner as much as an outer journey. That sums up the present life of this travelling photographer.  An image that sums it up? Well, since I am saving the hero shots for my new website, here is what I really love about this US road trip. Simply driving down a back road in gorgeous Navajo Country, Arizona and shooting a dramatic cloudscape at sunset with a storm approaching over the red soil. A bit of magic for just a few minutes, what this is all about. (There is a stitched version of this that will be the final version, this is is a quick preview).

navajo storm - blog

Judgment Day

“There’s a storm coming” says the boy. “I know” says Sarah Connor at the end of one of my favourite movies – the sci-fi masterpiece The Terminator.

It wasn’t exactly followed by a nuclear launch and machines taking over the world, but the storm that hit Copenhagen on a Thursday night a few weeks ago still had a “end of the world” feel to it. A very dramatic cloudscape preceded the storm just at sunset and I picked a spot on the harbour with a wide open view of the sky and captured this:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Copenhagen Harbour Storm Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Standing at the harbour shooting this and watching the storm coming with not a soul to be seen anywhere I felt like saying another favourite Terminator quote “There’s not much time left in the world”!

The shot is 6 vertical images stitched in PTgui. I used a neutral density filter to lengthen exposure but then forgot I had the iso at 200…bugger! I wish the 5D would display iso in the viewfinder! The original shot had a sky that was more bluish and purple but I didn’t really like this colour and felt it didn’t go well with the orange colour of the sunset. So I desaturated most of the blues and cyans and then added a bit of a dark brown gradient fill layer to the clouds just to warm the gray clouds slightly. I feel the orange and black go much better together here. As the finishing touch I used my Wacom tablet to paint some light onto the buildings and added a couple of vignettes in Photoshop.

The end result is a dramatic stormy cloudscape view of Copenhagen – Judgment Day style without the robots though!

Summer Storm in Copenhagen

The month of May brought us some incredibly good Spring weather, 347 hours of sunshine (a new record) and temperatures up to 29,5c degrees. I know, a chilly day in the Australian outback but it’s all relative as someone once said.

The month of May brought very few photos though, sunshine from a clear blue sky lends itself well to trips to the beach but not to my style of photography – dramatic and special light! I love Summer but also need some drama light to keep my photography fix going (I’m an addict). Like always, I want everything! My new favourite saying: I want patience and I want it now!

A dramatic change means beach trips are now out and photo trips are in again with everything from rain and hail storms to sunshine thrown into the weather mix presently! Thursday night in Copenhagen some amazing alien looking light and cloudscapes chose to visit us and fortunately I was ready. I shot a series of shots at two locations and this is the first of them, my permanent spot at lake Peblinge on my way home. It’s 10.23pm (sun sets at around 10pm) and a 20 second exposure captures this – click for large size:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Summer Storm in Copenhagen Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It’s the sort of shot that gets better the bigger it is but I hope you still get a sense of how awe-inspiring the light was. It’s also somewhat otherworldly and I feel like doing a version with a UFO in there and Scully and Mulder in a boat on the lake – the truth is out there! I have more photos to come from this X-Files cloudscape night so maybe the next one will feature an Unidentified Flying Object!

Lightroom 2.0

This shot was developed in the beta version of Adobe Lightroom 2.0. I have recently started to use this as my RAW development tool and I must say I like it a lot and I like it a lot more than Lightroom 1.0. They fixed a lot of the things that annoyed me in 1.0 and added some incredible new features. Adobe purchased the Danish company Pixmantec and their product Rawshooter a short time before 1.0 was released but had no time to incorporate features etc. into Lightroom 1.0. With 2.0 I think the Pixmantec boys have had a lot more inputs and Lightroom 2.0 really feels like a lot more like a mix of the best of Rawshooter and Lightroom to me. I really like it and reckon Lightroom 2.0 will be my new RAW developer of choice. I did almost everything in Lightroom including the vignette effect, I only used Photoshop for sharpening and very little healing and painting with light. I still wish it was faster and more responsive, Rawshooter runs rings around Lightroom in terms of speed!

Photographer, sunlover, stormchaser, weatherman

I miss the sun. I miss the tropical heat. I miss light. Any light that isn’t gray will do. I wasn’t build for the cold dark Northern Winter (did I mention I also hate snow?) so this is clearly not my best time of the year! The reward for getting through these Winter days up here in Scandinavia is the long lovely Summer days. They do seem awfully far away at the moment and a Qantas flight down under seems an awfully attractive response to Winter. Either that or hibernation until Spring dominates our weather.

As a landscape and cityscape shooter I study the weather and especially the clouds constantly. I look for extraordinary light and sky when I shoot my landscapes and cityscapes. First thing I do when I travel to a new place is note the time and the place where the sun rises and sets. You can’t predict extraordinary light but you can certainly improve your changes of catching it if it happens!

Extraordinary light doesn’t mean it cannot be very cloudy and the sun doesn’t even have to be out. The sky and the light just have to have some drama! 100% sunny summer days with no clouds are lovely – but not good for my photography either. I need dramatic light! The worst days though are the totally overcast totally gray days which we unfortunately get a lot of in the Danish Winter. The light and sky in these days are so dull, boring and depressing it’s like all the colours and light in the world was stolen by a black hole in the ‘Verse. Days like that my camera does not get a work-out. I need my extraordinary light fix and will chase it forever!

Here are some examples of my never ending quest for extraordinary light and as you can see cloudy days work fine as long as they’re dramatic!
(as always, click to see large size on my website)

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Storm approaching Brisbane. Some very dramatic clouds passing us quickly.

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Winter Sunset in Copenhagen. Just after sunset and the few sunny days here in Winter can provide some nice colours

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Just a perfect clear warm sunny day on Fraser Island – but with nice fluffy clouds

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Hail storm in Copenhagen. A unique shot on a unique day, I have yet to see this sort of storm in Copenhagen again. Half the sky was pitch black, the other half was clear and allowed the setting sun (behind me) to light up the buildings.

Well – I’m off to look at either Qantas flights or hibernation possibilities!

Stormchasing in Brisbane

“Everywhere you go – always take the weather with you” goes the classic song from aussie band Crowded House and so far I have done just that. The first day I got to Brisbane it was cloudy, windy and only 22-23 degrees (bloody freezing cold when you come from tropical Cairns!). The next day it was warm and sunny and as Spring has really hit Brisbane the temperature and humidity has gone up every day since with some 33-34 degree days! So I have indeed brought the weather with me. Spring in Brisbane has added something I didn’t bring: thunderstorms! It’s a natural part of Spring in the tropics and the last few days have brought some impressive storms late afternoon and some much needed rain for Brissy.

Storms and the dramatic cloud formations and lightning are excellent for photography – just make sure you can quickly find some cover so you and your equipment doesn’t drown and/or get hit by lightning! Tropical storms can come and go fast! I managed to chase and catch a Brisbane thunderstorm the other day at sunset and here’s a one hour sequence (as always click on picture to see large size):

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

5.33 pm – sunset, something is going on in Sky Theater

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.03 pm – a storm definitely on it’s way!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.10 pm – storm is here – run Forest, run for cover now!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

6.30 pm – I am safe under a roof at the Eagle Street Pier shooting lightning

The shot at 6.10pm was shot just as the rain was coming – I ran for cover and made it to the Eagle Street Pier just as the very heavy rain hit. It was a fairly impressive storm; it raged for about 30 minutes and then it was gone as quickly as it appeared. It was heaps of fun chasing and shooting it, from where I shot I knew I could get to cover in 2 minutes so no worries. Also very cool to get shots with actual lightning in it, a first for me. I know it’s not the worlds largest bolt of lightning but hey it’s there and I captured it and feel I can now add ‘Stormchaser’ to my business card!

There are a few more new Brisbane shots in my gallery.

Randomness

  • My hair was fairly long when I got here, it grows fast as it is and I think the sun here helped it even more (and bleached it as well). So it was longer than ever and I had two choices: get a haircut or buy a surfboard (to go with my long bleached surfer hair). I opted for the haircut. Now; of course I made the mistake of saying the words “it’s too long; you can cut a fair bit off” to a hair dresser ‘cos they just love doing very short David Beckham style cuts and I am no Beckham. Bugger! Now it is too bloody short. I should have gone for the surfboard. Grow hair, grow!
  • These are tough times. The Australian national Rugby team (called The Wallabies) has been playing in the Rugby World Championship in France. Now, no one plays Rugby like the Aussies and The Wallabies are the best bloody Rugby team in the world bar none strewth! Nothing short of winning the finals is acceptable; actually Australia should just be named World Champs of all time. Unfortunately, real life got it the way and last Saturday Australia lost to England in the quarter final. Not only did the Wallabies lose in the quarter finals…but to England. No no no no 😦 These are indeed hard times. Now; the only way to deal with this is the way Australians always deal with any defeat in any sport – complete denial!!! “No that never happened, we never lost to England, England can’t play rugby!”

Quote of the day:

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it” – Flemming Bo Jensen

I take credit for this one 🙂 I know I probably didn’t invent it but I’ve used it heaps especially at work!