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Video From Death Valley Trip

If you're a regular here at my blog, you may remember this post from back in November detailing my trip to The Racetrack in Death Valley National Park. Well during that trip, my friend documented our journey using a GoPro HD Camera and compiled the footage into an awesome short film. Check it out!

[vimeo width="550" height="309"]http://vimeo.com/39350321[/vimeo]

Wood’s Cove Waves

Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

We've been getting some decent skies here in Southern California lately. As I've said before, the transitions between summer to fall and winter to spring typically serve up the best skies around these parts. I was lucky enough to have some spare time last Friday to head down to the beach and get some photos.

I decided to switch things up a bit and try a beach I'd never photographed before. That's always a gamble because, being unfamiliar with the area, it can be hard to judge how crowded the beach will be, where exactly the sun will set in relation to the foreground subjects and whether or not the angle I want will be possible.

But the good news is that I'm a student of my own teachings...and I like to teach the importance of scouting a location beforehand in order to get comfortable with it before committing to a sunset. This reduces unknowns and misjudgments when it comes time to get down to business. Having scouted this beach several days earlier, I was pretty confident where to point my camera once the sun worked its magic.

I played a lot with a slow shutter speed on the waves to catch different patterns. All in all, I took about 2 dozen shots of this same exact composition. Each had a slightly or drastically different shape and texture to the waves. I thought I'd share 3 of them with you here. The pictures aren't hugely different since they are the same composition, but I think the different look of the waves create very different moods in each shot. I still can't make up my mind as to which one I like best.

 Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

Sunset at Wood's Cove in Laguna Beach, CA

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park

It was my birthday this past Monday (the big two-five) and to celebrate, I took a day off from work and went out to Joshua Tree National Park to off-road, enjoy the change of scenery and get some photos.

The weather was rough with lots of cloud cover, some rain, some hail and strong winds. So, the light wasn't exactly phenomenal, which made getting decent photos pretty much impossible. Gray skies over the desert just don't make for great shots. But I still managed to check out Keys View, which is a high point in the Little San Bernardino Mountains that overlooks the desert cities below.

The view was gorgeous, the temperature was just above freezing and the wind was biting. Here's what I got:

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Due to the heavy cloud cover, the sunset was basically non-existent, so I didn't get any sunset photos. But the real fun came on the drive home along the 10 Freeway.

As I drove along the 10, the heavy rains turned in to snow right around Banning, CA. For those unfamiliar with the area, Banning is a desert city at only about 2400 feet above sea level. Snow is not a common occurrence here, to say the least.

I love me some snow...and I really love me some snow when it's coming down in areas with palm trees and cactus. So, I pulled off the freeway to get some video and photos of the unusual weather. Unfortunately, it was completely dark by this point and Banning isn't exactly...how do you say this...uh, scenic. I did the best I could with what I had, but the photos from Banning won't be anything I hang on my walls. Still, though, it was fun getting some pictures of palm tress covered in snow.

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

And here's a quick video of the snowfall taken from my iPhone.

[vimeo width="550" height="309"]http://vimeo.com/37772834[/vimeo]

All in all, the trip and the freak weather made for a fun, memorable b-day.