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Springtime in the Smokies is always a great time to photograph. During the recent JKPW workshop, we had perfect conditions. The streams were flowing, the green color of the trees was brilliant and the temperatures were pleasant.

Even on top of Clingman’s Dome, the winds were still for a wonderful sunrise.

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This year we photographed Sparks Lane, in the Cades Cove area, from the opposite direction as seen in most photographs of this well known road. It is just as nice in both directions.

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I had the great opportunity to visit the Charleston, SC area this month. It’s a beautiful location, especially in the spring. The flora is bursting out everywhere and the warming temperatures makes you head straight to the great beaches. The image above was taken under the pier at Folly Beach as the morning sun climbed behind the clouds.

A visit to Magnolia Plantation is always a pleasure. The majestic trees create such wonderful graphic images. Getting to shoot with a fun group of photographers (JKPW) made this trip a real delight.

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  • April 26, 2015 - 11:59 am

    Russ Barnes - Mike – As hard as it is to accept, your work keeps getting better and better. Just when I see a shot that I think can’t be topped, you post another one that proves me wrong. You have an amazing eye.

  • April 26, 2015 - 12:09 pm

    Mike Walker - Why thank you Mr. Barnes! Hope all is well.

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Looking out my window at home, watching the snow fall, it’s nice to think back to a couple of days ago when I was visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah with Jennifer King Photography Workshops. The weather there was surprisingly mild for February and it allowed for extended photography opportunities including some pleasant night photography.

The image above was taken at the Grand View Point in Canyonlands at sunrise. It is a spectacular vista overlooking the white-rimmed canyon below.

The shot below, while not particularly dramatic and an image that is iconic for Arches National Park, is a reminder to me of the challenging hike to reach this viewpoint. The view of Turret Arch through the North Window is amazing in person.

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We took advantage of the mild nights to photograph the stars while in Arches. The star trails below were taken under the Double Arch formation.

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Had a fun workshop in Death Valley National Park. November is such a great time to visit, the temperatures are in the 70’s and the days are shorter so the sunrises are later and the sunsets come earlier. Photographing the Mesquite Flat sand dunes is always a special treat and something I could do everyday. The shapes, colors and textures are ever changing as the sunlight creates dramatic graphic patterns.

Since sunset comes a little earlier, the group had several opportunities to shoot the night sky. Death Valley is one of the darkest places in the U.S. and the number of stars that you can see is startling for someone like me, who lives in an urban east coast area.

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One of the places that is not that well-known, at least it is not marked by any park maps, is the salt basin north of Furnace Creek. We were lucky to see water in the basin which provided some nice reflections of color and sky.

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Check out the upcoming 2015 Jennifer King Photography Workshops schedule at this link.

  • December 23, 2014 - 12:28 am

    Mike Pillows - You’re killing me brother…. one of the places that I have to wait until I retire. Once again your pics are fantastic!!!

  • December 23, 2014 - 12:38 am

    Mike Walker - Thanks Mike. Hope you get the opportunity to visit DV!

Sunrise through the Ice

I had the good fortune to spend a couple of weeks in Iceland this fall and was thrilled by the spectacular color in the landscape. It was a great JKPW workshop with many opportunities to photograph waterfalls, glacial ice, rainbows and the amazing northern lights. It’s cloudy and rainy quite often in Iceland but we had several clear nights to see the incredible display in the sky.

The image above was taken at sunrise on the southern coast of Iceland, near the mouth of the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon where chunks of ice float out into the Atlantic and wash up on the black sand beach.

This was my first opportunity to view the northern lights and they far, far exceeded my expectations. It was spell-binding to watch them light up the sky, transform into different shapes and intensities…you could not turn your gaze away from them.

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The northern lights weren’t the only light show available as we spotted 14 rainbows during the trip. This rainbow hovers over a small portion of the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe.

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The waterfall below is in the Þingvellir National Park and is called Öxarárfoss. Just one of the hundreds of waterfalls you can see throughout the landscape of Iceland.

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More images from the trip are located here. If you are interested in seeing this nature paradise with your own eyes, the next JKPW workshop in Iceland will be Sept. 12-10, 2015.

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