Sunday, February 15, 2015
Newest release, "Owachomo" from D. "Bodhi" Smith
Here is my newest composition entitled, "Owachomo." I captued it a couple nights ago at Natural Bridges National Monument in the middle of Utah. To see the full image, you might need to click on the image. (btw, this is another LONG post). This image is also dedicated to my good friend's sister who just recently passed away the night after I captured this image...He stated it was a perfect image to symbolize her going up to the heavens (Jeff, this one is for your sister and please accept my humble condolences once again).
Sometimes my life is stranger than fiction...following here is a mega strange story of what happened to me while I was capturing this image.
Crazy story: the Dude and I hiked down to Owakomo Bridge about 2 hrs before sunset at 4pm and stayed until 10pm when the stars were brightest and the Milky Way appeared perfectly over top of the bridge and at the same time reflecting in the pool in front of me...
I chose to hike down so early so that I could scout the area and set up cairns (stacks of rocks that are like bread crumbs for a hiker) for my route back in the dark because I've never been there before and wanted to be extra sure the Dude and I could safely find our way back to the main trail... especially since there was some scrambling involved on some steep rocks to get down into the dry wash and then back up about 20ft again to this vantage point overtop of the pool of water...
It all went great as planned: had perfect stars to photograph; got to spend a beautiful sunset and a few hours under the brightest Milky Way I've ever witnessed; I was spending quality time with my muse, the Dude; I was on a beautiful hike in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Utah under a Natural Bridge that most people never see...perfect.
After I was done shooting and repacked all of my camera gear, I began to head back. My network of cairns to mark my path in the dark under stars worked brilliantly to reunite us safely to the main trail...but the steep hike back up to the truck made me quite winded (Dude was leashed and literally dragging me). Damn, he's in so much better shape than I am right now, especially with me fighting this flu cough thing that I have...but we got back to the truck at the top of the lookout feeling absolutely great about this fabulous experience.
So here is the inane-weird part. A few feet away as I approached my Xterra, I noticed something on my truck's hood and scattered things under my windshield wipers that sort of looked like small branches. I quickly realized it was bird crap all over my truck hood, and it was everywhere. Great.
Upon closer inspection, those were not small branches, they were instead the thin metal strips that run along the length of the rubber in the wiper blades. My windshield wipers WERE shredded like they had been badly abused and became a very old set of windshield wipers. I was really cold, very tired, and this was the last thing I really wanted to have to deal with, especially since I had a new truck. At first, I was furious with what I saw in front of me. This is a brand spanking new loaded 2015 Nissan Xterra I just purchased in January.
So with my judgement clouded by anger, my first reaction was that some idiot had bad wipers and swapped them out with mine. Then common sense set it. Because, why in the world would a thief put their old torn apart wipers back on my Xterra? It just didn't really add up. I was perplexed.
Then, when I got in my truck to head back to my campsite, I noticed my side mirrors were all screwed up...they were not bumped out of place, the mirrors themselves were all pushed in...really, what in the world? I gave it all some deep thought as I drove the short distance back to camp...
So... My brand new truck now has no wipers, and I find myself literally in the middle of nowhere in one of the more remote places in the entire United States. I can't use my wipers to clean my bug-riddin dirty windshield or they will scratch the windshield...so, the mystery remains, what happened to them and why the messed up side mirrors? Was someone messing with me?
I put more thought into it and then I remembered seeing a warning sign posted on the bulliten board at the park visitor center earlier that day about ravens in the area, but I didn't read it (of course, why should I? Dolt=Me)... I put all of the different pieces of evidence together in my mind and thought some more. So, did birds eat the rubber off of my windshield wipers? And then try to get at the rubber in my side mirrors?
The mystery would have to wait till morning, I was tired, in dire need of some sleep, and I just didn't feel like driving up to the visitor center in the middle of night. It could wait until morning.
So the next morning, I stopped by the visiter center. Sure enough, that warning about Ravens that I did not read stated that if you're down underneath the Natural Bridges for any extended period of time, to be sure to take your windshield wiper blades off of your vehicle. Ravens in the area had been witnessed messing with windshield wipers on parked vehicles. So, if wipers were left on an unattended vehicle for an extended period of time, there was a high risk of the ravens tearing them apart.
Really?! You have got to be kidding! Who in the world would have the foresight to think to take their wiper blades off of their vehicle before they went on a long hike? Well, with this weird situation happening to me, I guess I do now wink emoticon
So the mystery was solved. It was NOT an inconsiderate self-absorbed thief stealing my wiper blades and then rearranging my side mirrors to mess with my mind, at least not one that was human anyway. I had devious ravens in the middle of nowhere eat my windshield wiper blades...birds with much bigger-than-normal bird-brains did this. Wow. Truly crazy stuff like this only happens to me I think... wink emoticon
Goofy wierd, eh?
The next day, I did end up stopping at the Walmart in Page, Arizona so I could buy new wiper blades for my truck and hose the bird crap off my hood.
Of course, I really really dislike devilish ravens even more now..."Nevermore" will I leave my windshield wipers on my truck for a long hike in Utah I guess. wink emoticon
So, what you see before you here is the image I took while the ravens were eating my windshield wiper blades....
Without planning, this composition could not have happened (unless someone was just crazy lucky)...conditions were perfect for this image to be possible and it will be quite some time before all of those variables align again. This is yet another example of what I call "Planned Chance" in photography.
There was a perfect alignment a couple nights ago of a deep and dark Milky Way over top of Owakomo Bridge with close to a new moon cycle under crisp cold cloudless skies (gonna be a long while before it aligns overtop to the due north like this again)....no winds what-so-ever to keep the trees sharp....there still is water in the big pool to its south down below in the dry wash that will dry up soon without more rain....pre-scouting to find this elevated vantage point about 20ft above the pool to capture deeper reflections....and cold conditions to help limit some of the color noise pollution in the image (it was 20°F and I was freezing my rear off!)...
Result: A reflection of the stars and Milky Way in the pool, along with the dark shadow of the bridge reflecting in the pool, and then a big giant long Milky Way up above the natural bridge.
You know I have to be charged up about a pic to process it while I am still on the very trip I shot it during...
To create this portrait view panoramic composition, this is actually two images shot back to back (remember stars move pretty fast) at identical camera settings and then photomerged together to create a 1:2.5 ratio
Camera settings: ISO-2500, f/1.4 at 24mm for 15 seconds. I selected the higher ISO (2x higher than my usual star settings) so that I could better illuminate the bridge and rocks around the pool (with out light painting) as well as to better catch the stars reflected in the pool...
I kept the title simple and named the composition after the bridge itself, "Owachomo," which means "rock mound" in Hopi... Hope you like it.
I hope this message and image finds you well.
D. " Bodhi "
#Dolica #LeeFilters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #f/1.4 #BodhiSmith#LongExposure #expressionist #Impressionist #Surreal