Saturday, December 29, 2012

Venice - Grand Vistas

Venice, The Incomparable

a photo of la campanile in piazza san marco venice by daniel south
La Campanile, Piazza San Marco

a photo of piazza san marco (saint mark's square) in venice by daniel south
Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square)

a photograph of gondolas in venice italy by daniel south
Gondolas Awaiting Passengers

a photo of san giorgio maggiore in venice by daniel south
The Church and Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

a photo of a bridge over a quiet canal in venice by daniel south
Bridge on a Quiet Canal

a photo of the grand canal in venice italy by daniel south
View along the Grand Canal

a photo of the dome in the church of santa maria della salute in venice by daniel south
Dome, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

a photograph of gondolas on the grand canal in venice by daniel south
Gondolas on the Grand Canal

        Nikon D800

        Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G
        Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2012 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In The Wake Of The Storm

The Mid Atlantic Coast Recovers

I would like to extend a special holiday wish to all of the residents of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut who endured the unfathomable fury of Hurricane Sandy.

Whether the impact on your life was minor, moderate, or catastrophic, I want you to know that your sacrifices are appreciated and your struggles are not forgotten.

a large format photo of the barnegat light lighthouse in new jersey
Barnegat Lighthouse, Long Beach Island

May you and your families find joy and comfort this holiday season despite the extraordinary circumstances.

May you find the strength to endure the hardships that you face.

May you find the resources and the resolve to rebuild your communities in the coming months and years.

I look forward to visiting the stunningly beautiful Jersey Shore and the incomparable Mid Atlantic coastline as soon as the region is open again for business.  The sand and the sun, the food and the adventures that I have come to treasure over the decades will be available once again to all thanks to your dedication and determination.

Thank you and best wishes for a safe and blessed holiday season.

        Ebony SV45TE View Camera

        Nikkor-SW 90mm f/4.5

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2012 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Intimate Venice

Day To Day Life

Venice is one of the great architectural gems of Europe and of all the world.  Colorful, majestic structures uniquely situated in a quiet lagoon on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, canals, bridges, marinas - these are all iconic symbols of the city.

But Venice is also a city of people. Residents. Tourists. Employees and business owners. As they make their way through grand squares and tiny streets they face and overcome obstacles just as we all do in day to day life.

a photo of flooding in venice
Ready For High Water

On the day that I arrived in Venice, many of the streets were flooded.  Everyone was walking around in boots.  Well, everyone except for those of us unfortunate enough to arrive when the boots were sold out.  We stuck to the high ground until the tide receded.

a photo of rising flood water in venice italy
Rising Water, Venice

Of course some residents didn't have to worry about getting their feet wet. They had other means of transportation.

a photo of a venice gondolier relaxing
Relaxing Gondolier

Once on higher ground, one can catch up with the neighbors.

a caffe on a quiet canal in venice
Caffe on a Quiet Canal, Venice

Share a leisurely lunch with friends.

a photo of people having lunch on a sunny piazza in venice
Lunch on a Sunny Piazza - Venice

Spend some quality time with the children.

a photo of a mother and child playing in a sunny square in venice italy
Fun With Mom - Venice

And enjoy life until the tide rolls back in.

a photo of venice at high tide
Venice At High Tide

        Nikon D800

        Nikon 24-70 f/2.8G

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2012 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 26, 2012

Election Day

Vote - It's Important!

You don't need to Occupy Wall Street in order to make a change.

You don't need to sleep in a park and get yourself arrested.

Just occupy a voting booth for about sixty seconds.

That's all it takes.  You'll be done before you know it.

Occupy Wall Street - Zuccotti Park - New York, 2011


Just get out and do it.

Or you can just sit back and let other people make all of the important decisions for you.

        Canon EOS 5D Mark II

        Canon 24-105 f/4L IS

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2012 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Death Valley - Racetrack Playa

The Amazing Sliding Rocks

Welcome to the Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park, home to a most peculiar natural phenomenon - rocks that apparently move around by themselves.

The flat, clay-like surface of the playa was once the bottom of a mountain lake.  Rocks tumble from the surrounding slopes onto the playa as a result of common erosion. But here is where the mystery begins - the rocks continue to move along the level surface of the playa.

Mysterious Sliding Rocks!

Pebbles will slide across the playa with the slightest breeze. But much larger stones - some the size of a microwave over and weighing hundreds of pounds - will move under certain conditions. Even more surprisingly, the rocks leave behind mysterious trails that mark the direction and distance of their travels.

a photo of a sliding rock at the racetrack in death valley
Rocks Fall From The Mountains...And Keep Going!

Trails in the playa can be up to a mile in length, but no one has ever seen any of the larger rocks move.

a photo of long trails left by sliding rocks on the racetrack in death valley
Long Trails, Racetrack Playa, Death Valley NP

What's the secret?  How do rocks move unassisted along a level surface?

In rainy weather, the playa becomes soft and slippery.  Visitors are asked not to walk on the playa when it's wet, because the impressions left by their footprints can last for years. (Unfortunately, some visitors fail to follow these guidelines.) This explains how the moving rocks leave an impression in a normally rigid surface.

Does the moistened playa become slippery enough to allow the wind to push heavy rocks across its surface?  No one knows for certain, but this would seem to be the most reasonable explanation.  The surrounding mountains form a channel where wind is accelerated.

a photo of a rock making a curved path at the racetrack in death valley
Ha ha! I bet you didn't see me move!

Would you like to explore the Racetrack Playa for yourself?  Some preparation will be required.  Firstly, as with most of Death Valley, exploration in the summer months is strongly discouraged.  The heat is extremely dangerous, and distances are significant.  It can take a long time for help to reach a stranded hiker or motorist.  Perhaps too long.

Secondly, you'll need a sturdy vehicle.  To reach the Racetrack Playa you'll need to drive thirty-plus miles on one of the roughest washboard roads I've ever encountered.  The rocks on this road will quickly shred the tires on your rental car.  Your best bet is to rent a Jeep with the right kind of tires.

a photo of photographer daniel south at the racetrack playa in death valley national park
I Could Go For A Nice Hot Shower About Now

I need to add a cautionary note here.  Keep your camera, lenses, phone, tripod, water bottles, food containers, and all other supplies in tightly closed bags while driving along the washboard roads.  The dust in this area adheres to everything, and your vehicle will kick up a lot of dust.  It stuck to my water bottles as though it had been glued on.  Don't expose your valuables and your tech gadgets.  Keep them in cases, and wrap the cases up in heavy garbage bags.

After 26 miles of pounding washboard, you'll arrive at a curiously decorated sign post known as Teakettle Junction.  Only six more miles to the playa, but it's the roughest part of the trip.

a photo of teakettle junction in death valley by daniel south
I Wonder Why They Call It Teakettle Junction

There are no comfort facilities at the Racetrack, but there's a campsite a few miles down the road.  There, you'll find a lone portable toilet which I've fondly nicknamed 'The Outhouse of Last Resort'.  You would be well advised to bring along your own supply of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

a photo of an outhouse in death valley
The Outhouse of Last Resort

If everything goes well you can enjoy one of the world's great mysteries, grab a number of memorable shots, and look forward to another long drive on washboard roads, all in a day's adventure.

a photograph of a brilliant sunset at the racetrack in death valley
Racetrack Playa at Sunset, Death Valley National Park

        Canon EOS 5D Mark II

        Canon 24-105 f/4L IS
        Canon TS-E24 f/3.5L II

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2012 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved