Yosemite Field Trip, Dec 2-5 2014

Field Trips

LPA members didn’t let cool weather nor raindrops on their lenses dampen their photographer’s spirit on the field trip at Yosemite National Park held from Dec. 2-5.

David and Chris Wilkins planning and co-ordination made great photos as easy as point, focus and shoot.  They scouted out some fabulous areas such as Tunnel View and Valley View, both of which were breath taking.  Holly Peskin also found some very interesting mushrooms in the forest that allowed us to hone our macro skills.

Another highlight of the trip was getting some amazing shots of the moon rising over Half Dome.   However, it took some timely cooperation from Mother Nature.  When the group arrived at Tunnel View both Half Dome and the snow-covered mountain beyond it (Clouds Rest) were socked in by clouds.  Then, just before the moon began to ascend, the clouds lifted and everyone was able to get some terrific pictures of the moon over Yosemite.

Others who participated were Nan and Brent Carder, Pam and Wayne Staley, Tina Crowe, Holly’s husband Sam and Sandi Lieder.

During the three day event the group had a wonderful lunch at the beautiful and historic Ahwahnee Hotel and enjoyed other meals at the food court, the Mountain Cliff Restaurant and the Mountain Room Lounge.

The rooms at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls were spacious, rustic and comfortable. We are already looking forward to a potential field trip to Yosemite National Park next year.

Owens Valley Field Trip, Sep 19-21 2014

Field Trips

Michael Carr
On a late summer weekend in September nine LPA members embarked on an adventure in the Owens Valley led by Mike Carr and Kurtiss Humphrey.  We met in Lone Pine on a Friday and proceed up, up, up to Whitney Portal.  Kurtiss shot a time-lapse sequence; his son flew his quadrocopter with a GoPro on board.  Others of us hiked up the falls to shoot the raging water and still others went downhill to shoot landscape and macro scenes.  We left there in late afternoon for the Alabama Hills where Mike took us on a tour of movie sites and places appropriate for sunset shots.  We dispersed to various locations to photograph the sunset over Mount Whitney and then adjourned for dinner at a new restaurant in Lone Pine, The Grill.

Matt Mahowald
After dinner, a number of us went to the Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills to photograph the Milky Way over the Arch. We experimented with lighting and even colored light sabers!

At dawn a number of us rose early and shot sunrise over Mount Whitney.  After breakfast and a little down time the group proceeded to Manzanar where the clouds were robust and the scenery magnificent.  Manzanar continues to update itself.  The Pleasure Park has been reconstructed after years of blowing sand had buried it.

Matt Mahowald
Again we dispersed, some to the Bristlecone Pines, some to Laws, some to nap.  We agreed to meet at the highlight destination at 5pm, CARMA.  Kurtiss was there first and secured entry for our group.  What an experience.  Although there were too many clouds for a good sunset shot it was grand to be able to photograph the telescopes from a variety of positions.  The clouds persisted after dark and prevented a Milky Way shot later that evening.  Lightning and rain cut the evening short but we all had a plethora of pictures.

A few hardy souls were out the next morning for the sunrise over Mount Whitney from the Alabama Hills.  Then a well-deserved breakfast and an easy drive home.

Many thanks to Mike and Kurtiss for leading us on this adventure.

View all the member images in the gallery.

Field Trip to Gubler Orchid Farm, Sep 13 2014

Field Trips

On a very hot Saturday in mid-September six LPA members ventured out across the desert past Landers to the Gubler Orchid Farm.  We had a grand tour of the orchid greenhouse replete with stunning orchids of all varieties. 
Carol Moss
Members were able to set up tripods and shoot in the showroom but shot hand held in the farming greenhouse.  After we had fully photographed the Gubler showroom we proceeded up the road to the Integraton and photographed the buildings and tried to catch their vibe.  Some of us concluded the trip with lunch at Panchos in Hesperia.  Look for orchid images this year.

View all the member images in the gallery.

San Fernando Mission Field Trip, June 12 2014

Field Trips

Dale Ware
On an early sunny Thursday morning nine of us gathered at Lucky Roxy’s café  (which was very good with prompt service and bottomless cup coffee) for breakfast before driving to the San Fernando Mission to join up with five more members. We took the obligatory group photo and then scattered to photograph the mission church inside as well as the grounds and historical artifacts. Nan Carder and Sue Craft were available for individual questions about camera settings and composition. The church interior was very dark giving us ample opportunity for HDR shots. In addition to the church there were rooms in low light with historical artifacts including saddles and an ancient wine cellar. There were millwheels, an exposed original stonewall, a fountain and gardens in the bright sun as well as contemporary murals outside.  Tripods got a workout. All of us had a good time and a chance to exchange information about cameras and settings.

Check out all the member images in the gallery.

Moonset Over Mt. Whitney, Feb 16-17 2014

Field Trips

David Wilkins
Yes, it was magnificent!  David and Chris Wilkins led us on a field trip to capture the full moon setting behind the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney (14,500 ft.).  February's full moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.  Even though we are in the midst of yet another drought, Mother Nature provided a light dusting of snow on the High Sierra peaks the night before we arrived.

Sue Craft
Our group of 14 met on Sunday afternoon on Movie Road, in the Alabama Hills, so that David and Chris could lead us to a prime location for capturing the moonset over Mt. Whitney.  David used The Photographer’s Ephemeris (free download for desktop computers and inexpensive app for smart phones/tablets) to calculate the “prime” location and time the sun would hit the mountain peak, and the location of the moon as it would drop behind Mt. Whitney.

Once at our location, David talked about lenses, camera settings, and suggested various locations to capture the “big event” the next morning.  One needs to do a bit of preplanning to capture this type of event.   In addition to paying attention to sunrise, one needs to know that the sun takes a while to pop over the Inyo Mountains before lighting the Sierra.  Also, the moonset time is effectively earlier than listed since it is calculated for a normal horizon that is not obstructed by mountains.

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Fall Colors and Mono Lake, October 3-6 2013

Field Trips

Holly Peskin
Led by Sue Craft & David Wilkins

I started this write up on the last night of our field trip because, well, frankly, I was feeling inspired! This was officially my second “far from home” field trip with 10 other like minded LPA members. People motivated to drive hundreds of miles up Hwy 395 to Bishop and beyond to capture the gorgeous fall foliage of aspen and cottonwood trees, as well the mysterious techniques of “Star Trail” shots at Mono Lake.  The trip was everything I hoped it would be, and then some! Investigating “new territory” was thrilling, and of course learning from our resident expert David Wilkins on how to execute a great star trail shot is something every inspired photographer needs to get under their belt!

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Field Trip to Piute Ponds - July 12, 2013

Field Trips

Ten LPA photographers attended the Dedication Ceremony for Piute Ponds. It was a celebration of the completion of a new water control system, consisting of weirs and culverts to regulate the flow of water throughout the ponds. After the ceremony, a walking and auto tour were offered. The event was also attended by members of Ducks Unlimited, Friends of Piute Ponds, personnel from EAFB, and the Fish and Game Dept.

Piute Ponds is truly an “Oasis in the Desert” and we are so fortunate to have it right in our “backyard” and open to all photographers. It is a government protected wildlife habitat. Get out there with your camera and enjoy sunrise, sunset, and all the birds!   You will want to bring your longest lens.

Numerous birds can be spotted here, especially during spring and fall migration, but also coyotes, raccoons, muskrats, and even African Clawed Frogs reside there. Roger Day photographed a King Snake on event day. Even if you’re not a bird/nature photographer, it’s truly special mini oasis out in the middle of the hot dry desert, and worthy of a visit.


Permission is needed to visit the ponds. Email wanda.edeal@edwards.af.mil to apply for a one year pass to visit Piute Ponds www.piuteponds.com.

Field Trip to Bolsa Chica, April 28 2013

Field Trips

Sue Liberto
Six brave birders met at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve saltmarsh & breeding area to view shorebirds of many types.  Sue Craft, Sue Liberto, Ron & Linda Yagi and Bruce & Diane Cable were in attendance for the group picture at 11:15 A.M.   If anyone else was there, we’re sorry we missed you.

Excited terns screeched all-day long & flashed by like racing white blurs. We went to the footbridge area, which was saved from development (beginning) in 1976, and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is now a blessing to birders with cameras, binoculars and the naked eye.

Effort and persistence were the rules of the day, mixed in with a little "luck." The birds were reticent and you had to be quick to get some prize shots.  Fast shutter speeds of 1/1000 second  were used, and 400 ISO when the day finally turned bright and sunny.

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