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Maples and Redwoods Workshop

Space is still available in this month’s Maples and Redwoods workshop set in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Visit lesser frequented canyons and old growth redwood groves and capture Autumn like you may never have seen it before.

Why? - Big Leaf Maple in Fall Color

'Why?' - Big Leaf Maple in Fall Color


Redwoods Glowing in Afternoon Light

Redwoods Glowing in Afternoon Light


Glowing Maple Leaves on Alpine Creek

Glowing Maple Leaves on Alpine Creek


For more information and to register visit the Workshop Page on the Organic Light Photography Website.

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When Photography Doesn’t Happen

I went out today to photograph a seasonal waterfall in one of the lesser known and traveled canyons of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  I had discovered this waterfall in the dry early autumn while leading a workshop through that very canyon.  A ravine termineated at this rcocky drop off and it seemed at the time that if there was enough water flowing in that ravine, a nice waterfall could develop.  So after a couple of weeks of pretty consistent rainfall here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I decided to go out and try my luck with that waterfall.

Well I was right on the money with that terminated ravine becoming a waterfall, although only a small ribbon of a falls, not enough rain yet.  As I set up the camera and prepared to focus it, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my focusing loupe!!!  I was using it in my studio this past week to critically check tranperancies for focus on my light table.  And so it was near impossible to focus the large format camera.  I did my best and then stopped down the aperture to f/90!  This required an exposure time of — 8 minutes!

So for the rest of the afternoon, I was an observer.  Unable to record the light that I saw accurately, I let my eyes, mind and heart record the glorious light that filtered into the canyon and danced with the green ferns, tall redwoods and bare red alders.  And later as I drove along the coast, watching the sun play hide and seek between the clouds with rainbows appearing periodically as cloud bursts occured all along the coast.  The sea was tumultuous with small breakers peppering the surface of the Pacific for as far as the eye could see and it glowed with a luminance that was nearly indescribable.  A truly memorable day that has sparked a longing to return very soon to capture that light forever.

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Death’s Hand

I have been silent for some time. Not to sure why. I have been busy conducting two workshops, one in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California and the second in famous Yosemite Valley. Both were in search of the lovely autumn color. However, earlier I spent several days on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in search of autumn color there as well. I was there during the inital shock of the financial melt down and I guess I had internalized the fear that was rampant and it was reflected in my images. For the images that were appearing to me were somewhat foreboding in nature. Like “Strangled” from my previous post and this image below titled “Death’s Hand”, both have a deeply foreboding qaulity to them.

Blue Sage and Desert Buckwheat

Yet on my return from the Eastern Sierra, I found that my heart had eased as I found the mountains still there. They had not shaken, they were still as firm as they have always been and still served to hold the Earth together. And so even though my heart was seeing what it felt which led me to these images, in reality there was nothing to worry about at all.

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Ramadan 1429 Begins

Today was the first day of fasting for the month of Ramadan this year.

Enjoying the afternoon

Enjoying the afternoon

I lead a trip up to the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve in the northern Santa Cruz mountians on Sunday after noon with about 20 people attending. We spent about two hours along one of the ridge trails in the preserve waiting for the sun to set so that we could start searching. We had a good time while we waited.

It was another perfect day for moonsighting. The sky was clear and visibility was excellent. Although it was clear and sunny we had mild temperatures in the upper 60’s.

As the sun began to set, we all anxiously waited to start searching. Although the sunset was quite impressive with its deep orange color, we had to really stop ourselves from looking to prevent the green spots from appearing in our eyes which would hamper seeing the delicate crescent moon.

Finally the sun had vanished below the horizon. It left us with sublte pastel colored skies.

However, try as we did, we could not see any sign of the new crescent moon. Even though is was a 30 hour old moon, its age determine from the moment it is in conjunction with the sun, it was low on the horizon, only about 3.5 degrees in altitude, and was only in the sky for 20 minutes after the sun set. Most 30 hour old crescents are easy to see in the sky after sunset, but this one was to low ont he horizon and set too soon after sunset.

In the end, no one in North America saw the crescent moon that evening. Making the month of Sha’ban a 30 day month and with Ramadan beginning on Tuesday September 2, 2008.

With one day now complete we look forward to a blessed month ahead of us.

Peace – Youssef

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