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Aaron Meyers

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Resting Place
It was especially special to have this place all to ourselves, considering Oregon is going to have millions of people flocking for the Eclipse next week!

There’s something about the Columbia River Gorge that keeps calling me back every spring. I think I’ve visited the Gorge for the past 4 or 5 years in April or May. I just love all the waterfalls and the moss, the green plants, the ferns ... and the beer!

Last year Willie and I visited this spot with Terence and Rami, except Terence was so late that by the time we got here, the sun had crept into the scene and ruined all the photos. This year we ditched Terence and Rami and brought Zack instead, and we made sure to arrive with plenty of time for all of us to take photos before direct light hit the trees above the falls.

We were a little bit early in the season and a lot of the moss was still dead and a number of the ferns were just starting to grow, but I found this patch of ferns that was just calling my name. I loved how the waterfall and stream behind it sucked the eye into the scene and then finishes with the giant plants.

This place is so relaxing that we didn’t want to leave. You could just plop down and spend the whole day here!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
18mm, f/14, 1.3 sec, ISO 100

#Oregon #columbiariver #gorge #Portland #hood #waterfall #waterfalls #water #river #stream #ferns #plants #spring #sunrise.

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Painted Rising
As photographers we go through certain trends within our photography. My current interest area is photographing flowers in the foreground of my scenes. I’ve always wanted to visit Mt. Rainier National Park just because the volcano looks epic, but also because it has beautiful wildflower blooms. Willie and I visited in August of 2016, hoping for carpets of flowers caused by a very wet winter. Unfortunately we only found patches of flowers.

We arrived at Mt. Rainier at night, setup camp, and went to bed. When we woke the entire scene was covered in fog. We drove to Reflection Lake but we were surrounded by so much fog we could barely tell where our feet were, let alone which way Rainier was. We left and hiked up Rainier instead.

The next morning was a different story though and we were glad we were one of the first people to arrive at Reflection Lake. The lack of wildflower blooms meant that there were only a small handful of flowers next to the lake. Willie immediately plopped his camera down next to this patch of Indian Paintbrush and wouldn’t budge. Off I had to go, trying to find some other flowers. Eventually we traded spots and I was able to get in and snap this photo. I loved how the red Paintbrush contrasted with the purple flowers next to it, while the sun touched the trees and Rainier in the background.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/14, 1/6 sec, ISO 200

#mtrainier #rainier #reflectionlake #lake #mountains #flowers #wildflowers #paintbrush #sunrise

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Deep in Salt
Interestingly, the tallest point in the United States and the lowest point are separated by only 85 miles. Mt Whitney peaks at over 14,500 feet but further to the south, the Badwater Basin sits at 282 feet below sea level. I spent a lot of time at Badwater on my first visit to Death Valley National Park, but I had never seen a beautiful sunrise or sunset there.

Willie and I spent a long weekend exploring the park and finding scenes we’d been hunting. David Thompson played an excellent tour guide for us and the trip turned out to be one of the best photography trips we’ve had: mostly because Mama Nature played nice!

On our last morning here we kept particularly attention to a patch of clouds that were rolling in and made our way to a specific section of Badwater Basin. We couldn’t have asked for a better sky. The clouds were full of texture and color when the sun did rise and hit it. Hexagonal honeycomb shaped salt rose out of the ground thanks to a nice wet winter the previous year.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/13, 1/15 sec, ISO 100

#DeathValley #NationalPark #Badwater #SaltFlats #salt #shapes #sunrise #clouds #storm #escaype

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Pillow Full of Fire
I first started chasing low fog at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2011. At first it didn't matter what the sky looked like, as long as the fog was so low that the top of the bridge towers could be seen. Then I started to get pickier: I wanted the fog so low that it was just at the level of the deck of the bridge. And of course, then I wanted the ultimate: low fog and beautiful high thin clouds. I've photographed low fog at the Golden Gate Bridge many times. I've also photographed beautiful sunrises there; one thing I had never photographed was both at the same time. For 5 years all of us have watched, waited, and prayed it would happen.

I spent Friday evening celebrating 7 years of friendship with Sammi; we went out to dinner, got drinks, and relaxed with a movie. I happened to check my work messages and saw one of my coworkers post that there was log fog at the Golden Gate Bridge. I partially ignored it - I was having a good time and I didn't need to go for yet-another fog day. At 1am, debating if I should stay up playing games, I happened to check my Escaype app and noticed it was a 100% chance of a beautiful sunrise with 0% chance of it being ruined. The perfect conditions! I better get to bed!

In my race to get to bed I completely botched my calculation for when I needed to wake up. When I finally woke up at 4:30am I realized my mistake - I was going to miss the conditions I had waited so many years for. Thankfully no cops were waiting to pull me over as I raced along the highway, clearly breaking the speed limit. Looking to my right as I drove, I noticed the pre-sunrise burn had already started. I was missing my conditions! I arrived at Hawk Hill just before the clouds burst into peak color, ran up the hill and started firing away. I had missed the blue hour conditions that I so desperately wanted but did manage to capture this. Oh well - guess I'll just need to wait another 5 years and not sleep through it next time!

Pretty much every photographer I knew was there too. It was great seeing you all and reveling its beauty!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8:
36mm, f/11, 0.5 sec, ISO 100

#GGB #GoldenGateBridge #SanFrancisco #SF #cityscape #lowfog #fog #hawkhill #marin #escaype #clouds #burn #bluehour #bridge

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I’ve visited Panther Creek Falls before and it’s a little bit of a tricky waterfall to find. There’s a marked trail that takes you to a viewing platform at the top of the upper falls (which you can see peaking out at the top of the waterfall here) but that’s not the best place to actually see the waterfalls here. Instead, you have to backtrack a little and find the unmarked “trail” that takes you down the steep cliffside to the base of the falls.

The first time I had visited Panther Creek I only photographed the Upper falls, afraid that getting down to the lower falls was a little bit sketchy. This time, though, Zack, Willie, and I found a safe route down to the Lower falls, put on our frog suits, and crawled out into the river with our cameras.

The trees that lodged themselves inside Lower Panther Creek Falls have been here for years. They’re part of what makes this scene so photogenic. The waterfall is best viewed from in the river but we had to make sure to be verrrrrrry careful when walking in the river: the current was fairly strong and the rocks below it extremely slick. We basically plopped the tripod down for support, then shuffled our feet a bit, and repeated until we got in the right spot.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/11, 1/5 sec, ISO 250

#waterfall #oregon #washington #columbiariver #columbiarivergorge #Panther #PantherCreek #falls

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Rainier Ray
Willie and I had been wanting to visit Mt. Rainier in the “spring” (August) for quite a number of years but we finally made it happen in 2016. With a wet winter we had high hopes that the wildflower blooms would yield carpets and carpets of flowers. Unfortunately we found only patches of flowers.

While hiking above Myrtle Falls we came across this field of lupines that caught our eye. Mixed in here-and-there were little splashes of Indian Paintbrush, which provided a nice contrasting color to the red and purple lupine. We knew this would make a great spot for photos, if only the clouds would cooperate.

We had initially setup our tripods to face south-west, towards the sunset, since Mt. Rainier was completely cloudless and there were a few patches of clouds facing the Tatoosh Range. Rainier had a different agenda in mind. It’s commonly known that the volcano peak makes its own weather and sure enough, within minutes beautiful clouds had formed around the mountain. When the sun hit them, it sent a giant light ray through the sky, and turned the clouds a beautiful orange, and then purple and pink before fading away. What a sunset!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
18mm, f/13, 1/4 sec, ISO 250

#MtRainier #rainier #mountains #wildflowers #flowers #lupine #indianpaintbrush #paintbrush #lightray #ray #nationalpark #nps

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Willie has wanted to photograph this small cove at Sutro Baths for quite some time now. In November the conditions finally lined up: the location of the sun, the surf and tide, and the clouds! Escaype was predicting a beautiful sunset in San Francisco so we left work early and drove up to the city.

Traffic was much lighter than we expected and we arrived at Sutro well before sunset. As we waited we watched the clouds start to thin. It meant that we’d have to go a bit tighter on the compositions since the clouds no longer covered the full extent of the sky. When the sun finally did set, the remaining clouds lit up beautifully.

I loved watch the waves as they crashed against the rocks and created various patterns and lines in the water. I experimented with various shutter speeds, trying to capture the moving water as it broke against the rocks and then back out to sea. Quite a sunset!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/11, 1/6 sec, ISO 100

#sunset #escaype #sutro #sutrobaths #baths #seatscape #pacific #ocean #seastack #cove #water #waves

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Rolling Wave
The last time I visited the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park things were a bit of a disaster. Willie loves to arrive early to things, which is usually great. It gives us time to get settled, scout out an area, find the best views and make sure we don’t screw anything up. That’s normally fine ... except when it’s 85°F with absolutely no shade and sunset isn’t for 4 more hours. After getting little sleep the night before, Willie woke me up from my nap to demand we head out to the sand dunes. We spent hours trying to hide from the sun after realizing we had gotten out there way too early.

Determined not to make the same mistake again, we got a few tips from David on where to head once at the sand dunes. We had left his house in Las Vegas at 3am and made the trek over to Death Valley in time for sunrise and we lugged our massive “Bazooka” telephoto lenses out with us. We arrived early but not too early!

Although David pointed us in a general direction, we still struggled to find compositions. Both of us ran around trying to find the shapes and patterns we had seen others find. Willie stayed in a small area while I explored further. At one point I found this view, setup, and fired a few quick photos before running off to try a different view. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had found a spot with these beautiful rolling sand dunes!

Nikon D800 w/Sigma 150-600mm f/2.8:
165mm, f/11, 1.0 sec, ISO 100

#DeathValley #nationalpark #nps #sand #dunes #sanddunes #sunrise #telephoto #mesquite

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Lovers Light
I've been to Iceland four times now (once during the summer and 3 times during the winter) and every trip has been absolutely amazing. There's something captivating about going in the winter when the island is transformed into this frozen, dead tundra. Gone are the beautiful green hills, the gushing waterfalls at every turn, the endless number of RV's, and the sheep greeting you at every bend in the road. Instead you're greeted with snow and ice and green sky that dances before your eyes!

During this trip Willie, Alan, Rebecca and I spent 10 days at the end of February and early March exploring Iceland. During the trip we were treated to 2 (and a half) beautiful nights of northern lights! On our first night the sky was crystal clear and the 4 of us saw the lights for the very first time. None of us wanted to go to bed because we were so mesmerized!

We had spent a good portion of the day scouting locations for photographing the aurora and as soon as we finished dinner we raced to this spot. We learned what people mean when they say that the lights "danced" across the sky. At one point the lights twisted and turned into the shape of a heart - love was definitely in the air!

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8:
32mm, f/2.8, 4.0 sec, ISO 800

#iceland #aurora #northernlights #night #sky #jokulsarlon #winter #frozen #snow #reflection #mountains

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Perched on Top

If I’m getting up for sunrise while at home in the Bay Area it’s usually to go visit the Golden Gate Bridge or some other iconic spot in San Francisco. The Bay Area has some other beautiful locations though: tons and tons of rolling hills with beautiful oak trees dotting all over. They become especially pretty in the winter and spring, when all the winter rain turns our golden hills into stunning green hills.

On this particular morning we met just before sunrise and looked around, wondering where the clouds were. There was 1 small patch of clouds that might light up, but the rest of the sky was devoid of anything that would catch color. Fortunately for us, that one small cloud happened to plop itself right behind the tree we wanted to photograph!

I loved how this scene has criss-crossing hills, that suck the eye in, and then the Oak Tree cements your eye. A bird perched itself on top of the tree, which itself is perched on top of the hill. Big thanks to Willie for hunting for this tree and finding it!

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8:
56mm, f/11, 1/40 sec, ISO 200

#sunrise #siliconvalley #tree #oaktree #hills #escaype
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