The Mittens of Monument Valley

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Unsure what to expect, I planned only one full day in Monument Valley. Little did I know, indeed!

The overwhelming beauty, grace and magic of this landscape blew my mind – this stretch of planet Earth is something hard to describe in words, and certainly no photograph will ever do it justice. It’s got to be experienced by oneself!

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Snow fell in the Valley the days before I arrived; covering parts of the red desert ground and the Mitten Buttes in deliciously fine white powder. Arctic temperatures… a result of the winter not making an exception for an area that only a few weeks ago was still piping hot as warning signs reminding hikers to take plenty of water on board during their travels.

Depending on what directions one looks, rock formations, size but also light and atmosphere changing dramatically. Snow covered peaks to one side; planet Mars-like landscapes the other way.

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Photography-wise Monument Valley, but particularly The Mittens, present a riches of subjects to explore; so many different scenes want be captured – but nothing compares to the sunrise, when those first precious rays find their way over the massive stone walls, illuminating the valley in warm, golden light.

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There’s this one world famous view everyone will have in some form or another; and if only in a Hollywood movie that gives the place its name: Forrest Gump Point. A particular delicious panoramic view with Route-63 leading right into it…. a place synonymous with selfie sticks these days.

I don’t own a selfie stick and wasn’t after the “money shot”. Rather, the setting sun, provided the perfect backdrop to create a powerful silhouette of the Mittens – the imagine I probably most love of all the ones I got during my time in Monument Valley.

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Equipment:
Nikon D7100
Sigma 8-16mm
Tamron 70-200mm G2

A Turf Paradise in Arizona

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As I am over in Phoenix, Arizona right now, I took the chance to pay the local horse race track – Turf Paradise – a visit.

A compact race track, on the outskirts of Phoenix, I was greeted by a super relaxed, serene and friendly atmosphere. Sure, splendid sunshine always helps; nonetheless, this place has loads of charme: you’re close to the action, entry is free and fair food & drink prices make it wonderful day out.

There were only a few hundred or so people attending this mid-week race day. But as this is such a compact place, it didn’t feel lonely as it can be at bigger tracks on these type of days.

Having the big lens with me on the day, briefly some security guy came up and ask “are you with the media?” – otherwise no bother, and I could take some great images.

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Equipment:

Nikon D7100
Tamron 70-200mm G2
Sigma 8-16mm

Wicklow Mountains Vastness

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A sunset in the Wicklow Mountains shines the most delightful light on this magnificent landscape. Regardless how often I’ve been here, it never stops to take my breath away. Having this half an hour off my home is a privilege.

10 vertical frames – Nikon D7100 – Tamron 70-200mm G2 – stitched together in LR

Golden Gate Bridge’s Golden Sunset

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Nikon D7100, Tamron 70-200mm G2; 70mm, ISO 100, f/22, 30sec

Good Morning SFO

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Nikon D7100, Tamron 70-200mm G2; 70mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/13s

The last time – also the first time – I found my way to San Francisco, pretty much three years ago exactly this day – it was hell on earth. Torrential rain. Non-stop.

Swore to myself to come back one day and shoot the city in better light. So, here I am, right now for roughly three days.

Jet-lagged, waking up early in the morning, I wanted to make best use of this. So I went out to a local park – Corona Hights – where, so I heard, the view of the city was supposed to be spectacular.

No disappointment upon arrival. Right in the time for sunrise, I got the shot envisaged for quite some time. The sun rising quickly over the mountain range in the back, a perfect orange hue illuminating the sky – simply perfect.

Rallycross at Mondello Park

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Would you believe it? Six years and counting…. that’s how long I reside in Ireland now. Mostly in Dublin, of course. And as you would have noticed following this blog: I do love sport. Seen pretty much all you can see here. The obvious and the obscure ones. But motor sport? I didn’t have a clue!

I mean, I had no idea it even remotely exists in this country the way it actually does. There is, however, just outside of the capital, this massive race track, the Mondello Park – it’s of course the green island’s only international circuit.

Well, for a couple months now I live in Naas, county Kildare, outside of the stinky capital. And as it happens Mondello Park is a leisurely 20min car ride off the home door.

Last Sunday was the right time to visit the place. The Irish Rallycross Championship took place this day. Cars in all shapes and forms thundered down the track in countless small lap races. Close to the action with fantastic viewing of the track I had to get out the cam and shoot the exciting scenes unfloding right in front of my eyes:

All photos taken with the Nikon D7100 and the G2 Tamron 70-200mm.

Been a tremendous day out there at Mondello Park. Viewing is great from across the track. You get as close to the action as safety regulations can allow. Can highly recommend a visit. I for one will be back, that is for sure.