Kirk Marshall Photography: Blog en-us (C) Kirk Marshall Photography (Kirk Marshall Photography) Thu, 12 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT Thu, 12 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT Kirk Marshall Photography: Blog 120 120 Milky Way I've wanted to try my hand at night sky photography for a while and finally took the time to make it happen.

I wandered down into Gold Butte National Monument (just south of Mesquite, Nevada) to a place called Little Finland. I got there before dark and scouted out a couple possible spots where I thought the rock formations would line up with the Milky Way once it came up. After a few hours of sleep I got up at 4:00AM to head back out. I shot several series of images so I could stack and average them to reduce noise and then I shot a few with a bit of light on the foreground rock formations to bring out the details there. 

This image is a composite of five of the sky images and one for the foreground. 

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) butte erosion fin gold gold butte little finland milky way monument national night night sky sandstone sky stars Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Glow In Most balloon festivals include a 'glow in' where some of the participants stand-up their balloons at night for some impressive eye-candy. They don't fly, it's just to impress the gawkers, of which there are plenty; 'cause it's quite a sight. 

This image is a composite from six images, one for each balloon. Once they stand the balloons up, they fire the burners occasionally, but generally not all at once, to keep the envelopes inflated. I shot a bunch of images trying to capture a good image of each balloon with the burner firing and 'glowing' the envelope, then manually merged them in photoshop. 

I'm kinda pleased with the result. Hope you like it too. 

BTW, this image is from the Sand Hollow Balloon Festival. (Sand Hollow is near Hurricane, UT.) Printed at 300 dpi it's 50"x22".

Sand Hollow Glow InSand Hollow Glow In

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon festival glow glow in hollow hot hot air hot air balloon hurricane night sand sand hollow utah Tue, 10 Apr 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Rainbow Balloon A few more shots from Kanab. 

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon blue festival hot hot air hot air balloon kanab utah Tue, 03 Apr 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Normal vs Wide I had a couple of cameras at the Kanab, UT Balloons and Tunes Festival. One with a wide angle lens (23mm) and another with a normal lens (50mm). As an experiment I thought I'd shoot the same scene with both setups using a pano-head to capture the full range of the wide angle with the normal lens. These two shots are the result. 

This first image is from the 50mm lens and was stitched from several images. The result is 14218x7109 pixels (printed at 300 dpi it's about 48"x24"). 

This second image is from the wide angle lens and is 5162x2581 pixels (about 17"x8.5"). 

Other than the size, and corresponding detail, which isn't necessarily apparent in these scaled-down versions, the thing that I notice most is the distorted perspective where the distant balloons are smaller in the wide angle lens than they appear with the normal lens. In this image I notice it most with the two mid-sized rainbow swirled balloons in the center of the image.

Of course this is one of the advantages to a wide angle lens, if that's what you're going for, but generally I'm not. Although more difficult to capture and process, I prefer the more in-your-face aspect of the normal lens and why for most of my wide images I shoot using a normal lens and a pano head. 

I'd love to hear your perspective (pun intended) and preference on the wide/normal lens difference if you'd care to share. Comment below...

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon blue festival hot hot air hot air balloon kanab utah Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Happy Ballooners Ballooners are generally happy people, and why wouldn't they be? Floating on the air, looking down at the world below you is pretty damn magical. 

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon blue festival hot hot air hot air balloon kanab utah Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Fluid Balloon Fabric The balloon crew starts by laying out the envelope on the ground and then using a large fan to fill it with unheated air. The fabric billows in fluid, ever-changing, patterns as the different colored panels are alternately revealed, hidden and distorted as the envelope slowly grows and expands.

This is another shot from the Kanab Balloons and Tunes Festival.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon blue festival hot hot air hot air balloon kanab utah Tue, 13 Mar 2018 17:00:00 GMT
Clearing Parachute Valve Lines For me, one of the most interesting and photogenic aspects of ballooning is the deployment and inflating of the envelope. In this shot a crew member is inside the balloon clearing the lines that control the parachute valve which can release hot air and control the rate of assent. 

This is another shot from the Kanab Balloons and Tunes Festival.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) air balloon blue festival hot hot air hot air balloon kanab utah Tue, 06 Mar 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Spectator Shadows #1 As an engineer I understand the physics behind it but still I think hot air balloons are amazing things. To watch them levitate from the ground, silently elevating into the sky is magical. 
I've had several opportunities in the last few months to attend balloon festivals here in Utah. This image I shot at the Kanab Balloons and Tunes Festival where they had over 40 balloons. A great weekend.

Spectator Shadows #1Spectator Shadows #1As an engineer I understand the physics but still I think hot air balloons are amazing things. To watch them levitate from the ground, silently elevating into the sky is magical.
I've had several opportunities in the last few months to attend festivals here in Utah. This image I shot at the Kanab Balloons and Tunes Festival where they had over 40 balloons.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) balloon hot air hot air balloon hot-air kanab rainbow shadow utah Tue, 27 Feb 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Speaking of rainbows... Since I'm on the subject of rainbows... here's another one.

That's Pippa on the Big Island in Hawaii a few years ago. It kinda looks like she tossed a bunch of skittles in the sky.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) big island clouds hawaii pippa rain rainbow storm sunset Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Palouse Falls I did make it to Palouse Falls State Park late in the day, actually it was good timing, the sun was still illuminating the falls but low enough that there was a rainbow in the mist. Here's the image I shot.

I'm really more of a black and white kind of a guy but occasionally I shoot something that really depends on color as the primary subject matter. Rainbows mostly fall into the 'color' category. 

But I have seen a black and white image of a rainbow, it was really amazing, really! (I don't recall the artist, I wish I did so I could give credit.) I've tried to process this, and other rainbow images, in black and white and I just can't duplicate the appeal of that other image. I think it ruined me, once you've seen perfection it's hard to settle for something less.  

If anyone has any tips for processing a black and white rainbow, I'd love to hear them. 


]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) cliffs clouds falls palouse rainbow river state park washington waterfall Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Pipes and Bins I've got a couple of kids that live in Bellingham, WA so I wandered up there early last spring to pay them a visit. On the way home I had a bit of time so I drove out through eastern Washington to have a look around. There's a agricultural region out there called the Palouse that is frequently photographed and I thought I'd have a look-see. 

Most of the photographs I've seen appear to be from the late spring-early summer, when everything is green, with rolling hills marching off into the distance. I was there before the 'green' kicked in and everything was still brown and barren but I found it fascinating and photo-worthy anyway and took a bunch.  I'd set my sights on getting to the Palouse Falls State Park and was heading that direction when I got sidetracked at an out-of-commission farm-yard with motors, machinery, harvest-bins and piles of other unidentifiable stuff.  

Pipes and BinsPipes and Bins

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) bins black and white blackandwhite clouds farm harvest bins harvest-bins infrared monochrome palouse pipe washington Tue, 06 Feb 2018 18:00:00 GMT
Grand Canyon Pippa and I visited Toroweap, AZ over Thanksgiving last year.

Toroweap is on the inner rim of the Grand Canyon and is an amazing place to hang out for a few days. The view down into the canyon is head-spinningly awesome. The site is relatively undeveloped, at least compared to the North Rim or South Rim Villages. No guard rails, no paved paths, no tourist buses. The vertical drop to the river is about 2500' and you could probably toss a rock (but don't do that, you might hit someone) and make a splash; it's that straight down. I'm not acrophobic but standing at the edge, looking down, my head spins.

We spent one sunny afternoon on the rocks overlooking Lava Falls and I shot this image as three rafts were on the last flat-water before the falls. The image is stitched from three photos and is greatly reduced for web consumption. In the full size version, if you look closely, you can pick out the three rafts which are probably 3/4 of a mile away. In this smaller version they're all but invisible.

This image is looking west, downstream and Lava Falls is just past the left-facing point in the river bank in the shadowy area right in the middle of it. From my vantage point here the falls don't look like much, but they are. Rated as 8-10 on the Grand Canyon Scale and IV on the international scale, this is the most talked about rapid on the Colorado river.

Three Rafts for Lava, Grand Canyon NP, AZThree Rafts for Lava, Grand Canyon NP, AZRiver rafts, barely visible, float through the Grand Canyon on the final approach to Lava Falls.


]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) black canyon desert falls grand lava national park raft rapids river toroweap tuweep white Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:00:00 GMT
Hello again. So it's been a while since I've posted anything. I don't really have any excuse, I've just been lazy.

I was passing through Price, UT last year and had some time to kill so I wandered up and down Main Street window shopping. This scene struck me and I stopped to make the image.

Loan Woman, Price, UTLoan Woman, Price, UTReflections muddle the view into a storefront on Main Street in Price, UT.


]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) black loans price utah white woman Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 28 Friday, March 28, 2014

Sting wrote: "men go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one".

The line comes from the song "All This Time" which is about a son who wants to bury his father at sea instead of the traditional burial in the ground which is prescribed by his childhood religion. The conflict between the current desires of our hearts and the traditions of our upbringing can be stark. 

I've been on the 'one' side of the scale for the last three weeks and I'm wondering... am I better?

The thoughts I've written in this journal are not those I learned from in my childhood. I've come to these ideas over the last decade and embraced them in spurts. However, embracing new points of view requires setting aside the old ones which, depending on the depth to which those old points of view are ingrained in our being, can feel like suicide or at the very least an ectomy of sorts. But I think that's just what I've needed. I can't be 'me' while living to someone else's rules and I don't always have the strength to live by my own rules while enduring the onslaught of societal pressures.

This trip has allowed me to gain a measure of distance from my congregation and given me the opportunity to 'get better', if only marginally and momentarily. Right now I feel independently 'me', and if nothing else comes of this adventure, that alone makes it all worthwhile.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 27 Thursday, March 27, 2014

Last night the wind was minimal and I slept well. I'm up at dawn to take a few more photographs.  

Since I didn't get a proper dinner last night I'm especially hungry this morning. After returning from the overlook I put on a double dose of oatmeal and light the stove.

While it's cooking I turn on the radio to hear the weather forecast. Oh joy, more wind, today is supposed to be just like yesterday. That's it. I'm done. There's a perfectly good hotel just across the bay. I'm sure they would be delighted to take my money and give me one of their deluxe, wind-free rooms for the night. I start packing.

I'm packed and the oatmeal hasn't even started boiling yet. Damn, the fuel canister must be getting low.  I turn up the flame and give it a few more minutes but finally give up and eat it half-cooked.

By the time I launch the wind has already whipped up white caps here and there across the bay. Once I'm out of the small, protected cove I turn and head toward the marina at about 45° off straight downwind. Both the wind and the waves are pushing me about, partly helping, partly not. They're pushing me downwind but with each passing wave are nudging me to turn me broadside to the waves, not good. I have to stay vigilant and but thankfully I reach the dock without incident.

Safely ashore it starts to sink in that I'm done. I paddled from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Damn! A sense of great satisfaction washes over me and I breath in and savor the moment.

Now to get to the hotel.

I can probably hike there, it's not far, maybe half a mile, but I can't take the boat; obviously.

I ask the park ranger/police about leaving my kayak until Pippa arrives with the car, they would prefer I don't leave it there and ask me to hang out for a few minutes. Soon they come back and let me know they've arranged transportation for me and my gear. Apparently a bass fisherman whose boat swamped and called for a rescue is coming in. He's going to give me a lift. He motors in, ties up to the dock and heads up the ramp to get his trailer. After loading his boat on the trailer, we lift my kayak on top of his boat and drive up the road to the hotel.  He dumps me on the front lawn and heads off.

I check in, get a ground floor room and haul all my gear to the back patio.

A long hot shower, dinner in the restaurant, a soft bed... all of it wind free.

Save]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) abstract bullfrog canyon desert glen kayak lake powell utah Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 26 part 3 March 26, 2014, part 3

About 5:00 PM the wind intensity increases noticeably and the downwind view to the east darkens. I glance back over my shoulder to the west, upwind and see a wall of darkness, dust, sand, debris and tumbleweeds bearing down on me. The cold front is here, and it looks pissed. It looks like an overly dramatic scene from a disaster movie, but it's no movie, this is as real as it gets. I grab the Nikon AW110 camera (waterproof equals dust proof, right?) and head down to the beach to watch it come through.  Within minutes it slaps me, blasting me with everything that's been swept up in its fury. The sandstone hills surrounding me alternately fade and sharpen as the clouds of dust obscure the view.

For a minute or two, big, dirty, drops of rain pelt me and the ground but stop as quickly as they started. Gusts of wind careen off the steep sided hills and are channeled down to the water's edge where they hit the water with such force they lift droplets off the surface of the lake spraying them downwind causing them to dance and skip across the surfaced before getting reassimilated into the darkened surface.

With the wind still howling and the sun about to set I stow the camera and grab some dinner. Cooking doesn't seem like an option so I grab a lunch packet and sit down to eat. With the passing of the cold front and the onset of night the temperature is dropping rapidly. Factor in the windchill and it's no surprise that I'm chilled, shivering and in risk of hypothermia.

I need to either get into bed or build a fire. The challenge of trying to get my bed laid out, with me in it, without loosing anything is more than I want to tackle; so I start collecting wood for a fire.

Going through the motions of collecting wood is helping warm my core, slightly. After collecting enough tinder, kindling and wood to start and keep the fire alive for a few hours I pull out a lighter and try to get it going. I've positioned myself in the bottom of the shallow wash to try and get out of the wind as much as possible but every time I try to light the fire the wind blows it out. I can't even get the lighter to stay lit long enough to have the tinder catch. Using my body as a windbreak and timing my next attempt during a lull I manage to get the tinder to light but the next gust of wind kills it. Damn.

To hell with this. I climb out of the wash and hike up to camp and grab the stove. Back in the wash I light the stove and shove the roaring burner under the pile of twigs and directly into the handful of tinder. In seconds the stack is on fire.  I'm worried the fuel canister might explode so I quickly pull it out and turn it off. But still, the wind is too strong and it blows the fire out again.

So again, I light the stove and shove it back into the pile, this time I leave it there piling on additional kindling and sticks until I'm sure the fire will survive on its own. With the wind fanning the flames, its soon roaring on its own and giving me the warmth I need.

For 30 minutes I manage to keep it alive and it returns the favor but it takes constant vigilance. The embers, which would normally accumulate at the bottom of the fire adding mass and warmth to it, are blown away into the darkness with each passing gust. This isn't working well enough, I'm still cold.

Reluctantly I head to bed, nervous about trying to layout my gear in the wind.

Starting with the tarp, I carefully unpack one piece of gear at a time. Keeping the tarp close to the ground I kneel in the middle and drag a few of the bread-loaf sized rocks onto the corners. Next I unroll the Thermarest, lay it flat and fold the tarp over it with the fold-side to the wind. Lastly, in the protected envelope of the tarp, I pull the sleeping bag out of it's stuff sack and quickly push my legs down into it both to hold it down and to get warm. The warming effect is almost immediate, just getting out of the wind is a huge improvement but the added insulation of the down is lifesaving.

I'm still fully dressed and have no desire to change anything except my hat. My sleeping hat is much warmer than the one I'm wearing so I sit up to swap them and in between hats a gust hits me and blows another handful of dust into my face, beard and hair. Ah, now that I'm fully dusted, I'm ready for sleep. Ha!

I lay down and pull the tarp over my upper body and head to shelter me from the wind and sand. I'm not comfortable since the Thermarest hasn't had time to inflate and through it I can feel the cold rock below me, but I'm getting warmer and very happy to be horizontal.

I lay there for 15 or 20 minutes holding the corner of the tarp to stop it from flapping against my head and then suddenly I realize that the wind has stopped. Completely, amazingly, stopped. I pull the tarp back and sit up into calm night air.

SaveSave]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) canyon cold desert front kayak lake powell storm utah wind Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 26 part 2 As I sit, I realize the wind is growing stronger. I try and compare it to the storm from last week and my perception is that it is now blowing steadily as hard as it was gusting last week. Yikes. It's going to be an interesting day.

After an hour sitting and watching my stuff get buffeted about and having no additional incidents, I'm confident that it's all going to stay put if I wander off. So I do...

This time, I finally reach the overlook. The view is to the south, southwest directly into the wind looking over Hall Creek Bay. The wind is fierce and steady and as I'm standing, no, leaning into it, looking at the view, I glance down at the ground and realize my nose is a full 18" in front of my toes. I have the feeling that if I just had the courage to spread my arms wide, I might fly.

Instead, I back down the leeward side of the hill and sit down behind a low rock outcrop which deflects the wind enough to make it tolerable. I sit and watch the turmoil below as sand and branches and tumbleweeds fly about. I track several tumbleweeds across the valley floor and watch them get pushed into the water on the near side of the inlet. Once in the water they slow down but continue moving downwind to the sandy spit on the other side of the inlet where to my amazement the wind is pushing them out of the water and up the low sand hill. Upon cresting the hill they quickly roll back down the other side and into the water again and slowly move across the Bay toward the marina.

In the air in front of me ravens fly twisting, banking, tucking, diving and climbing in the gusts over the valley floor. Once one appeared to be upside down for a moment. They try to land but the wind appears to be too strong and they lift off again almost immediately.

After about 45 minutes I head back to camp. I eat some lunch and with it get a healthy dose of grit.

Most of the afternoon I spend hunkered down trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid getting sand blasted.  I'm wrapped up in my paddling pats and rain shell with the face-opening narrowed down to just a slit big enough to see through so I can watch the mayhem fly by. The pelting sand is constant and occasionally I'm hit with small pieces of bushes; twice, tumbleweeds crash into my back as they roll by.

]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) bullfrog canyon desert kayak lake powell utah wind Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 26 part 1 Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last night was calm and peaceful. I slept well.

I wake just before sunrise and see the moon has risen and is shining through a few clouds to the east. Hoping for a nice sunrise, I get up and head back up to the overlook to photograph the morning light.

As I start back down the hill I notice that the wind has already picked up. It is going to be a blustery day.

As breakfast is cooking I scurry about collecting my gear, putting everything away and clipping or tying all the bags together. My tarp, pad and sleeping bag I leave out and put rocks, about as big as loaves of bread, around the edges. The mess of dry bags and stuff sacks I plop on top of the sleeping bag to hold it all down. With breakfast finished and put away, I add the kitchen gear to the heap and I sit down to watch it blow.

Watching wind isn't all that exciting, so I decide to head west and climb to the overlook to Hall's Creek Bay.

On my first attempt to reach the overlook, I start out across the valley floor into the wind, which is growing stronger, and I'm surprised by all of the debris blowing by--sand, dust, small branches, entire tumbleweeds--but don't think much of it until I start to climb the sandstone dune and stop to look back at camp. There I see my gear all packed and piled on top of my unpacked sleeping setup. And I think 'that's really stupid'. Why didn't I pack up my sleeping stuff? If a corner of the tarp comes loose it'll blow halfway to Hanksville and take everything with it. So, down I go to pack my sleeping bag, clothes, and tarp into their dry bag.

On my second attempt to reach the overlook, I retrace my steps through the blowing debris on the valley floor and start up the slick rock dune. This time I almost reach the saddle before looking back at camp. All the bags are right where I left them. I smile confidently. Then I glance at the kayak. Shit, the wind has blown it upside down! It's fully out of the water but lying at an angle such that if it rolls over several times it could be back in the water. Damn, if it rolls into the water I'm screwed! Panicked I race down the hill as fast as my sore knee can stand and across the valley floor.

When I arrive at the boat its still upside down and I can see that the bow and rudder would probably prevent it from rolling further.  Even so, I right it, drag it another 15' from the water and place it carefully so that another roll is unlikely.

Exhausted from the exertion and stress, I sit down for a while to watch it blow and keep my eye on the boat and bags.

Save]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) bullfrog canyon desert glen kayak lake powell utah Wed, 07 Sep 2016 17:27:50 GMT
A March across Powell, 25 This morning I paddle into Hall's Crossing and stop at the marina. Before I eat lunch, I stop in the bathroom and wash my hands, with warm running water. Ah, the pleasures of civilization. It's the little things, right?

After lunch, I head north thinking I'll find a camp site near Stanton Creek Campground but the water level is so low that the shoreline, which is very low angle, is mud and muck for dozens of yards. Furthermore, there's very little protection from the wind--not that it's blowing now but if the weather report is right, it soon will be.

I need a break so I find a less-mucky place and get out and walk about for a few minutes. The water bottle is helping my knee but I still need the time out of the boat to work some motion back into it.

Back in the boat I head northwest to the opposite shore where I find a cove just opposite the Bull Frog Marina. There's a short beach, a flat-topped, sandstone bulge beside it where I can set up camp and access to the sandstone hills behind so I can get a view of both Bull Frog and Hall Creek Marinas. I settle in.

After dinner I climb the hills behind me and shoot a few panoramas of Bay below. I can see all the way down to Halls Crossing. Nice.

Save]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) black canyon desert kayak lake powell utah white Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:00:00 GMT
A March across Powell, 24 I awake just before dawn and hike back up to the overlook to shoot the sunrise. After the gold washes out of the light, I head back to camp and pack while breakfast is cooking.

I'd like to make 10 miles today and in order to do so I'm going to have to occasionally get out of the boat to loosen up my knee and back. The channel today has a lot of curves and I've noticed there's usually a beachable spot on the down-channel side of them. So, I plan on stopping just before every point-rounding which should come out to be about every 20 to 30 minutes. Hopefully the combination of short paddles and frequent stops will get me 10 miles closer to Bull Frog.

After rounding the second point I encounter two kayakers headed the other way.  We raft up and exchange stories and beta for a few minutes before parting.

Paddling and stopping I continue up the channel to the point at green buoy #87 where I can't find a takeout. So far the plan has been working but cumulatively the sitting is taking its toll and I'm needing to get out of the boat more frequently. In an attempt to prolong the onset of numbness I shift my butt back and forth and tighten my cheeks on every nth paddle stroke in an effort to keep blood flowing to the region. Thankfully, once I round the point I spy a beach on the opposite shore and head for it.

I struggle my way out of the kayak and wander around the beach for a while. As I'm walking and stretching it dawns on me that perhaps my knee issue is due to over extension of the joint. I haven't been using the rudder much and just sit with my legs straight out in front of me. The problem is that my butt is in the seat which is an inch or two above the hull; the heels of my feet are also on the hull but the rest of my leg is unsupported.

Anxious to test my theory and get another few miles behind me I shoehorn myself back into the boat. Once settled, I place my Nalgene water bottle under my knee to support it and hold it up a bit. The bottle isn't quite tall enough so I fold up my paddling jacket and use it as padding between me and the bottle.

The bottle helps, yeah! But the damage is already done and probably won't feel better for a while.

I paddle down to the next point at green buoy #89 (about 10 miles, wahoo I made it), find a fabulous little alcove and call it home for the night.

Save]]> (Kirk Marshall Photography) canyon desert kayak lake powell red rincon sandstone utah Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:00:00 GMT