Hobgoblin Faces with 17mm Tilt Shift

A new lens can inspire any photographer to get out and try his or her hand.  After much internal debate, I recently purchased the Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens.  Tilt shifts are special lenses with special powers and certain limitations.  Having shot with the 24mm and 90mm tilt shift lenses for several years, I knew what it could add to my photographic abilities:  wide, sharp landscapes without the distortion normally introduced with wide-angle lenses.

With excitement, I took off over the desert into Nevada in search of the Hobgoblin Playground, also known as "Little Finland."  Not sure how Finland comes into this, but Hobgoblins certainly live here and stick their faces out of rock in weird and wonderful ways.  I explored and enjoyed for 2 hours before the sunset with my two daughters in tow.  They loved the weird wonderland.  Another photographer from Germany also was there.

Hobgoblin faces the setting sun.
As the sun was about to go down, I found this sandstone face reminding me lots of things:  a crescent moon, a man with a long nose, a man with a funny hat, a witch with a huge chin.  I see all these in this Hobgoblin.  So I took his picture.  We looked at the sunset together and then I called it a day.

I enjoy shooting with the 17mm tilt shift lens.  It is moderately sharper than the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens that I also shoot with.  I see this mostly in the corners.  The perspective control is also such a nice thing to have.  It may cost a pretty penny but I believe it is worth it.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Storm Arrives over Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Coral Pink Sand Dunes:  a jewel that should not be missed at sunset, according to Laurent Martres.  He describes the sand turning an exquisite shake of pink just as the sun disappears.  On my way back from a weekend phototrip to White Pocket, I decided to see if this would happen for me.

Summer monsoon season is in full swing this year and I'd had intermittent rainstorms during the prior 48 hours.  Between storms, gorgeous sunlight lit up the world for stunning photographs.  I figured the sun would come out at the end of the day and reward me.  I was wrong.

After wandering across the dunes to set up for sunset, clouds went from thick to thicker.  The sun never peeked through but I found the evening light turned the clouds a deep blue color.  Blue and pink are wonderful complimentary colors and I took this shot just as the night was coming on at f/11, 3/10 of a second and ISO 200 to prevent too much motion blur in the dune vegetation.