Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mary Jane Falls....


No...Somebody named Mary Jane did not fall.
Mary Jane Falls is the name of one of the trails in the nearby Spring Mountains National Recreational Area. This particular hike is considered "moderate" and has an elevation gain of 1,200' which is not a huge amount but you have to realize this hike starts at 7,600' so it starts out in fairly thin air if you are used to sea-level or the roughly 2,000' level at our home in Henderson.
LocalHikes.com calls this hike very strenuous utilizing steep switchbacks and rock steps but I have managed to make this hike twice now in the last nine days. My first hike to Mary Jane Falls was July 3rd with my friend Glenn and then again today with my wife, Penny. It is a really beautiful hike and quite a treat getting away from the 110+ degree heat of the Vegas Valley.
Both times I've done this hike we have started out fairly early in the morning, the first time hitting the trail around 7:15am and today we hit the trail at 6:10am. There are definite advantages to hitting this trail early. The single best part about getting an early start is making it to the falls before anybody else. We managed to make it to the falls and enjoy the scenery including the nearby cave before anyone else showed up. Just as we were finishing up at the top another couple was arriving to enjoy a rest break. The other great thing about getting there early is that you get to secretly laugh at all the other people passing you on the way down. The trip down is SO MUCH easier then the way up and you can see it on the faces of all the late comers.
There is one thing that is important to know for anyone interested in making this hike...Don't expect Niagara Falls up here, it's more like a strong trickle at this time of year. The water is very cold and the sounds of the water hitting the rocks all round you sounds great but unfortunately there just isn't much water to it.
I'd love to make it up there in early spring like around mid April to see if the flow is much stronger. Maybe next year????

As usual, clicking on the photo above will take you to the gallery of images from the July 3rd and 11th hike to Mary Jane Falls.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunsets....

We had an unexpected beautiful sunset this evening and I just barely caught it! I stepped out into my backyard to see why my dog was barking and was just blown away at the brilliant colors off to the west. I ran in and grabbed my camera as fast as I could because I knew it would only last for a few moments as the sun quickly set over Red Rock Canyon. In just the minute or so it took for me to get the camera the colors had already changed dramatically but were still quite brilliant.
I only wish the foreground was more pleasing but considering I only had about 90 seconds to grab this shot before it completely faded, I'm fairly happy with what I managed to capture.



As usual, clicking on the image will take you to the gallery where a larger version can be viewed. Comments are always welcome.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independance Day!

So I'm a tad bit late getting this post out seeing as how the 4th of July ended a little over 2 hours ago here in Vegas...
Hopefully everybody had a safe and enjoyable day with friends and family and there were no fireworks accidents. I decided to leave it to the experts.

I wasn't originally planning on posting at all today but at the last minute this evening I decided to get out and photograph the closest professional fireworks display since it just so happened to take place only a few blocks from my home. I found out that the nearby casino, the Feista Henderson, was taking part in the festivities known as "Station's 4th of July Blast" along with eight other Station casinos around the valley. From my vantage point just a couple blocks from my house I decided to scramble up the side of Black Mountain for a clear view of the show.

I set up the camera (Canon 5D MII) with my 24-70mm lens and shot a sequence of images every second for the entirety of the nine minute show. Each exposure was 1/2 second shot at ISO 1600, F5.6

Enjoy the show!