Steven J. Dundas Photography: Blog en-us (C) Steven J. Dundas Photography (Steven J. Dundas Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:17:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:17:00 GMT Steven J. Dundas Photography: Blog 120 89 Spring in Oregon Life is pretty hectic at the moment, but we have been finding some time to take quick trips around the Willamette Valley and the Central Oregon coast to take in what is the glory of spring in Oregon. 

First stop is a red barn in the evening near Albany...

Next is Sahalie Falls on the McKenzie River, Willamette National Forest

We found some relatively rare Calypso Orchids (Calypso bulbosa) on the forest floor at Peavy Arboretum in Corvallis.

Other wildflowers also found at Peavy Arboretum - Oregon Iris (Iris tenax) and Oregon Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum)

These next flowers aren't wild, but the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival near Woodburn did not disappoint...

Along the Oregon Coast in Spring, it's all rainbows and sunsets.  First, this shot from a Friday evening right after a long day of meetings at Hatfield Marine Science Center and right before some needed down time at the Rouge Brewery in Newport.

Beach near Cape Perpetua...

And last but not least, sunset in Yachats...

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Calypso Orchid Newport Oregon Peavy Arboretum Sahalie Falls Willamette Valley wildflowers Sun, 07 May 2017 05:11:22 GMT
Central Oregon Coast My photo blog is officially back from a 2 1/2 year hiatus that included becoming a father, getting a job at Oregon State University and moving my family across the country. I hope to be posting a new set of photos every few weeks.

Last week, we headed to the coast to see if we could catch the gray whale migration. Rough seas kept the whales off the coast and barely visible, with the exception of a few spouts.  Yet, the rough seas combined with high tide did mean that we got to see the spouting horns in Depoe Bay. 

Rough seas in Depoe Bay...

and Yaquina Head Light...

Last but not least, the California sea lions in Newport and shorebirds partially made up for not seeing any gray whales.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) California sea lions Depoe Bay seagulls spouting horns Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:02:48 GMT
Sarah P. Duke Gardens: Durham, NC - Fauna Annie and I spent a Saturday strolling around the gardens at Duke University in late May.  This post contains images of the various birds, mammals, amphibians, and bugs that we came across.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) bull frog Durham Great Blue Heron Sarah P. Duke Gardens bees dragonfly squirrel wood duck Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:33:52 GMT
Sarah P. Duke Gardens: Durham, NC - Flora Annie and I spent a Saturday strolling around the gardens at Duke University in late May.  This post contains images of the various plants that we came across.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Durham North Carolina Sarah P. Duke Gardens pitcher plant Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:23:37 GMT
PHX to Raleigh - Part 5: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, May 14th Once I left Moab, I spend two full days on the road.  The first day started in Colorado going up and over the Rockies in a late spring snowstorm.  I made it as far as Topeka, Kansas before needing some rest.  The next day, the same storm system followed me for most of the morning and early afternoon through eastern Kansas and Missouri.  The sun finally came out around 5 while I was in Kentucky.  The late day sun helped me push the drive through Nashville and all the way to Knoxville by days end.  The last day of the trip before arriving home took me through Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  On the Tennessee side, I drove along the Little River Road toward Cades Cove.  The green of springtime was a bit overwhelming after 4 months in the desert. 

I headed up the range toward the North Carolina border where the views are expansive.

The North Carolina side of the park was much less crowded and more peaceful than its Tennessee counterpart. 

Right before leaving the park, I encountered a large number of yellow swallowtail butterflies feeding along the creekside.  Whatever it was, it must have been good because they appeared quite intoxicated. 

A few hours later, after a nearly 4,000 mile journey, I finally arrived home.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Cades Cove Smokies panorama waterfalls yellow swallowtail Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:57:11 GMT
PHX to Raleigh - Part 4: Southeastern Utah, May 11th I woke up when the torrential rain ended around 5 am and packed up my very wet campsite.  I hit the road early with the plan to visit both the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park by the end of the day.  The drive out of the Needles District was beautiful as the rising sun tried to burn off the remaining clouds.

The rain crept in again as I arrived at the Island of the Sky District.  The increase in elevation meant that I was inside of the clouds instead of below them.  I couldn't see a thing for the first two hours I was up there, but I got a break in the visibility as I hiked in the rain out to Mesa Arch.

Next, I hiked along Grand View Point trail.

My last stop in Canyonlands National Park was the Green River Overlook.

By mid-afternoon, I worked my way over to Arches National Park.  The sun peaked out a bit when I was near Balanced Rock and the Fiery Furnace.

The storm from the night before washed out the road to Delicate Arch, so I visited the North & South Windows and Turret Arch area before heading to Grand Junction, Colorado for the night.


(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Arches Balanced Rock Canyonlands Green River Island in the Sky Mesa Arch Moab Turret Arch Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:47:48 GMT
PHX to Raleigh - Part 3: Southeastern Utah, May 10th After visiting the north rim of Canyon de Chelly in the morning, I headed north toward the Utah border and Monument Valley.  After getting lunch and gas in Kayenta, AZ, I started north along Highway 163.

Moments after crossing into Utah, I headed into the Monument Valley Tribal Park run by the Navajo Nation. The view from the visitor center is an iconic western landscape, seen in many Hollywood Westerns and travel books.

The road in the foreground is a seventeen mile trip on a very primitive road through the tribal park.  Unfortunately, my 1996 Honda Accord wagon was not up for the challenge.  I made it about a quarter of a mile before I realized that this road would likely break my car in half. 

A few hours later, I reached my destination for the evening, the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.  The small campground in the park was already full but I was able to secure a spot at the Needles Outpost on nearby BLM land.  The area is named by the band of sandstone spires cutting through the park as seen below. I managed to get in a few short hikes.  The first was on the Pothole Point trail.  The eroding rock formations made for a interesting close-up.

Next, I took the Slickrock Trail out into the canyons. My original intention was to find a place to catch the sunset, but ominous clouds started forming on the western horizon.  Since it was getting late in the day and sunset wasn't happening, I jogged back along the trail to my car and quickly headed to the outpost general store for firewood and beer. I was successful in reaching the store before it closed, made some dinner and cracked open a beer.  Storm clouds were rolling in but the direction of movement carried them away from the campground...for now.

Luckily I had my large tripod in the car and was able to capture some of the passing light show.

Unfortunately, more storms were in the very near future and I was directly in their path.  A few minutes after the last image was taken, a wall of red dust came barreling into the camp driven by the down draft of an approaching storm.  The pelting sand made it difficult to see so I sought shelter in the nearby rocks. Once I got comfortable in the rocks, shielded from the blowing sand, a 60+ mph wind gust managed to rip one of my tent stakes out of the ground.  I battled furiously to re-anchor my tent in the sand storm and somehow managed to fix everything (i.e. large boulders on top of each stake) and jumped into my sleeping bag just before the torrential rains hit.  The storm raged for the rest of the night and finally dissipated around 4:30 am.  A ranger informed me the next morning that 1/3 of the yearly rainfall total for the park had fallen overnight.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Canyonlands Kayenta Moab Monument Valley Needles District lightning storms Mon, 30 Jun 2014 03:37:56 GMT
PHX to Raleigh Road Trip - Part 2: Canyon de Chelly, May 9-10 After leaving the Grand Canyon around noon, I started to drive east across northern Arizona.  My destination was Canyon de Chelly National Monument in the northeast corner of the state. Despite multiple cross-country road trips through the Southwest in the past, I had not previously been to Canyon de Chelly before because it is a in a rather isolated part of the region.  In other words, it is in the middle of nowhere.  Despite this remote location, the canyon has been inhabited by people for over 4,000 years. 

I arrived in the late afternoon with plenty of time to set up camp, hike into the canyon, and catch another Arizona sunset. 

First stop was White House Overlook. 

The trail here leads to White House Ruin and it is the only trail accessible to visitors without a paid Navajo guide.

The canyon floor was quite possibly one of the most peaceful places I have ever been.  Descendants of the original settlers of the canyon still live and farm here and access is restricted to limit the impact of tourists on their daily lives.

White House Ruins were at the base of a very steep canyon wall along the stream.

The surrounding area was stunning and I was very glad to get the experience to be inside the canyon given my limited time constraints.

After hiking out of the canyon, I had just enough time to head over to Spider Rock Overlook for sunset.  Spider Rock is an 800-foot sandstone spire in the canyon where the Spider Woman, an important deity in the Navajo culture, makes her home.  While she is said to protect peaceful men, the story I was told by the Navajo who ran the nearby campground was the white color on the top of the spire represents the bones of "bad" Navajo children that she has devoured.

The next morning before heading into Utah, I took a drive on the north rim of the canyon to see some other ruins.  Mummy Cave Ruins start to show some influence from nearby the Mesa Verde ruins with the tall tower on the right on the image.

Lastly, a view from Mummy Cave overlook at the stream reflecting the sunlight as it travels through Canyon del Muerto.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Canyon de Chelly Navajo Spider Rock White House Ruins Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:57:24 GMT
PHX to Raleigh Road Trip - Part 1: Grand Canyon, May 8-9 My fellowship at Arizona State ended early last month and I hit the road for a week traveling back home to North Carolina.  First stop on the itinerary was the Grand Canyon. 

It was a brief stay but I was able to catch a sunset, a sunrise, and a short morning hike into the canyon.  After arriving in the late afternoon and setting up my campsite at Desert View, I headed west along the South Rim. 

This image looks west from Desert View where the harsh afternoon light mingled with a light haze.

I posted up about a 1/2 mile west of the very crowded Mather Point along the Rim Trail to take in the sunset. 

The most interesting light came after the sun had set, casting a soft glow over the canyon.

A nearly full moon blew out the night sky, preventing any dramatic star images so I decided to get some sleep and catch sunrise.  The 5 AM alarm came quick but I dragged myself out of my tent and headed to Lipan Point on the eastern end of the canyon.

Here, the sun rises over a ridge with Desert View Tower visible near the sunbeams.

The reward for an early wake-up when the first rays of sunlight hit the canyon walls.

After a quick breakfast and camp cleanup, I headed to the South Kaibab Trailhead.  I opted for a 6 mile hike down about 2000' into the canyon to Skeleton Point and back.  The first view of note was Ooh Ah Point about 20 minutes into the hike.

I was able to catch some late spring blooms in the canyon.  First is the purple flower of Englemann's hedgehog catcus (Echinocereus engelmannii).

Although I was a bit late for flowering, this Utah Agave (Agave utahensis), or Century Plant, was still interesting to see.

The turn around point was Skeleton Point, 2000' below the South Rim.

Despite my wanderlust telling me to blow past Skeleton Point and continue the hike down to the Colorado River, common sense (and a lack of sufficient water supply) prevailed.  I turned around here, right before a dramatic set of switchbacks leading further into the canyon.


(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Grand Canyon Lipan Point South Kaibab Trail sunrise sunset Fri, 27 Jun 2014 23:06:08 GMT
Saguaro National Park and the Santa Catalina Mountains Last Sunday, I took a drive toward Tucson and visited Saguaro National Park.  The desert was in full bloom as I took a 6 mile morning hike along the Hugh Norris trail ridgeline in the western section of the park. The first set of photos shows the white flowers of the massive saguaro cacti. 

Further up the trail, I came to some prickly pear cacti.

I crossed the path of few small lizards.

The camouflage of these lizards is incredible.

The next stop was flowers on different species of cholla cacti.

I could not identify these two desert plants but they still had beautiful blooms.

Some views from the ridgeline.

After the hike, I drove through Tucson into Coronado National Forest and the Santa Catalina Mountains.  I drove up to about 9,000 feet where it was dramatically cooler than the desert below. Cacti to pine trees and aspens in about 30 minutes...

I finished the day at the eastern section of Saguaro National Park for sunset.

Lastly, looking back toward Tucson as the sunset gives way to the night.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Catalina Mountains Saguaro Tucson cactus blooms prickly pear sunset Mon, 28 Apr 2014 03:14:35 GMT
San Diego and the Southern California Desert I took a trip to San Diego to visit a friend and go to a few NCAA tournament games at San Diego State.  These photos were all taken on Monday during the trek back to Tempe.  I started the morning by heading down to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach. 

It was a cloudy morning with not much opportunity for photos until I had some visitors from above.

After this stop, I headed to PB for a breakfast burrito at Kono's before hitting the road.  About 20 minutes east of Alpine, I decided to do some exploring and took a random exit off of I-8.  I ended up on Laguna Mountain in Cleveland National Forest.

The road then took me down out of the mountain range and through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where I came across flowering ocotillo and hedgehog cacti.

I even caught a shot of a bee visiting the flower of the hedgehog cactus.

I ended up near the Salton Sea and decided to take a drive around it.  The Salton Sea was created in 1905 by a massive flood on the Colorado River.  Its located below sea level and has no natural discharge point.  Because of this, the sea suffers from high salinity and pollution due to agricultural runoff from the nearby Coachella Valley. 

Towns along the shores of the Salton Sea are in rough shape. I stopped in Bombay Beach for a moment, but it was too depressing to stay very long.

And yes, that sign does say waterfront lots for under $7,000.


(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Anza-Borrego Bombay Beach Laguna Mountain Salton Sea San Diego hedgehog cactus pelicans Mon, 28 Apr 2014 02:52:01 GMT
Sonoran Desert Nights I drove out to Sonoran Desert National Monument and the surrounding areas one evening in late March. I reached the park just before sunset. Since I was in the middle of nowhere, I decided to wait around a bit a catch the stars. In the next two images, the areas of bright yellow were coming from these strange points of light that would burn for about 10 minutes each at various points in the sky.  It was quite eerie at the time but I found out later that they were experimental military flares from the nearby Yuma Proving Grounds. 

This one was taken from a truck stop off of !-8 just outside of Yuma.

A few weeks later was the blood moon eclipse.  Here is the moon just as the eclipse was beginning...

and the full eclipse with the Earth's shadow taking on a deep red hue on the moon.

Last but not least, I put together a progression of the eclipse into a composite image.  Each photo of the moon was taken approximately 20 minutes apart.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Sonoran Desert Yuma blood moon eclipse saguaro stars sunset Mon, 28 Apr 2014 02:27:57 GMT
Los Angeles I spent a few days back in March visiting Los Angeles. I took in a number of sunsets in Venice Beach.

One evening, there was a cloudless sky at sunset leading to some shots that tend toward resembling modern art.

The canals of Venice and Washington Blvd. after sunset.

The view from the Venice fishing pier looking north to Santa Monica...

and then back toward Venice.

Took a side trip to Point Dume State Beach in Malibu.

And I even managed to find a few stars along Venice beach.

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Malibu Santa Monica Venice beach sunset Mon, 28 Apr 2014 02:10:28 GMT
Joshua Tree National Park I escaped the Phoenix area and my dissertation work for a weekend recently to Joshua Tree National Park in California.  It is basically a big rock playground with flora and fauna unique to the Sonoran and Colorado deserts of the Southwest.

The first morning started with some scrambling up and down the rocks near Skull Rock.

The next stop was the cholla cactus area.  These things look soft and fuzzy but they definitely hurt when part of the cactus gets stuck in your ankle while exploring off the trail...

While doing some off-pavement exploring, we were lucky to stumble upon a small group of desert bighorn sheep.  The first one is a close up cropped from a larger image. In other words, I didn't get as close as it appears I did according to the first picture.  Pretty awesome creatures...

Key's View overlooking the Coachella Valley and the San Andreas Fault from the south edge of the mountains in the park.

The sunset was beyond spectacular and Joshua trees make a nice foreground to add some contrast to the blazing sky.

Last but not least, the stars out in the middle of the desert were fantastic as well.  I hoped to have more star photos, but the combination of below freezing night time temperatures and long exposures drained my camera's batteries very quickly.  Here are the stars from the campground at Jumbo Rocks with the campfires providing a red glow to the surrounding rocks.


(Steven J. Dundas Photography) California stars Joshua Tree bighorn sheep rocks sunset Sat, 08 Mar 2014 22:48:18 GMT
Sedona & The Superstition Mountains I am finally catching up with posting some photos today.   This post contains photos from a quick weekend getaway with my wife to Sedona and our side trip to the Superstition Mountains a few weeks ago.

First stop is Devil's Bridge in Coconino National Forest.  From above...

Then from below...

We then hiked to a spot considered a vortex for spiritual energy according to local legend.  While there, a man showed up and handed my wife a sandstone heart and proceeded to play Native American flute music on a rock above our heads.  I don't know about the vortex but it was a pretty cool experience nonetheless.

We finished the day on top of the mesa near Sedona airport overlooking the town for sunset.

A few days later, we hiked up to the Basin in Lost Dutchman State Park in the afternoon. 

We startled a group of Gambel's quail at the beginning of the hike.

The wildflowers are starting to bloom in the desert.

This cholla cactus was hanging out on the side of the cliffs.

Sunset looking back toward the Valley of the Sun

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Devil's Bridge Lost Dutchman Sedona Superstition Mountains vortex Sat, 08 Mar 2014 22:27:08 GMT
Superstition Mountains: Flatiron Hike Yesterday I headed to Lost Dutchman State Park to hike the Siphon Draw Trail up to the Flatiron.

The trail quickly leaves the state park and into Tonto National Forest and the Superstition Wilderness area.

The winter sun hung low in the sky most of the morning as I ascended into the Basin.  Rounding a corner and Flatiron comes into view for the first time. 

The Basin is a incredible rock feature below the Flatiron that includes a waterfall in the rainy water on this day.

The "hike" portion of the trip ends at the Basin as the trail shoots up a canyon to Flatiron where the scrambling/climbing begins.  It was rather grueling for about the next hour but I was handsomely rewarded upon reaching the summit.

After finishing the six-mile round trip around 4:30 in the afternoon, I decided to stay in Lost Dutchman State Park for sunset. I set up my tripod to catch the late afternoon light on the rock formations I had just came down from.

The wait was well worth it as the sunset fired up the winter sky...

As the sun set below the horizon, the silence of the Sonoran Desert was pierced by the howls of coyotes and the hoots of owls.  All in all it was a spectacular day. 

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) Arizona Flatiron Lost Dutchman Siphon Draw Superstition Mountains Tue, 28 Jan 2014 06:38:53 GMT
Welcome to the New Photo Blog Good evening everyone!

I have decided to begin a photo blog on my website as a way to motivate myself to take more pictures.  I plan to post a few photos every few days so stop by and check it out once in awhile.  In this installment, I have a few images from my recent cross-country drive to Arizona.  For those of you that don't know, I have a four-month fellowship at Arizona State University, so the blog posts are going to have a desert feel for a bit.  Hope you enjoy!

Rush Hour in Dallas, TX

Access Road outside of Sweetwater, TX, which claims to be the Western Hemisphere's leading wind power generating town.

Somewhere in Western New Mexico off of I-10

(Steven J. Dundas Photography) dallas sweetwater Sun, 19 Jan 2014 02:04:08 GMT