Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Camera, a Tripod and a Little Imagination

What I love most about the new HD video capable DSLRs is what they offer in one compact camera body. Not only can you produce beautiful 21 megapixel still images, but also stunning 1080p HD video. Add a time lapse sequence or two along with some music and you have a fun multimedia package - all coming from 1 small camera body.

I took a short trip last week to one of my favorite areas to photograph - the eastern Sierras and the White Mountain Range, flanking the sleepy town of Bishop, California. The late, world-renowned adventure photographer Galen Rowell called the area home for good reason. It's a photographer's paradise.

So much to see and do but on this particular trip, I visited the Ancient Bristlecone Forest, home to the oldest known living organism on earth, the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva). The grove lies in the Inyo National Forest, between 10,000 - 11,000 feet above sea level. Btw, the oldest tree in the grove, nicknamed "Methuselah", is more than 4,750 years old and is not marked to ensure added protection from vandals.

The bristlecones grow in alpine outcroppings of dolomite - a magnesia-rich sedimentary rock that resembles limestone. And interestingly, the bristlecones that reside in moister soil with greater nutrients grow fat and tall but have a life expectancy of only 1,000 years or so. The oldest bristlecones live in the least nutritious soils in the most exposed, bleak locations, and are deceptively small. It seems soil with a high dolomite content produces a denser, resinous wood that is resistant to bacteria, fungus and insects. Trunks can remain standing for more than 1,000 years after the tree has died.

Anyway, enough of the nature notes. Shooting these ancient trees will challenge your creativity. The smooth, tan wood, creased with dark lines, create wonderful, abstract patterns. The slender branches extend upward, contrasting against the pure blue sky.

Thought I'd share with you what I shot - to show what is possible with these new video DSLRs. This is just a simple multimedia package that I shot for fun while hiking with a friend. It's mostly comprised of photos along with music and just a few video clips and time lapses, and all edited together in Final Cut Pro.

Just a camera, a tripod, and a little imagination.

Hope you enjoy it and it inspires you to go out and make your own.

Note : if the playback stalls due to a slow internet connection, give the video a minute or so to load.


  1. beautiful work of a beautiful place. i'm glad to be living in the eastern sierra's.

  2. Thanks Bert. I'm envious that you live in such a beautiful area.