Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lava Beds National Monument (Part 1) - Tulelake, CA

From 7/17/2013 to 8/2/2013, I took a road trip from the SF Bay Area to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Half of the trip was spent driving up the west coast. On my trip, I visited many famous places such as Seattle, Butchart Gardens, Mount Rainier, and much more. Obviously I got many coastal shots and many places that isn't as famous. The reason I am posting it now is because the high amount of photos I took equaled a high amount of processing time. I took a bit over 2000 photos on the trip. After stitching the panoramas, compositing the HDRs, and picking out photos from the repeats, I have a bit over 1000 photos to show you guys. The photos will be split into parts. I will link you to the previous and next parts on each post just like I did with my Death Valley National Park photos and my Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Park photos. Hope you enjoy this chain of posts!

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To view my best Lava Beds National Monument photos, use this link. To view all of my day 15 photos, use this link.

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Today I have part 1 of Lava Beds National Monument with one photo from Tulelake, CA. Lava Beds National Monument is part of a volcanic system and contains many empty lava tubes (caves) that you can go down and explore. In the park, only one of the caves (Mushpot Cave) is lit. The other caves are pitch dark and will require flashlights to go exploring. The temperature in the caves are very cold, a great place to go on a hot summer day! If you want to explore something you haven't seen before, this is a good place! Just make sure you have a good flashlight. Photographing in the caves was also a very hard. At night, you can work with light from the moon, which will be bright enough if you expose long enough. In the caves, all light have to be created by you! The following cave shots were shot using a very very strong flashlight and my Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT.

Tulelake, CA borders Merril, OR. This is a photo of a farm and barn in Tulelake. I shot this along the border. As you can see the forest fires I told you about had engulfed the whole area with smoke. Our original plan was Shasta Lake, but decided against it because I know the smoke won't affect the caves at all.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 59 55 N 121 33 48 W   

Black and white process of the photo above. 

Now at the entrance to Lava Beds National Monument.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 49 50 N 121 33 22 W   


Shot a photo of the scenery at the entrance.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 49 51 N 121 33 22 W   

Black and white process of the photo above. 

First stop is the Devil's Homestead Flow, a giant lava field. I shot a few photos at this view point. The smoke from the surrounding forest fires is very heavy. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 47 35 N 121 33 43 W   

Black and white process of the photo above. 


A zoomed in shot of the scenery. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

A panorama of the view point area. 

A photo of another lava field in the park.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 46 36 N 121 33 55 W  


HDR of the scenery in the park. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 44 35 N 121 32 41 W  

A photo of some obsidian near Mushpot Cave. If you are planning to visit the park, I suggest you drop by the visitor center before visiting any cave. I also recommend you borrow a flashlight from the visitor center. The flashlights are free for you to borrow. While their flashlights are dim and not too useful in the caves (so bring your own good one), the park rangers will have a record of you at the ranger station, so in case you get lost or injured in one of the caves, they'll know to look for you. In my opinion, their flashlights are crap, but I got one anyways so I know someone will come looking for me if I don't make it out. All flashlights have to be returned by the time the visitor center closes. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 42 49 N 121 30 32 W  

Another lava tube near the entrance to Mushpot Cave. You can see where the lava has flowed out before. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 41 42 49 N 121 30 31 W  


Mushpot Cave is the one nearest to the visitor center and as I have mentioned at the beginning, is the only cave in the park that has lights. The other caves are pitch dark. This cave is also have the shortest walk and great for little kids. If you are tall, please note some areas of the caves are low, so watch your head!

Black and white process of the photo above. 

I shifted the angle slightly and did another shot. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 


The cave formations and the lights the park has set up for easy viewing. 

Here is a photo from the end of the trail in the Mushpot Cave. If you plan on doing photography, please be careful where you are flashing your flash! I photo bombed myself without realizing it. LOL 

Facing back at the trail from the end of the trail. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

These are all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed them. Next time I will continue with more of the photos from Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, CA. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

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