Up the River with Avis – Exploring Ohio in a Toyota Avalon

An Autumn-esque Adventure in the 2016 Toyota Avalon

Deremer Studios Automotve Photography

While Florida was bracing for Hurricane Hermine, I was helping to liberate a 2016 Toyota Avalon from the path of the storm.  That weekend, I had an event to photograph for one of our automotive clients in Cincinnati, and so we journeyed north with this deep-maroon Toyota Avalaon from Avis to photograph while on our adventure.  Our mission was to capture autumn themed photos.  But what do you do when you need fall photos and fall has yet to arrive?  Take advantage of dusk and dawn – where the sunlight takes on a golden hew and gives even bright green trees a touch of autumn glint.  I’ll let you be the judge of the results.

Deremer Studios Automotve Photography

So, what was it like to put 2,000 miles on a 2016 Toyota Avalon?  To be honest, it was a bit of a mixed bag – especially when you consider that it’s Toyota’s flagship sedan.  As with all Avis cars, the Avalon was nicely equipped, with extras such as a big infotainment display, dual heated seats, rear ventilation, and a sports package, complete with paddle shifters.  Add to that, it was comfortable, smooth, roomy, stylish, and had surprising performance for a car that seems to have been typecast with the ever-dreaded “old person car” moniker.

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But there were a few frustrations on the drive as well – most notably the smart phone-based navigation solution that proved anything but…  Unlike Apple Car Play, which our last Avis car, the 2016 Chevy Corvette sported, Toyota employs a third party app called Scout GPS.  Not only did the app fail to connect about 60% of the time – even when it did connect, the navigation information was minimal.  The app offers only turn by turn information, but without standard options like a browsable map (or any map at all – aside from one static map that shows your entire route, reminiscent of the old systems you could used to track your progress on an airliner), lane assistance, or the ability to download offline content.  This proved a big headache – especially in rural areas where our cell signal was often non-existent – but the connectivity issues between the car and the app were just as frustrating.  Beyond my tech frustrations, the fuel economy was also only okay – with highway mileage struggling to get above 31 mpg.  All in all, the car was just that – okay.  There were many nice features, but several issues you just wouldn’t expect from a can in 2016.  In my estimation, Toyota’s attempt to make the Avalon a performance car, a luxury car, and a tech-savvy car, all while keeping it affordable, resulted in a car that doesn’t quite hit the mark in any of those categories.  But then again, if you’re looking for a car that checks off all those boxes with excellence, the price tag’s going to be quite a bit higher.

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Looking to have a car, fleet or collection photographed? Feel free to peruse the automotive section of our website: pro.deremerstudios.com/automotive_aviation.html
Please note all photos on this site are the copyrighted property of Deremer Studios LLC unless otherwise noted.  We share many of our photos for use as personal desktop wallpaper, but any other uses, including but not limited to printing, modifying, and any commercial use are strictly prohibited without prior written consent.
Up the River with Avis – Exploring Ohio with the Toyota Avalon

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The National Park Service Turns 100 Today!

Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

Sunset from Cape Royal on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Way back in the summer of 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act that created the National Park Service – a federal bureau designed to protect the 35 existing national parks and monuments (the first national park, Yellowstone, was founded by congress in 1872, with the remaining added in the next 40 years).  Fast forward 100 years, and America’s parks system encompasses 413 areas (with Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument being added just yesterday!).  Of these, there are  59 national parks, 84 national monuments, and 78 national historic sites.  In total, the Parks Service oversees over 84 million acres, with land in every state.

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A Bull Bison crossing Geyser Hill in Yellowstone

Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure of visiting many of the national parks, from Cape Cod to Bryce Canyon.  This past autumn, we took a grand circle tour of 6 of the great western national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arches and Mesa Verde.  In total, we covered over 3,600 miles in just 10 days, but we packed those days plum full of adventure.  Each park was spectacular in its own right, but if we had to choose a favorite, it would be the granddaddy of them all – Yellowstone.  We spent four days in that park, two in and around Mammoth and two days around Old Faithful.  We even had the great honor and luck of staying in the original 1903 portion of the Old Faithful Inn.

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

Spruce House dwellings at Mesa Verde

Since then, we’ve been on a few other national parks as business trips have brought us nearby.  This past winter, I visited the Grand Canyon and Arches again, and for the first time, visited the Colorado National Monument and its epic Rim Rock Road.  Just a few weeks ago, we took our family to explore another first for us, the Cape Cod National Seashore.  All in all, we were blessed with spectacular weather throughout – including more than one sky-on-fire-gorgeous sunset.  This year may have marked our first big foray into the national parks, but rest assured, Lord willing, it will not be our last! Happy birthday National Park Service – and here’s to many, many more centuries of success and joy!

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Glowing Aspens and Vibrant Blue Skies in the Grand Tetons

As always, please feel free to download as many photos as you like – we have sized the photos to 1080P HD wallpaper, perfect for your desktop, laptop, tablet or TV – and if you enjoy our photos, please share this blog with your friends and help us get the word out!

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Interested in buying some of our fine art photography or just want to see some more of our work? Check out our New England collection at our site: http://fineart.deremerstudios.com
Please note all photos on this site are the copyrighted property of Deremer Studios LLC unless otherwise noted.  We share many of our photos for use as personal desktop wallpaper, but any other uses, including but not limited to printing, modifying, and any commercial use are strictly prohibited without prior written consent.
Summer Wanderings Part 3: Massachusetts

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Autumn in the National Parks – In Panorama

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After 10 days of travel, 3,000 miles, 4,200 photos and over a month of editing, we’ve finally arrived at our last post from our Autumn in the National Parks Collection.  Over the course of our trip, we also photographed 142 ultra-high resolution panoramas – most in excess of 100 megapixels.  The national parks, with their wide open vistas and expansive views lend themselves perfectly to the medium of panorama – offering a unique perspective on the parks that better represents the true scale of the subject in a way that even the best conventional photos can seldom do.  So, without further adieu, here’s about 40 of our favorite Panoramas, offering a sort of summary of an amazing, breathtaking, glorious tour of our nation’s crown jewels!

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Here in Florida, without towering mountains, but replete with tall trees, it’s hard to get a panoramic sense of distance, yet out west the opposite is true, and vistas such as Bryce Canyon (top) and the Grand Tetons (above) lend themselves perfectly to the medium.  Below, I tried my hand at some panoramic astrophotography in Arches – that’s the aptly named Ham Rock in the foreground.  Over the last decade, stitching software has come a long way.  When we first got started, I stitched everything manually in Photoshop.  I took forever and the amount of airbrushing required to bring it to a professional level was rather tedious and slow.  But today, with the built-in panorama capabilities of Adobe Lightroom, I am able to stitch even wide angle images with ease, all while maintaining their raw characteristics.   There’s still some tweaking in Photoshop, but nothing like when we first got started.

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Autumn in the National Parks – In Panorama

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Autumn in the National Parks – The Roads Between

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

Having wrapped up our individual posts on the national parks, I wanted to turn to the roads between – some 2,500 miles of them – that we explored as we went from park to park.  There’s no question in my mind that our national parks contain some of the most beautiful, unique and picturesque places in our country, and yet they do not hold a monopoly on natural beauty.  From the geological wonders like Horseshoe Bend (above), to the stunning wildlife along the way, like this pair of bald eagles (below) outside of Ft. Collins, CO – beauty abounds.

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Having spent so much time on the road over the course of our trip, we got to see a lot of the country.  From plains and mountains, cities and wilderness, modern wind farms and ancient settlements – the manifold glories of creation made the long hours on the road well worth it.  On our first day of travel from Denver to Yellowstone, for example, we encountered the pair of bald eagles, not one but two stunning mountain rainbows, massive wind farms, a stunning canyon road, the massive Wild Bill Dam, and our first view of snow-capped mountains.   Our last day on the road was equally thrilling, with the autumn colors of the Colorado Mountains shimmering golden yellow as we made our way from Mesa Verde back to Denver.  As sunset approached, we happened upon the scene below, with a grove of glowing aspens reflected in the calm waters of a pristine pond.  It was truly a glorious end to a breathtaking trip!

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

As always, please feel free to download as many photos as you like – they are full HD images, 1080P, and perfect for your computer, tablet or television – and if you enjoy our photos, please follow us – and for extra bonus points, share this blog with your friends to help us get the word out!

Purchase Fine Art Prints

Interested in buying some of our fine art photography or just want to see some more of our work? Check out our Out West collection at our site: http://fineart.deremerstudios.com
Autumn in the National Parks – The Roads Between

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Autumn in the National Parks – Mesa Verde

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

Day 9 of our out west adventure began early in Moab – we stayed in this great little historic motel, The Apache – but with a two hour drive to Mesa Verde and a 7 hour drive back to Denver, we needed to get on the road early!  We really weren’t sure what to expect out of this park – aside from knowing that it was a different sort of place than the strictly natural wonders we had been photographing over the previous week.  It was a neat change of scenery – walking back in time 1,000 years – and exploring these ancient yet artistically built Pueblo communities.

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One thing we noticed throughout the parks is that mid-September marks the beginning of the slow season for the National Parks Service.  As a result, staffing, tours, and even accommodations begin to scale back.  In Mesa Verde, that meant that several of the cliff dwellings were closed for exploration or tours for winter season.  However, the Spruce Tree House community was still open, and though small compared to several of the other cliff dwellings, provided a fascinating glimpse into the building practices of this ancient people.  From low doors to maximize heat retention, to sunken pit-rooms to keep cool, it was amazing to see how these people adjusted to the climate an eon before air conditioning.  Another neat thing about Spruce Tree House was the opportunity to explore one of the cylindrical sunken rooms firsthand.

As always, please feel free to download as many photos as you like – they are full HD images, 1080P, and perfect for your computer, tablet or television – and if you enjoy our photos, please follow us – and for extra bonus points, share this blog with your friends to help us get the word out!

Purchase Fine Art Prints

Interested in buying some of our fine art photography or just want to see some more of our work? Check out our Out West collection at our site: http://fineart.deremerstudios.com
Autumn in the National Parks – Mesa Verde

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Autumn in the National Parks – Arches

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

After a long day of driving and exploring on Day 8, we arrived at Arches National Park about an hour before sunset (and 15 minutes after the visitor’s center closed…ugh!).  You enter the park in the valley near Moab, but within a few hundred feet, you find yourself climbing the steep switch-backed road, lined by soaring red sandstone formations.  Interestingly, it doesn’t take too long to begin seeing objects and shapes in these rocks, and so it should come as no surprise that many of these formations have fanciful names, from Ham Rock and Parade of Elephants, to Park Avenue and the rock above which I have nicknamed Gnome Rock.  In total, we spent about 5 hours exploring Arches, most of the time under the stars, but I wish we had had another day – as with many of the parks we sampled – we really only had the chance to explore the tip of the iceberg.

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

So, with limited time to explore, we did our best to be strategic and headed first to the cluster of formations in and around Double Arch (above) to make the most of the quickly setting sun.  We arrived just before sunset and were just amazed by the scale of these formations.  The photos really don’t do the scale justice, but for example, Double Arch has a span of 148 feet and a height of 104 feet (the height of a 10 story building).  In the gallery below, be sure to look at the dots that are cars and people in  several of the images.  With literally moments until sunset, we hiked up to Double Arch – about a half mile hike – and climbed up the nearly vertical embankment to the second opening (proving once again that I am out of shape).  As day slowly gave way to night, we snapped a few more shots, then headed down whilst there was still sufficient light to not result in a trip to the emergency room.  As we walked on, I turned back to the arch and noticed the subtle kiss of the fading light illuminating the rocks and had to snap the above photo.  For the rest of the evening, we worked on some simple astrophotography.  The moon again proved limiting in the angles we could shoot, but even with the bright moon, we could just make out the Milky Way.

As always, please feel free to download as many photos as you like – they are full HD images, 1080P, and perfect for your computer, tablet or television – and if you enjoy our photos, please follow us – and for extra bonus points, share this blog with your friends to help us get the word out!

Purchase Fine Art Prints

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Autumn in the National Parks – Arches

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Autumn in the National Parks – The Grand Canyon

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

So, continuing on with the grand adventure trip – day 7 began with our visit to Bryce Canyon (our previous post) and concluded with an overnight in the Grand Canyon.  As we approached the North Rim of the world’s most famous hole in the ground, things looked pretty ominous and gray, with a light mist hanging over our approach.  Just inside the park (and the only time we actually got even a hint of rain while shooting) we found a small herd of bison.  Their great, great, great, great grandparents were actually brought to the park from Yellowstone in some sort of breeding experiment – it didn’t work, but the herd remains – albeit oddly smaller and more springy than their more northern counterparts.  It took us another 30 minutes or so to arrive at the North Rim Lodge, where we had fortuitously booked a cabin to spend the night.  The Lodge, though considerably smaller than Old Faithful Inn has a similar ambiance and one whopper of a view.  But, with the clouds dissipating and the prospect of an actual sunset, we grabbed a pizza (affordable and tasty!) from the lodge’s cafe, hopped in the Mustang, dropped the top, and headed to Cape Royal, about 40 minutes down the road.  We arrived with just minutes to spare and were greeted with the view above.

Deremer Studios Fine Art Photography - Out West

As the sun passed through the sliver of daylight between the clouds and canyon, Bryn and I photographed at a bit of a fever pitch to make the most of the momentary appearance of the sun.  As it dipped below the horizon, we brought out the tripod and captured the cliffs and canyon around us in the dwindling light (above).  As night drew in around us, we walked the half mile path back to the car and headed to our little cabin on the rim.   It had been a long day, but before we called it a night, we went out to the observation deck of the lodge and shot a few night photos.  Far from ideal with the bright moon obscuring the stars and producing a fair bit of lens flare, I was still able to get a few shots that I enjoyed.  Had we another day, I would have ventured to the south rim to take advantage of the moonlight on the canyon below – but as it was, we were on a tight schedule on Day 8 as we headed East toward the Vermilion Cliffs, Horseshoe Bend and a sunset appointment with Arches.

As always, please feel free to download as many photos as you like – they are full HD images, 1080P, and perfect for your computer, tablet or television – and if you enjoy our photos, please follow us – and for extra bonus points, share this blog with your friends to help us get the word out!

Purchase Fine Art Prints

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Autumn in the National Parks – The Grand Canyon

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