Saturday, May 31, 2008


Horseshoe Bend - Colorado River, Arizona. Huge storms were moving through the area on the evening I took this shot. Our friends were concerned about the weather, and decided not to join us, but we were thrilled with the dynamic skies. We spent a few minutes shooting from the sandy hillside overlooking the bend, and then approached as the sun neared the horizon.

The view here is absolutely stunning - I'm sure many of you have seen photos from this location before. The blue-green Colorado river meanders around this spectacular bend, and you are looking at it from 500 feet above. The cliffs are sheer - and there are no railings. We set up our tripods as close to the edge as possible, and started shooting. I shot at f/22 in order to capture the flare in the sun, and I'm happy with the results. I used my Canon 10-22mm lens to get as wide as possible (without resorting to a fish-eye lens, and dealing with extreme distortion). I love my 10-22mm. :)

I updated my website this week as well. There are some new shots up, so maybe that will hold you over until I get a little more work done, here.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Upcoming Photo Tour

Our next photo tour is coming up in November. All the necessary information can be found at the Nature Photo Tours website. We'll be leading a workshop in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in Utah. We're excited about this upcoming class. Jay and I always have a lot of fun teaching and getting to know our students. If you are interested, you can make reservations from the NPT website.

We are also preparing for a workshop in Death Valley in February 2009. I hope some of you will join us on one or both of these trips.

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Heading home...

We're waiting for our flight here in Las Vegas. I'm tired. I'm hoping to get a little sleep on the plane. We slept in this morning because the skies were clear. No good clouds means no good sunrise... and it means the photographer gets to sleep. We were up by 6:15am - but that's late, since we've been up at 3am every other morning, and to bed around 10:45pm. Long days.

Clear skies were exactly what we were hoping for today, though. We wanted to shoot Antelope Canyon. When the sun is high in the sky - and only for a few months of each year - and only when the sky is clear - beams of light stream down from openings at the top of this corkscrew slot canyon. This morning, we drove to Page (from Kanab) and booked a tour with the Navajo Tribe. At 11:30, they drove us out to the Canyon and let us loose to photograph this amazing location. We rarely take tours - we prefer to travel on our own - but that's not an option at Antelope Canyon. There were hordes of tourists taking pictures, and it was very difficult to get a clear view of the canyon to shoot. Still, I'm happy with the shots I did get. This place is well worth a visit, even with the high price of the tour and the huge crowds. There's no other place like it.

We were thrilled with the weather on this trip. Storms moved through the area constantly, and Tuesday (today) was the only clear day. The rest of the time, the skies were dynamic and the light was spectacular. In the course of five days, we visited Bryce Canyon, Zebra Canyon, South Coyote Buttes, Paria River Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Land of the Sleeping Rainbows, the Hanging Gardens, the Toadstools, Horseshoe bend, and Lake Powell (not in that order - and we visited some locations more than once - and I may have forgotten one or two locations). :) I'm looking forward to processing these photographs.

It's going to take me a few days to get caught up with everything once I'm home again, though. I have 145 emails to respond to - and that's just the beginning. So bear with me, please. I'll get these shots up as soon as I can.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gorgeous Skies

We got lucky today. Beautiful skies everywhere we went. After shooting near the Toadstools in the morning (and failing in our attempt to get a permit to the wave for tomorrow) we visited the Land of the Sleeping Rainbows. Then, we spent a few hours driving a dirt road to Paria Canyon overlooks - we found some excellent locations to return to at sunrise or sunset. After lunch, we visited the Hanging Garden and Lake Powell. And we shot the sunset at Horseshoe Bend. Not a bad set for the day. :) We had a great time with our friends - they suggested the Hanging Garden location... which was truly beautiful.

We're just finishing up our dinner, now - and then we're going to head to bed. We did download today's shots while we waited for our dinner. I can't wait to process them.

Tomorrow? We'll shoot the sunrise wherever the sky is the most impressive - and then we'll head for buckskin gulch. Our last attempt to travel this slot canyon was foiled by deep water and thin ice, so we're hoping we'll make it this time.

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The hotel rang our room at 3am with our wakeup call this morning - we'd asked for 3:30, and our clock wasn't plugged in, so we didn't know until after we'd taken our showers that it was earlier than expected. That's all right, though. It gives me a chance to update my blog. :)

Our flight was uneventful, yesterday. We arrived in Las Vegas on time - and then booked it out of there. We made it to The Land of the Sleeping Rainbows in time for sunset - and captured a beautiful one. Third time's the charm... this is our third visit to this location. The first was a dud - no good skies, but we did a lot of exploration. The second time, we missed a glorious sunset... so it was great to finally get what we were after. Now - we'll have to see if we're happy with the results when we get home. We love this amazing spot.

Sunrise is just before 5:30 this morning - so we're up bright an early. Our friends will meet us downstairs at 4, and we'll head for the Toadstools. Whoops - there's the phone... they're ready. Gotta run.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rocky Shore

This image was taken at Ruby Beach. The water made such intricate patterns as it worked its way through the pebbles... and then this beautiful stone with such a distinct white ring. I took the shot with a slow shutter speed to capture the movement of the water among the rocks. It's a miniature landscape. I've been taking more detail shots since our trip to Utah with our friend, Jim. I'll be able to put up a new gallery on my website before long - it won't be large, but it will be a start. I'll let you all know when it's up and running. And I'm hoping to get a chance to add some new images to my website as well.

We are leaving for Arizona tomorrow morning. I'll try to post updates when I can - but as usual, I can't promise anything. We're hoping to get a permit to visit The Wave again, and we'll be hiking to Antelope Canyon, and possibly the Subway. Can't wait!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Excellent lighting - and missed opportunities...

Here's another shot from our trip to Olympic. The lighting was just beautiful that morning. The skies over the Olympic Peninsula Region were expected to be clear. Clear is all well and good if you are having a nice picnic, or spending the day sunbathing. But photographers want clouds. Not heavy, overcast gray of course... we want big, beautiful, puffy clouds that make the sky interesting. And that morning - we were getting none of it. But - we though we might be able to find some mist hanging over the lakes, and you can see that we did find it. When the sun rose, it lit the mist and mountain behind with soft, warm light. The right place at the right time. That's what it's about.

But the day before yesterday, we found ourselves in the wrong place at the right time. The sky went absolutely nuts, but we were driving down a major highway - surrounded by construction on all sides... no lake or mountain or beautiful landscape anywhere nearby. We had planned to get a couple of local shots, since the sky was so beautiful. Unfortunately, it wasn't beautiful over the pond, or over the park, or over the ledges... It was beautiful over I-271 at Route 8. And so - we came home with nothing to show for our efforts.

Yesterday we did our short run - about 5 miles. I think I swallowed more bugs than usual. They were everywhere - I'm considering getting a mask to run in - or one of these great hats bee-keepers wear. :)

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Gnarled Lace

This beautiful, fallen log made an unusual foreground for a shot at crater lake in Olympic. The mist was heavy over the mountains in the background. I used a neutral density filter to reduce the amount of light entering my lens - this allowed me to use a long shutter speed. A 13 second shutter speed created a smooth, milky effect on the surface of the lake. You can't see the ripples or small waves... only a smooth surface that seems almost misty.

The gnarled roots of this fallen tree remind me of lace. Not quite so white and clean... but certainly intricate. Not made by man - but by nature... in as complicated a process as that which produces the most delicate lace.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So - is anyone using Twitter out there? Have you heard of it? I just created an account there - but I'm not sure how useful it will be since I'm already posting to my blog, here. I'll give it a try for the next couple of months - you'll notice there is now a widget on the right side of your screen (below my profile) showing my latest twitter posts. I don't know how interested people are in what I'm doing every hour, but there it is, my friends. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Rapture on the Lonely Shore"

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

-Lord Byron

I waited for a long time to get this shot just the way I wanted it. The beach surrounding the rock was covered with footprints and bicycle tracks, and I waited until the tide was high enough to wash the shore clean... and then I waited until the water receded enough to allow me to capture the rocks and the pool - plus the reflected light on the wet sand. I wanted to be positioned so that there was a separation between the two large rocks in the background - and also between the two foreground rocks. The tide was coming in fast, so I almost didn't get the shot - the waves would come up and wash the shore, and then receded - but not fast enough. As they receded, the next wave would come in and cover the beautiful depression around the rocks. Eventually, the waves pulled back enough to allow me to capture the shot as I wanted it - just when I though it wasn't going to happen. You can see the next small wave coming in to fill my little pond. :)

I love this place. It was so hard to leave!

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Monday, May 5, 2008


Yesterday we got our 4am wakeup call, and then we headed for Crescent Lake in Olympic. We had intended to shoot at the beach, but the sky was completely clear. We hoped for some low-hanging mist further inland, and we found it over the lake. What luck. We got some beautiful shots of the lake, and then headed for Hurricane Ridge. We took a couple of stock shots from the Ridge - the sun was too high for fine art landscapes. It was neat to be standing on 15 feet of snow. And to know that it was a lot deeper than that a few months ago.

Afterwards, we drove East, then South, and then West around Oympic en route to Canon Beach in Oregon. We shot the sunset there last night. I'm happy with what I got, although the clouds could have been more impressive. I've been here before, but the last time, I didn't shoot - it was great to shoot such a gorgeous beach.

We thought we might get some nice shots this morning, but the sky was heavily overcast, so we headed for the airport instead. And here we are - Portland Airport. We'll be flying home in a couple of hours. And maybe I'll get some shots processed tomorrow.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008


We had hoped to shoot Sol Duc falls early this morning, but the snow was still pretty deep - and that wasn't quite the look we were going for. :) We'd like to shoot the falls when the surrounding area is lush and inviting. So - not today. Instead, we spent this morning shooting Crescent Lake. Mist shrouded the mountains, and the rocks along the shore were covered with green moss. Beautiful. I'm looking forward to processing those shots.

Afterwards, we drove into the Hoh Rain forest. Spring is arriving pretty late this year in this part of the US, so the rain forest wasn't as green as it usually is this time of year - it's only Green-ish. Too bad. I would have liked to take more photographs, but I'll have to come back another time.

We've stopped in at our hotel room to check sky cover forecasts for this evening and tomorrow - and to make our hotel reservations for tomorrow night. And now we're headed to Second Beach to shoot the sunset - if we get one. If it doesn't look likely, we'll head for the mountains and shoot there. It's all about following the light.

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It's beautiful here. Of course. We visited Silver Falls State Park in the morning, but didn't shoot - the sun came out at the wrong time. And then we drove North to Olympic. We shot at Rialto beach this evening - I'm hoping some of my shots turn out well. I was soaked to my knees after just a few minutes, but who's complaining? My shoes and socks are drying over the heater in our hotel room. Should have worn my water shoes. Oh well.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Pacific Northwest

Good morning. I was too tired to write last night. I was up at 5:45am EST yesterday morning and didn't get to the hotel until 9:15 PST (which is 12:15am EST). Exhausted. I didn't eat much and had a nasty headache most of the day. But here we are - in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. My favorite place to be. We drove towards Larch Point after getting off the plane, but had to turn back because of deep snow. Too bad. The light on Mount Hood was beautiful, but we couldn't see enough of it from our location to shoot. Instead, we waited near the Columbia River for sunset, but didn't get anything worth shooting. In the end, we got a quick meal at a Chinese place near our hotel - delicious chicken with snap peas - and went to bed. But not before checking to see what the cloud cover would be like this morning. 100 percent cloud cover over our location meant we could sleep a little later than usual. I feel much better today. And we're headed for Washington state and Olympic National Park - with some waterfall shooting along the way.