This photo blog is part road trip journal and part instruction in getting the most artistic images from landscape photos. It is my hope that you can use what I have learned to get better images and have more fun doing so.
To read the articles, click on the photos to the right of the text.
The mystery of really good images The title of this article contains the answer to what makes a good photo. To solve this riddle, click the image to the right.
Monument Valley and Mesa Verde were supposed to be stops along the way to Fall colors in SW Colorado. These Native American landscapes turned out to be the focus of our trip.
About five hours drive from Los Angeles is a quirky little desert community called Borrego Springs. It’s not as fancy or expensive as Palm Springs, which feels like a cruise ship in the desert. No, Borrego Springs is more remote and low-key. It is a dark sky community, has terrific metal artwork in the desert and when the wildflowers get a good rain, it can be fabulous. I have been there in March in four different years. I expect I will go there again....
I loved seeing Iceland in the Summer. The beauty of those landscapes made me want to return in the Winter. I knew I could get some good shots. Though I knew the chances were fairly small because of clouds, I also wanted to see and photograph the Aurora Borealis. With or without the Aurora, Iceland in Winter turned out to be one of the most photogenic landscapes I have ever visited.
What happens when you start with one of the most dramatic geothermal areas in the world, add the largest wildlife preserve in the contigous United States and remove the millions of summertime visitors? Click the image to your right to find out......
I have been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon several times and have even rafted for 8 days through the heart of it, but I had never visited the North Rim until now.
It’s amazing what you can see in three days in the Eastern Sierra; 4,000 year old trees, a ghost town and strange formations in the caldera of an extinct supervolcano.
We all know what a mad scramble it can be to capture the scene during the fleeting moments of sunrise or sunset. Imagine sunset starting at 11:00 PM and sunrise ending at 3:00 AM with just a half hour when the sun has dipped below the horizon. That is the magic light of Iceland in the summer.
Bryce seems like a photographers dream. Point your camera anywhere and get a good shot. To get a great shot though, is another thing altogether. On my second trip to Bryce in Winter, I learned more about what it takes to get a really good image from this amazing place.
If you ever get a chance to see a total eclipse, remember that the most important thing – and a I say this as a photographer – is not to photograph it, but to experience it. There is nothing like being in that moment of totality. To read more about the August 21, 2017 total eclipse, click the photo to the right.
I am often asked by people looking at my photographs, “Did you Photoshop that?” The implied message being, “Was it really that beautiful? Were the colors that vibrant? Could you really see all those stars?” The question also implies that photographers use cameras to mechanically record exactly what was present in the scene, unlike painters who select elements from a scene and make artistic decisions of how to depict those elements to convey an emotion or idea.
Patagonia has been on my bucket list for years. Ever since I first saw a photo of Torres del Paine, I knew I had to go. I was reluctant to go to another country alone, especially since I’m not fluent in Spanish. I had looked into tours that were too expensive or required hiking 16 miles in a day carrying all your camping gear (and 20 pounds of cameras). This year I found a great tour, with wonderful photographers for company. Even the notoriously bad weather cooperated. Now of course, I want to go back. Let me take you on a little trip to one of the last great wild places on Earth.
I have long wanted to see Bryce in the Winter. The perfect excuse came in March of 2017. My challenge was to find a strong composition in a clutter of overwhelming beauty. Click the image on the right to see more.
The Golden Proportion or Golden Ratio is an esthetic that can bring balance and beauty to your photographs. I learned about it shortly before taking a trip to Morro Bay. To see what I learned, click the image to the right.
Have you ever heard the saying, "Bad weather is a photographer's best friend?" That adage proved true for me on a recent trip to photograph Fall colors in the Wasatch mountains of Utah.
Have you ever seen a rainbow at night? Yosemite is the perfect place to catch a lunar rainbow.
I have been asked how I process my night photographs. Here are my step by step instructions....
I had often heard that rafting the Grand Canyon was a life-changing experience. When friends said, “You have to do it”, I would reply, “Someday”. In my mid sixties, I decided that “someday” was now or never. I had already heard that Western River Expeditions is the best outfit for rafting the Grand Canyon, so when I saw Willie Holdman was leading a photography trip down the upper (most rapids) part of the canyon with Western River Expeditions, I decided to sign up. What followed truly was a “trip of a lifetime.”
Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are magnets for photographers from around the world. It is easy to see why. The twisted slot canyons outside of Page Arizona have an otherworldly beauty. To prepare yourself for a trip there of just to get a tour without leaving your chair, click the image to your right.
I'm learning to let go and let the shot come to me. More fun, less stress and surprisingly, better shots!
Have you ever wondered about something and had it appear? There's something magic about holding an image in your mind and then letting it go. In February of 2016, this is what happened....
I drove several thousand miles to get the sunrise at Mesa Arch. The moment would be short. Here's how I prepared.
False Kiva has a mystical power. It captures the story of the Southwest and it's people in a single image. Bring water.....
What to do if there's no water to make a "fire fall" at Yosemite's Horsetail Falls? Shoot rainbows on the other falls. Another case of good timing and luck.
Sometimes the best shots happen by mistake. Here are a few that I couldn't have planned.
You may have seen photos of an incredible swirl of sandstone, somewhere in the desert Southwest. The first time I saw it, I was blown away by the beauty. I found out that the place is called “The Wave” by photographers and is part of an area the Park Service calls North Coyote Buttes. It's a difficult place to see as the BLM allows only 20 people per day to make the 5 mile hike. I didn't know if I would ever get to see it, but I certainly wanted to. Click the image to the right to read more.
This is a challenging hike but the rewards are great. Bring a tripod and a water filter.
The hike to Angel's Landing is rated among the best hikes in the world, that is if you don't mind hiking up a fin of rock with nothing but a chain to prevent you from going over a 1,500 foot drop on either side. This article is more about the hike than photo technique. To see it, click the image to the right.