With many of my favorite images, there’s more to them than immediately meets the eye. And this image of the Painted Hills in Oregon is about more than just its graphic design. In fact, its graphic design illustrates the history of the hills.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017
While I learned the art of nature photography through independent study, there’s no question that Galen Rowell was my professor. We had never talked and he had likely never seen any of my work. He died 15 years ago, just before I landed my first major publishing credits.
But about 10 years ago I got an opportunity to visit his Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop, Calif., which had become a museum for his life’s work. In addition to showing his classic prints, there was even a display case housing one of his lightweight Nikon 35mm cameras. I’m heartbroken on hearing the news that the gallery will close within the next few weeks. Everything — including the last prints bearing his signature — is priced to sell.
To be an artist, it’s imperative that you find your own voice, but you start that journey on a path others have laid.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
I was one of millions who braved traffic and potential gas shortages to drive to the middle of nowhere to see the total solar eclipse earlier this month. If there were any doubts as to whether the effort was worth it, they vanished the moment the sun disappeared behind the moon.
The two minutes and 10 seconds where the sun’s corona was visible in the midday sky were truly spectacular. But it was also only two minutes and 10 seconds. There were many more photographic opportunities during the 24 hours I spent chasing the eclipse. And I tried to take advantage of as many of them as I could.
Monday, July 31, 2017
There’s no question that I’m passionate about national parks. It was my childhood trips to national parks that provided me with my appreciation of nature. As an adult, national parks have provided no end of creative inspiration.
But for most people, most of the time — myself included — it’s community parks where they get most of their time with nature. And a recent trip to Brussels, Belgium, reminded me how wondrous those local parks can be.
Friday, June 30, 2017
When I first took up photography, I read a lot. I hadn’t studied art previously, so I didn’t know about composition, lighting, design — the elements that turn a snapshot into a photograph. And the more I read, the more I was turned off.
A common refrain was that there was a “correct way” to photograph everything. It quickly became obvious why all of the animal pictures I had seen in local photo competitions looked the same and why there were so many images of flowers growing out of old wagon wheels.
Monday, May 22, 2017
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced the feeling of nature lost. Oddly, I was on a hike on a trail that’s one of the more beautiful in the Central Cascades of Washington state.
For a couple of miles, I wandered through forest, catching occasional glimpses of the waterfall that was my destination. And then I came across a giant Western red cedar stump. It was at least three times the diameter of the biggest living trees I had seen along my way.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
As I stood on the fishing pier at Venice Beach, Calif., there were potential photos in every direction. To the west, the sun was about to set over the Pacific Ocean. Surfers were riding the waves. To the east, clouds were beginning to take on color in the sky above the city of Venice. To the south and north, the shoreline led to the Los Angeles skyline and the Santa Monica pier.
Below me, a gull waited for its last meal of the day. Of all the possibilities, that may seem like the least interesting, but it had me captivated.