White Sands Road Trip 2011

November 3rd, 2011 in Landscape, Nature & Wildlife, Photography

White Sands, New Mexico seems to call me out every October, thus another road trip.  This year I finally got to camp-out in the dunes.  Despite wind, blowing sand, a little rain and a couple of lightning bolts, the experience was phenomenal and worth the trouble.  This was also the first time to do some serious star photography and I think the results are stellar (sorry, sometimes I just can’t help myself). My old Canon 5D was not up to the task so I rented a new 5D Mark II that has much better high ISO performance and along with a f2.8 24-70mm lens was able to finally get some results I am happy with.  Please check out all of the images in the”Special Places”Whites Sands 2011 Gallery.  Enjoy!

World of White – Part 4

February 4th, 2011 in Nature & Wildlife, Photography

These huge boulders in a stream bed in Rocky Mountain National Park have caught my eye for a few years but this is the first time I got a shot I liked.

I hope to get back up there in the spring and shoot it when the snowmelt runoff transforms it into something not quite so serene.

Yosemite Workshop #1

February 27th, 2010 in Landscape, Nature & Wildlife, Photography

For Christmas, I received a Photography Workshop in Yosemite National Park from my unbelievably amazing wife. The workshop was with Steven Johnson a legendary landscape photographer based in San Francisco who grew up in nearby Merced and who has photographed Yosemite, the Central Valley and the west for years. (www.sjphoto.com)  More on Steven, the workshop and what I learned later.  Recently I went on the Workshop adventure and would like to write a few blog posts about the experience.

First off, I grew up in Pennsylvania and had never been to Yosemite or most of the great western National Parks. Why it took so long, I have no explanation or excuse.  Yosemite is incredible and everything that has been written about it is true, but no book or video could possibly do it justice.  If you have not been there: GO!

As an aspiring landscape photographer the experience was more than a bit daunting. Yosemite is THE place for landscape photography.  Everyone knows Ansel Adams’ spectacular images and the iconic photos of El Cap, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome that seem to grace thousands of books and calendars and seem to be everywhere you look.  How could I possibly go to Yosemite and take photos of anything other than the icons.  But, does anyone really need another photo of El Cap?  Well fortunately, Steven was the right person to go with and learn from.  His mantra throughout the workshop was simplify! For Yosemite and in many other situations; great advise.  Of course I did take “the Icons”,  how could I not?  But I also worked on simplification.  I have posted two Yosemite Galleries in the Special Places area of my website.  The first is Yosemite – The Icons, the second is Yosemite – My Vision. The Icons for the most part are “grand landscapes” and several are large multi-shot stitched panoramas best viewed in the slideshow.  Sorry, I just had to do it…

The second gallery is more how I personally see and shoot.  Many of these shots also follow Steven’s advise.

More soon.


Suburban Oasis for Nature Photographers

December 15th, 2009 in Nature & Wildlife

Like many nature photographers I dream of shooting exotic things in exotic places. Polar Bears sunning on an ice floe, geysers in Iceland, charging Cape Buffalo, you get the idea.  But also like most nature photographers I live in the real world; I live in suburban America.  Fortunately, I live in suburban Denver and have the Rocky Mountains, foothills and plains somewhat nearby.  Getting out to shoot “nature” is easier here I suppose than many other urban/suburban areas, but it is still a hassle fighting traffic congestion and having the time to escape everyday life for an hour of quality photography.

Great Horned OwlThe other night I saw a blurb on the local news about a mountain lion sighting in the middle of an upscale neighborhood in Golden, over near the foothills.  It started me thinking about the City “Open Space” just down the street from where I live and how much wildlife I see there on a regular basis. This open space is like many in suburban Denver, former ranch land that has been swallowed up by development, saved just in the nick of time by our City fathers.  It is not very big, probably 100 acres in all and it is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, a golf course, a busy four lane street and a Mexican restaurant.  It is primarily open fields with a 2 acre farm pond, some wooded brushy areas and a few remaining cottonwoods, most dead from lack of water since the old ranch irrigation ditches are long gone.   I run my two dogs there almost daily and sometimes take my camera along. (I need to take it more often)

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