Fool on the hill

March 2013 On my September scouting trip for my just completed Maui workshop I hiked cross-country down the rugged flank of West Maui, searching for lava-rock tide pools I’d read about. Scrambling down a steep hill and over sharp rocks, I found the beach but decided it was too dangerous for a group. Rather than return the way I came, I continued picking my way…

Greetings from Squirrel Rock

*   *   *   * Every workshop has its inside jokes, some comment or reference that gets everyone laughing and somehow seems to find its way into every location or mealtime conversation. So today I offer this beautiful reflection of Yosemite’s Squirrel Rock. Often mistakenly referred to as “El Capitan,” this frequently photographed granite monolith…. Okay, okay, I know, I know, this really…

2012 Grand Canyon Monsoon Mayhem tour

*    *    *    * The drive from Northern California to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim is about twelve hours. When Don Smith and I scheduled our (first annual) 2012 Grand Canyon Monsoon Mayhem tour, the plan was to leave dark-and-early Monday morning, which experience told us would get us to the canyon just in time to photograph sunset Monday night. But with the National…

Photographers are stupid (and I have proof)

When I was nine or ten my dad took me to the top of a towering granite dome in Yosemite and asked me to hold his umbrella while he tried to photograph lightning. My dad was not a stupid man, nor was he an unloving or irresponsible father. But it was the first example in my life of how the behavior of an otherwise rational…

The Road to Hana

In my parents’ day, Maui’s “Road to Hana” was something to be achieved. Negotiating the narrow, undulating, muddy, potholed, serpentine, lonely jungle track was a badge of honor, something akin to scaling Everest or walking on the moon. Today’s Hana road has been graded, paved, and widened just enough to accommodate a double yellow line that creates the illusion of space for one car…

My very own Everest

Highway 49 is a meandering, two-lane road connecting the historical dots in California’s Gold Country. Each spring the route is framed by countless scenes like this, scenes that seem to grab your steering wheel and force you to the side of the road for a closer look. Often it’s difficult to find a place to park safely, especially on weekends, when drivers’ attention is more…

Just another day at the office

As some readers know, fellow pro photographer Don Smith and I partner on many workshops, donating our time as co-leaders for each other’s trips. On a recent trip Don and I stood on a bluff at sunrise gazing at the Big Sur Coast (or was it sunset overlooking Yosemite Valley?) and reminded ourselves of all the people idling in traffic or confined in a…